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!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Project!

Hey, authors get do-overs!  I never thought about it that way, but when a book needs a new look, new information, new status, we get to redo it!  Of course, there's a LOT of work involved, but the end result is that we get to erase the wrinkles, firm up the sagging body parts, and try a new hairdo on the book. Quite a perk.

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).
Problem is, the book has sections that have become a little dated as the technology whizzes along at breakneck speed, and although most of it is fine, some parts, like the ones discussing computer tweaking illustrations and career opportunities, need some work. 

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. 

So.  There's where my life is at the present.  (Ha!  A big turkey hen just landed on my roof with a major THUMP.  It's getting dark, and she's probably about to fly up into a tree to roost for the night. Now THAT's an amazing sight I've only seen a few times. They look so amazing, huge lumps up in the trees.)  

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!  

1 comment:

Iris said...

Please remove the grasshopper on page 112. In the book I have, I actually removed the page with an exacto knife. I have a real phobia of them. There is another one on page 90 that I blacked out with silver marker (some leaked thru on the other side). Anyway if you could use another kind of insect, it would really help keep my heart rate at a safe level!

Here's a grab-bag of other entries...

Related Posts with Thumbnails