Sunday, December 30, 2012

Careful What You Wish For...

I received PS CS6 from my DAD for Christmas. YAY ME!!!! (well)...actually, I kind of wanted to cry.  It is going to take me a while to get my head back on straight.  You see, I've been working with Photoshop Elements 8 on a Bamboo Fun tablet for the last two years.

It took me that long to learn it and accumulate a set of brushes I loved and knew how to work. My style was really coming along.

Today, I updated my tablet drivers & installed CS6...and tried and failed to load my brush set.  Oh, they load.  They just don't stay...and when I use them they react differently.  Way differently...

Now I am all confused...and trying to get my setups the way I like them and figuring out what does what, and really, REALLY wishing I had a manual.

So, here is a little guy I practiced on. Change is scary!

Friday, December 14, 2012

2013 Tomie dePaola Award Entry - Tom Sawyer

Trust me!  It was just like birth'n a baby.
Wish I had the energy to say more about it other than "IT's HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I have to admit I am beaming like a proud mama.  Just a bit.

I knew I couldn't fail myself again by not rising up to this year's challenge.  I've watched from the sidelines for the last two.  And, boy, did Tomie dePaola ever throw me for a loop.  We had three titles to choose from:  "The Yearling," "Little Women," and "Tom Sawyer."  AND it had to be completed in black & white.  (Have I told you that I stink at working with values?)

I picked the title I felt worked best with my personality and style - and wouldn't make me sob like a blubbering idiot when it came to selecting my passage.  So - TOM SAWYER it was.

I had my thirteen year old dog-ear passages she thought met my next set of criteria: movement & humor.

As is my way I THOUGHT about composition a lot once the passage was selected.  As I thought I worked on PiBoIdMo ideas during November, I had a crisis of style that month too. I wrote a mission statement and adamantly researched vintage/retro children's books to remind myself of what I loved most about illustrated picture books.  I started do draw without references other than my own mind's eye...and I stopped apologizing about how I drew or wondering 'is this right?'

I honed my paint palette to vintage Sears paint colors, I winnowed my Photoshop brushes to only the few I used constantly, I OWNED my angled shapes, I started to doubt myself less, I started to HAVE FUN!!!!!  I knew instantly when the composition didn't click and I began to make intuitive changes.  I also allowed imperfect bobbles slide...

I may not win, but feel like I've already WON the biggest award of all...breaking through what has been holding me back - myself.

There are lots fantastic entries this year.  Check them out at the Unofficial Gallery of the Tomie dePaola Award 2013

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Procrastination Never Pays...

HA!!! I am so stressed about getting my entry completed for the Tomie dePaola Illustration Contest that I find myself doing things like this as I work into the wee-wee hours of the morning (after my 9-5)...

and asking myself questions like: "Does midnight Pacific time on the 14th mean, like, one minute after 11:59 pm on the 13th?  Or, does it mean no later than 11:59 pm on the 14th?  Oh, wait.  Pacific time...*runs off to Google the time difference between EST and Pacific because she thinks it is 4 hours, but...* Ok, so does that mean no later than 4 AM on the 14th EST or ..."

You see??????  Stress ball.  At 1 AM this morning I discovered that the noses and hands of three individuals had all magically shifted, so the hunt was on through 100MB of layers to find where the errant appendages had been misplaced.

Here was my progress onWednesday night - last night I added a guy, two girls, one cat, a wig and half a man.  His other half is all I have left to go.  Oh, and somehow getting this beast condensed down to a 5MB file.

The final is supposed to be in black & white, but I struggle with values so it has been easier for me to paint in color and then convert.

Are ya wondering, yet, what passage I chose?
(I am so wishing I had started this months ago)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tom - Progress Report

The entry is DUE by midnight on the 14th.  Let's see....little less than 5 days and counting.  I've gotta get this finished in my after 9-5 spare time.  *pshaw*  Not a problem.  So here is a sneak peek at the rough composition (leaving out the important parts - don't want to give it all away) & how I am rendering the image in black and white.  (I am cheating. Painting in color and then converting the image to b&w).  Great thing about last minute work - you don't have the time to sweat (stress over) the details.

Any hoo...that is where I am at with this thing.

PS - I think onion head man is my favorite character to date.  Although, Gibson girl is close behind.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Slow And Steady Wins The...


Hold Everything!  Who said this was a race?  *zeesh*  Art, like life, is a journey.  And I am frigging going to learn how to enjoy it!!!  If people don't like my path, my choices, the way I draw my lines, than tough 

I am going to do art MY WAY!!!!!
(here are some sketches I've been working on for the Tomi dePaola SCBWI contest *due in 11 days :)*)

I am drawing daily, slowly and steadily, because that is just how I do things.  I am a processor...and a very messy sketcher.
I am going to finish my Christmas card this year.
I am going to complete (2) very special commissions for a friend who has been waiting patiently, since August, for me to get my head out of my rump.
I am going to enter in the 4th Annual Regional SCBWI-Carolinas Art Contest *due Feb. 28*
In 2013 I am going to complete a weekly 'Mug Shot' portrait.
I am going to take one of the 32 PiBoIdMo ideas I generated in November and turn it into a picture book dummy!!!
*I officially get to post this 'Winning' image by Ward Jenkins*

Yep! I am a winner simply by participating and completing a goal.
And, by the list of things, it looks like I have many more winning moments in store.
Stay tuned.