Friday, December 29, 2006

Photoshop or Painter?

So I've been asked whether Photoshop or Painter is the right call...Well, it really depends on what you want to do. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and to work around these, I actually use both.

Photoshop does all the photo stuff great, such as color correcting or dodge and burn, and it can make intricate selections in many useful ways. The healing brush and patch tool are also nothing to sneeze at. Photoshop also has the advantage of being the popular kid on the playground, so there are brushes and filters you can add from third-party vendors.

Painter, on the other hand, is definitely made with the artist in mind. This is a fantastic tool when you need a piece of analog-looking artwork without the mess (and with multiple levels of undo). You can paint in watercolor, oil and acrylic, or draw with pencils, crayons or pen & ink, just to name a few. And the great part is, it actually looks like you've painted in watercolor, oil and acrylic, etc. I also like being able to rotate my canvas as I work, just as I would be able to had I actually been drawing on real paper.

Here's how I've been working lately:
I'll draw my sketch by hand (on real paper with a real pencil), and scan the sketch into Photoshop. In Photoshop, I'll make any rearranging/resizing changes that may be necessary, and save the changes as a .PSD file. Next, I'll open the file in Painter and do whatever painting or drawing I'm planning on doing, and save the file in all its layers as a native .RIF as I go. After I've finished in Painter, I'll drop all the layers (like flattening in Photoshop), save the file as a .PSD, and open it in Photoshop. There I can correct any colors, or convert to whatever color profile I need to. I've also started using grunge brushes in my work which I'll apply at this point (please see for some grunge edge examples -- all of the color and pen & ink has been added in Painter). From Photoshop, I can save the file however I need to (there are about 16 different types of files Photoshop can save as) or use the nifty "Save for Web" feature.

Photoshop or Painter? It depends where you want to go with it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Illustration Friday: Clear

Okay. So I'm noticing a pattern here. Illustration Friday seems to be the only time I take the time to blog. Maybe after the semester's over things will calm down a bit. Hoping so!

How about this poor little guy? For IF, thinking about how clear a pane of glass can be. If humans would just leave the dirt on the windows...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Illustration Friday: Smoke

This one was for an article about secondhand smoke and kids. You can see the original article in the paper here (they still have it up!). It's really hard to tell what's going on in the smaller version, but if you click on it, you can see it biggie-sized. When it ran originally, it spread across the full six-column format of the paper, so size wasn't a problem.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Illustration Friday: Wind

How about a weather vane? Even though I grew up on a farm, we never had one. But really, is anyone actually certain of the agricultural value of knowing which direction the wind is blowing anyway? Even so, I still think they're pretty neat to look at.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Illustration Friday: Ghost

Here's a quick little ghost who may be in too much of a hurry to get home and get started on all that candy.
(Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
and Hershey's Kisses
and Brach's Candy Corn.
No substitutions, please.)
Yeah. Isn't Halloween great?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Illustration Friday: Trouble

This one was for a story about someone who got into trouble for giving in to the temptation of an enticingly unguarded birthday cake.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Illustration Friday: Quiet

Quiet time together

In this one, I wanted to show Norman Rockwell's "Puppy Love (Spooners)" a few years down the road. You can do the "compare/contrast" thing with the original image at the NR official museum gift shop here.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Illustration Friday: Phobia

Nyctophobia: Fear of the dark

(You can click on the image to see it bigger, if that's something you think you might wanna do.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What do I have to do?

I wish someone would tell me what it is I have to do to get the right people to notice my work and call me with a job. Is there a magic potion that I haven't been told about? I've read the material on the business, joined the organizations, attended conferences, sent out tons of money in direct marketing, created a Web site, entered contests, and started a blog, and still I have to wonder if I've forgotten to include my phone number somewhere.

Feeling a little lost here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Illustration Friday: Change

This week's Illustration Friday theme is "Change." Here's what I got:

It's gonna happen, and some people don't react to it so well.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Illustration Friday: Farm

This week's Illustration Friday theme is "Farm." Here's my illustration:

I grew up on a beef farm, but ended up a vegetarian. Don't ask.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

SCBWI Illustration Contest Winner!

So I’ve been sending entries in to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators illustration contest for the last three contests that they had, and this time I won an Honorable Mention. They move the contest winner’s page to the “Previous Contests” link on the left after a new contest has been posted, but my winning entry was in Illustrator Contest #20 “1st Day Back.” Anyway, you can bypass all that and just look at it here. The original sketch looked like this:

(You can click on it to see it a little bigger.)

Sunday, September 03, 2006


So I've gone and done it this time. I got myself an actual blog! I"ll keep you posted on the latest in my little part of the world of children's illustration. In the meantime, take a peek at my Web site: If you want to bypass the splash screen and go directly to the kid's section, click here instead.