Monday, April 29, 2013

Illustration For Storytellers site is LIVE!

We are excited to launch our new online live Illustration For Storytellers class! We are filling up fast so if you're at all interested don't wait too long to reserve your spot. Just go to our new site for the School of Visual Storytelling. You can also get there by clicking on the banner on the right. Please read through all of the information before asking questions as we've put a lot of thought and effort into this class.

Also please feel free to stop by our facebook page and "like" us if you would like to receive updates and future news on other classes. We are also hoping that participants will feel free to share ideas and information pertaining to the class - as a forum. We would love to get a community going around the idea of learning the art of visual storytelling, publishing, and related subjects.

We are offering a FULL class and a LITE class. The details are on the site but basically there are only 25 spaces for the full class because we want to give personal attention to those students and help them through the working process of their image creation.

The LITE class is the recording of the FULL class but without any of the personal contact - great for those who could not register or don't have the time to go through the assignment or who's schedules do not sync up.

We will also be creating an waiting list by first come first serve. If someone in the FULL class should decide to drop out before class starts we will work from the top down for alternates. If you try to purchase the class and it says SOLD OUT - please email me ASAP to get on the list!

Some have asked me, "what will be different in this live class than what you have already put in your, "How To Illustrate Children's Books" video tutorial? An excellent question. There are many lessons that I could not include in that video series for the sake of time. There will be mini exercises that we will do in class that were also not included. I have many more visual aids that I could not share in the tutorial that I'll be showing in class because of the "fair use" doctrine. Jake Parker has his own lessons and strengths that are very different than mine. I will be stealing as much as possible from him - please don't tell him :) So in general I think that even if you went through the tutorial you will get some overlap but also much much more.

Can't wait for class to start!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Having Fun On My Next Book!

I'm heavy into the sketches for my next book - Santa Pups written by Jerry Pollatta - published by Scholastic. It's a super funny picturebook about Santa and dogs. Many of you know how much I love dogs (sorry cats - the dogs talked me into joining their team) so I jumped at the chance to work on this one! I'm even going to be able to work in my dog Pooch into a few scenes!

There's a lot of action in this book so I've been approaching the sketches a little differently. Rather than working up from a strict thumbnail on every illustration I started with rough thumbnail sketches but then I'm moving directly to objects on layers in Photoshop. This will give me lots of flexibility with perspective and scale. So I've drawn a lot of "parts" so I can mix, match, move, distort, rotate, scale, etc.

After I move all the object into place I'll send the flattened image back to my iPad for a clean up and then off to my editor for final approval before going back to Photoshop for value and color.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What Are Warm & Cool Colors?

I made this video for a few people who were kind enough to point out that I didn't do the best job explaining warm and cool colors in my digital painting tutorial - in a NICE way. Thank you - you know who you are :) I love using color and Photoshop's color picker really helps to understand the organization of tinting, shading, warming and cooling colors. I hope you can benefit from this video - I love talking color!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Story Art Class Information

I'm so excited to be able to give more information on our online story art class that's coming up!

First: There will be a website coming where you can sign up but we don't have that available just yet - it's coming!

Second: We are making a list and will give advanced notice to those of you who want to sign up. Simply leave your email address in the comments section below or email me privately and I'll put you on the list. These people will get first crack at the sign up when we launch the website. No obligation however if you're on the list - you will just get an email with the link to the class site.

Ok - so here's the info:

I keep writing "we" and you're probably wondering who I'm talking about? I'm going to be team teaching this class with Jake Parker! THE JAKE PARKER! This guy is amazing - he's worked on feature films and comics as well as picture books - not to mention coming off of an amazing kickstarter raising $85,000 for his Antler Boy book! (Don't tell anyone - but I'm more excited to learn from him probably than anyone else!)

Where: On your computer
When: Every Mon. and Wed. at 7:00PM - 9:00PM MST Starting June 10th and ending July 10th
Duration: 5 weeks = 10 classes
How much? This will be announced on the website but it will be a fraction of what a college class costs and I think extremely reasonable for what you will get.

Each class will be recorded and you will be able to watch it at your convenience - so if you have to miss a class you can still watch the presentation although you will miss out on asking questions.

In addition you will get a follow up skype call at the end of the class to go over anything you want -concerning your work or portfolio.

Each class has been carefully thought out and the schedule will be posted on the website.

I'm just bursting - this is going to be so much fun!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Becoming A Children's Book Illustrator

 In the video above I answer some questions from a fellow artist in Serbia who is trying to break into the children's book market. I think many artists can relate to his frustrations and challenges so by answering his email hopefully I'm also speaking to a much broader audience. I know I get long winded but if you're working on some art just let it play in the background and perhaps some of what I say will resonate with you. Also - feel free to disagree - I welcome differing opinions so others can have more to think about.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Skeleton For Dinner" Is Finished!

I just finished the last illustration in my new book - "Skeleton for Dinner" by Margery Cuyler. It's due out sometime before Halloween this next fall. I'll definitely post links when it's in stores. I had so much fun with this one! I love coming up with unique characters and Halloween?! Are you kidding me? I've always wanted to do a Halloween book!

I was really happy that my editors were ok with the idea of making "ghost" into a little girl instead of the typical predictable cartoonish ghost we've seen a million times. It was fun to render a character that doesn't follow the same color rules that other objects follow. Skeleton was fun to design too because I felt he/she needed to be cute and not too scary.

After most of the paintings were finished I looked at skeleton and realized he/she just didn't look cute enough without eyes. This was one of those decisions that of course didn't make any sense academically - obviously a skeleton doesn't have eye balls but for a children's book character I questioned if he/she should have them. I contacted my editors and they thought about it too. In the end we all felt good about eye balls. Eye balls are a good thing. :)

I'm still in search of the perfectly illustrated picture book. I poured my heart and soul into this one. There are a few things I would change or explore a little further if given the chance - but I'm glad this one isn't perfect. Wouldn't it be scary to bowl or pitch a perfect game?...knowing the only direction is down from there?