Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What do you think of my digital art?

Up until now I've only fooled around with painting in photoshop. I started painting backgrounds for my paintings in photoshop due to the advice of Jim Madsen(represented by Shannon Associates) but never really tried to fully render a sketch. The day after Christmas was a day for putting together toys, searching for more batteries, playing Acquire, watching Avatar, and squeezing in a little time to experiment with photoshop. This is what I came up with.

I made this sketch for a book that got canceled (bummer) but since I liked it I decided it would be the guinea pig.

So, I'm looking for your opinion - what do you guys think I could do to make this a better piece? Thanks in advance for you input!


  1. I love Acquire!

    The image looks good. The drawing is great. I am assuming that you want the digital work to look like your traditional work. This feels different. Adding a texture to your brush in the brushes pallet will allow more overlapping of color with the bottom colors showing through.

    There are canned textures in Photoshop but I prefer making my own textures by using gesso and then scanning the boards.

    I am looking forward to seeing your progress. So far so good.

  2. I like it, and I like that you don't shy away from subject matter like "basket weaving"
    I love the drawing coming through on the branches, I am excited to see more too- your last post made me want to mess around with photoshop too!
    I am glad you are back blogging!

  3. What most people lack in their digital illustration work you already have going for you. You have a great sense of color and design. Your drawing is solid. Your characters are fun. Your composition is good. Those are things that are not lost here in your digital piece.

    What I'm missing here is that really great textural feel that I get from your acrylic pieces. There are lots of ways to go about getting interesting textures in Photoshop. You can scan textures you've made with ink washes or other scanned stuff.

    I also really recommend playing around with the settings on your brushes. You can get interesting pastel and dry brush effects with different brushes. You can also do a search online for Photoshop brushes. There are hundreds out there on the interwebs. Free too.

    I really like how you don't try to hide your line work. I think it strengthens the piece.

    So, you've really got the whole illustrating thing down. You've already learned the hard stuff (drawing, composition, etc.) and now you just need to learn a few more of your options in Photoshop to be able to get some of that great texture back.

    Wow, rambling. I hope that makes sense.

  4. Yeah... what Will said.
    Lots of fun. Love the design.

  5. Beautiful digital illustration. Love the glow and tangled tree limbs. Saw the book "Christmas Troll" on a christian children's book blog. Got a great review on the illustrations. Nice work there as well. You do an amazing job of keeping that hand done feel to your work.

  6. It's beautiful. I love the colors and the design. I like the drawing coming through. It does feel different than your other work, but you can have two different looks as long as you make more like this I think. If you want, you could add more texture. You can do this with a textured brush. You can download tons of free photoshop brushes on the internet. I am also starting to discover Painter. If you have access to painter, you can do your illustration in photoshop and then add some painter textures on top. These are really just small suggestions. I think it is beautiful as it is!

  7. That is beautiful. I love the colors, they feel a little different than your usual stuff. It's really fun. The characters are great too.

  8. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Very glowy. I don't have any digital art input because I am still in the "thinking about it" stage. Your sketch is amazing and I love how it works with the color behind it.

  9. I like it as it is, no additional texture, no nothin'. Digital is just another medium, not a means to recreate traditional mediums, and should be treated as such.

    Use it as you would if you were going from acrylic to watercolor, and learn its pros and cons, and also, perhaps, as an escape from the your usual techniques to learn something new and fresh (not to mention that fact that you don't have to clean up afterward!)

    Neat idea behind the illustration, with the tree showing the boy how to weave!

  10. Hey Will, First of all I love your Yankee Candle piece! I think you've got a great handle on the digitally created work as well. I think that you don't need a lot of texture, especially with your wonderful lines coming through. I really like the lighting effects and the gradual color changes. Hey Happy New Year Will!

  11. Hi Will, just found your blog - your piece is absolutely gorgeous! I know nothing about digi-illustration (yet), but lots of pieces you can tell that's how they've been done, I would've never guessed with this one. I love everything about it. Looking forward to seeing your future work. Wow, you've met so many celebrities, I am a children's book fanatic - Neil Gaiman.....say no more!

  12. Nice lines - really like the textures you've built up in here so far.

  13. Thanks for all the feedback guys - you're all helping me develop my own opinions. Part of me wants to venture down a completely new road while the other part doesn't want to lose what I've spent so many years developing. I'm going to keep exploring and perhaps I can come up with something that is a bit more like my acrylic work without forcing it. I want to please everyone so Walmart will buy my books! Just kidding. I see so many advantages in working digital that I can't ignore this medium any longer.

  14. If you are just getting started with digital art, then you are off to a great start.

    The layout is strong...leading the eye downwards to the main character of the illustration (and the fullest colours).

    You've got a huge advantage over anyone who is just starting out because of the professional level you are already working at. You have a well developed style, and you know what the finished illustration should look like.

    I am sure you will dazzle everyone with digital just as well as you dazzle us with acrylic.


    Bob Stevens

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  16. Ha Ha - I was logged in as Wayne Andreason - this is what I wanted to say as Will:

    Thanks Bob, What a nice compliment to start the new year off with! I'm feeling lucky - Jed Henry is coming over tommorow to show me how it is - digitally speaking. I'm feeling young again. :)

  17. I think you should stop doing digital art because you're making those of us who do it too look bad.

    It really does look good. I can see that you're treating it more like traditional mediums. It looks very similar to your regular stuff. I can't think of anything you could change.

  18. AMAZING AMAZING!!! I've seen your illustrations before but just now i saw a video posted on someones' blog and I am so impressed with your talent!! very very nice, very inspiring, cool...!! I want to buy one of your books but van I have it signed? pleasseee...I collect childrens books signed by the artist!!! :-)


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