To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Progress on the book cover

The cover is getting there! Today I hope to finish the inking on The Southern Swamp Explorer cover. Here is most of what I have done (the scanner plate on my printer/copier/scanner is too small to take the whole scene ~ later I will scan it in sections and stitch it together in Photoshop, but right now that's not imporant). I have actually gotten a little more done already, but didn't scan it in yet. The butterfly is finished, but not the owl.

I re-posted the original rough draft here for reference.

You can see, if you click to enlarge the pen-and-ink artwork, that I don't slavishly follow the pencil marks unless it's important (as on the alligator or warbler details). For the trees, for instance, I use the pencil marks as a guide, but just build the trees as I see fit ~ sometimes an extra branch is needed, or a texture I am building doesn't logically stop where the pencil-tracing line does.

The lines in this ink drawing are a bit confusing, as I haven't shaded anything with the ink. I did make the right-hand edge of many of the confusing tree trunks slightly heavier, though, as a guide for when I start painting. It really makes a difference.

You'll notice I haven't done anything with the water. The water is a puzzle. Inklines don't lend themselves to water very well, and it would take me quite awhile to psych things out. I may fudge the water/reflections/ripples/color by leaving them till the very end and doing the water parts in Photoshop. Gasp!

I used to be a purist, wouldn't have even considered doing that. But I've gotten considerably more practical as years have gone by. Sure, I could make that water look good with ink and watercolor pencil and paintbrush, but it would take quite awhile and I don't know if I want to put that much effort into it, just to be macho, when I could ace it in with some creative Photoshop work, chop-chop. After all, that takes skill, too. So we'll see what transpires.
  • To do the water in Photoshop, I would copy the trees in the background, paste the copy on top of the original drawing in a new layer, turn it upside down, darken it, tweak it to fit, erase parts of it where the foreground comes in front of it, then sweep the smudging tool back and forth to make water ripples.
D'you think this might make a good coloring book picture? I was considering perhaps printing it inside the back cover so kids could color it if they want to. If it's inside the back cover, they can easily flip back and forth from front cover to inside back cover to check their progress. Hmmm....

And today I must finish the write-ups for the two new 2-day workshops for the North Mountain Park Nature Center catalog. When I get them done, I will post them here.

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