Bird and Cone Head Inked outline

inked in illustration for a bird and cone head at a bus stop 

I’ve decided to pursue this illustration and see where it ends up. The boy looks like he’s lonely in spite of the characters at his bus stop. Maybe if I finish the illustration, he’ll be ready for the school bus.

Why have a book without pictures?

What can I say? Pictures make a book more interesting. And I bet you agree with me too. It’s sad that society reasons you must have nothing but text on a page. Don’t get me wrong. Book design is an art unto itself and takes a lot of work to make it look perfect. But still, books without pictures have always looked boring and inaccessible.

If picture-less books are less effective, then why aren’t there more illustrated books?

Cartoon of a boy with a book and some popcorn. He says, A book without pictures is like popcorn without salt.

What can I say? Pictures make a book more interesting. And I bet you agree with me too. It’s sad that society reasons you must have nothing but text on a page. Don’t get me wrong. Book design is an art unto itself and takes a lot of work to make it look perfect. But still, books without pictures have always looked boring and inaccessible.

Continue reading “Why have a book without pictures?”

Pardon Me/Love Me

Illustration of a man reluctantly holding a loving cat

Illustration of a man reluctantly holding a loving cat.

Sometimes love come when you least expect it… or want it. Cats are notorious for wanting affection on their own terms. I believe they wait until the least opportune time, then spring into action. Of course, they don’t care to love you when you come home. They wait until they are certain you are about to begin a new project.

One nice about having a cat, is they help promote procrastination. Everybody can use that, right?

Grad Fashion

I’m taking a short break from the tutorials to catch my breath. My son graduated from high school this last Sunday. It’s been crazy, to say the least. We’ve been driving all around the countryside to celebrate at open houses. Indiana and Ohio roads have become quite acquainted with us.

I drew this sketch when I thought of how silly caps and gowns look to kids. Isn’t that the way things work? At one time, a cap and gown look so dignified. And I would say even today, if you know what they represent, they look dignified. But to a child, or someone who is comfortable with the extremes of casual fashion, they can feel quite silly.

Graduation is a time we celebrate accomplishment and the next step in a person’s journey. Like those cap and gowns, it can feel uncomfortable, even silly as we take the next phase of life’s journey. Can anyone remember the first day of school? It wasn’t a relaxed, comfortable day for me! Yes, I felt silly and awkward. How about your first date? First kiss? How about the first time you held a paying job? They can all be awkward, silly feeling times.

That’s why feelings betray us. We need to strive to make it through those clumsy times, knowing there is a goal we are striving to reach. I smile when someone says they don’t want to try something because it doesn’t feel right. When I hear that, I try to remember ANY time, I felt comfortable trying something new.

So here’s my graduation speech for the class of 2011: When you go out to the real world, you may feel wobbly, like a newborn animal. You may wonder if what you’re aiming for is right because it just isn’t coming easy. Hold on! If you have a God-given dream to do something, know it may not come easy, it may feel weird at first, but pursue it anyway. Once you get pass the awkwardness, you can toss your cap in the air and graduate to the next level in your life.

Congratulations, class of 2011! (And congratulations, Garrett!)

Monster Sketch and “Draw Inside”

I’m back with an update on the monster sketch. After I printed out the illustration, and used a pencil to show where I wanted to shade the drawing, I scanned it into Illustrator.

This time, I unlocked the new template layer so I can see where where I placed the shading. I move the template layer to the top. Now I can color the illustration while seeing the template.

Now before, I said I’ve been in Illustrator for a long time. So I’m very excited about a new feature in Illustrator CS 5. It was a long time coming. Before CS 5, clipping masks were a hassle. If you made an object a clipping mask, you would lose your shading. You’d have to reapply the shading and go through a bunch of extra steps to make it look the way you want. That has changed with the “draw inside” option.

Draw modes in Illustrator

You will find them in the bottom of the toolbar. The circle and square icons show what drawing mode you are in. In the picture on the left, the icon shows the normal drawing mode. When you use this, a new shape is placed over all the older shapes. The middle icon shows you can draw behind an object now. Thanks to this feature, you don’t have to keep rearranging shapes if you want something to go behind the other.

But by far, the best feature is the icon on the right.

 

Draw inside Icon

When you click on it, you can draw inside a shape. This makes it so much easier to make the shading align with the original shape. Make sure you have the shape you want to modify selected before you choose “draw inside.” You know the shape is ready when you see dashed lines in the corners of the shape.

A shape with "Draw Inside" selected

Here is an example of one of the finger shapes in “draw inside” mode. Notice that the inside shading extends beyond the original shape. This allows me to shade the monster much faster.

Next, I’ll add the finishing touches to the illustration.