Here's my perennial favorite book, Illustrating Nature, Right-brain Art in a Left-brain World, which is a do-it-yourself guide for the aspiring illustrator, starting from zero if that's where you are, and taking you as high as you want to go ~ ahem... well, it depends on whether or not you stick with it.
When I taught my Biological Illustration course from it a few years ago, using the handouts that became the basis for the book, the class enabled I-can't-draw-a-straight-line-but-I-need-the-credit students to get their Project B artwork published in nature periodicals after just one term of study. But once a you publish a book and it goes out into the world, you (the author/illustrator) seldom get any feedback from folks who buy it. Sighhhhh......
But I got lucky!
One of my students from long ago, Pete Schroeder, went on to teach Biological Illustration at Southern Oregon University, the very course I had once taught. Although he was my student back then, he started out at a pretty high level of artistic expertise, and I just helped him polish his skills. His artwork is stunning, and he's also an excellent teacher. When I moved on to teaching sketching and journaling workshops out in the wide world, he took over the course using Illustrating Nature, and has been turning out some really good artists for several years now.
|On the left is an ink drawing, which was then computer-tweaked to resemble a pencil drawing (right).|
Pete generously offered to meet with me and give me feedback on what could use some changes, and after an intense session involving every aspect (including the possibility of making it into an eTextbook) I came away with a some good ideas on how to improve on it. I'm already well into Chapter 3. I'll get together with him again later to see if I'm on the right track.
So, the Redwood and Beach sketch journal I began in early September has settled into its spot by the couch, waiting for me to find spare moments to add color to the drawings, but it's going to be awhile before I get moving on it.
The thought of putting Illustrating Nature into e-book form is a little daunting, I have to admit. When I upload my sketch journals for people to download and enjoy, I just create them as I would create a book, make them into PDFs and upload them. But eBooks are done in code and have links, and you can't format them because everyone has a different kind of reader ~ from full size computer to cellphone ~ and if you've seen Illustrating Nature, you know that I format the heck out of it.
In an eBook, every illustration marches down the middle of the page, one by one. Like this:
As far as I know, you can't even put two illustrations side by side. So that means that if I want two illustrations side by side, I'll have to join the illustrations into one graphic in Photoshop before inserting them into the text. I did that just now with the little wood ducks above, because they were originally two separate images. It's not a HUGE amount of work, but the book has hundreds of images, so it would be a lengthy process. I can see I'd have my work cut out for me. I still haven't definitely decided to do the eTextbook, but there's a good possibility.
Here's an illustration from one of my sketch journals a couple of years ago of a hen turkey doing just that. She's all fluffed up around her perch to keep warm.
Glad you came by. If you've been using Illustrating Nature, I hope you'll comment with anything you'd like me to add or change. Here's your chance!