English illustrator Sarah Wade shows us how to “colour” with a digital brush

Children’s book illustrator and surface pattern designer Sarah Wade of Design House Studios in Ipswich,  England has put together a short Photoshop tutorial for us. We’ll get right to work with it in a minute.
But first let’s meet the two characters she’ll feature in her tutorial.

Hey Pretty Kitty from Sarah Wade on Vimeo.

A Short Photoshop Tutorial:  Colouring up
line art

Pictures and text by Sarah Wade

1.) Create your line art and scan at 300 dpi. I tend to use fine liners on layout paper to create my illustrations. Layout paper allows you to trace up consistent elements within a series of illustrations. This works really well if you are animating characters.

English Illustrator Sarah Wade Photoshop turorial

2.) Import the scanned image into Photoshop. Make sure that the image is CMYK.  Image > Mode> CMYK

Adjust the contrast and brightness of your image to ensure that you have a crisp white background and solid black line work – this will make it easier for you to select areas when colouring up.
Image > Adjustments > Brightness / Contrast
Also remove any marks and blemishes that might have appeared during the scanning process. You will need to select the Eraser Tool to do this.

English Illustrator Sarah Wade Photoshop turorial
3.) Using the Magic Wand tool, select the area that you would like to colour first. You can hold down the shift key to select multiple areas. Adjusting the tolerance settings at the top of the tool bar will allow you to determine how much of an area you select. As we are working with black and white imagery a high tolerance of about 90 will be most suitable.

When the area has been selected use the Colour Picker to choose the colour you would like to use.

English Illustrator Sarah Wade Photoshop turorial
4.) Now you can select your brush. Choose the Brush tool from the tools panel – this will automatically open the Brush Palette. Here you can adjust the size of your brush and it’s softness. Have a play around with different types of brushes to find one that suits your illustration.

English Illustrator Sarah Wade Photoshop turorial (4)
5.) Once your brush is selected you can start to colour. The brush will only effect the area which you have selected with the Magic Wand tool. To deselect an area use Select > Deselect from the menu. Work your way around the image until all areas are coloured. Adjusting the brush opacity in the header bar will help you to create a layered, painterly style.

English Illustrator Sarah Wade Photoshop turorial
6.) Once your image is coloured up in full , use a smaller brush to make slight adjustments.

English Illustrator Sarah Wade Photoshop turorial 6 or 7

And there you have it! OK, now you can watch the video again!

Sarah studied Graphic Design at Northampton University,  specializing in Illustration.
She graduated in 2004.  ” I went on to work within two large  studios that produced designs for giftware and children’s book publishing.” she says.

“I decided to go freelance in 2006 and have been working from my studio based in Ipswich for the past 4 years. I now produce surface patterns for a variety of applications including textiles, wall coverings, jewellery, fashion, shop interiors, ceramics and  advertising campaigns.  “I also illustrate children’s books and have almost 20 titles in publication.”

You can see some of her images and book covers, and read Sarah’s and  Lloyds blogs at their website, Design House Studio. (Lloyd Evans is her design studio business partner, and as of about a week ago, her husband.)  Here’s the URL:  www.designhousestudios.co.uk

Sarah’s blog has been added to our blogroll and here’s the URL: http://sarahwadedesign.blogspot.com/

Sarah’s gracious guest post demonstrates that children’s book artists on the other side of the Atlantic are just as fun, creative, charming  and nice as…well, we are.   We’re speaking in generalities, of course.

Sarah and I discovered we had one more connecting point besides our involvement with kid lit art: We’re both students of Salsa dance. And it just so happens that my Rueda Salsa instructor, Esther Weekes is from Ipswich, England.  Esther and Sarah do not know each other, but perhaps someday they will. The world does seem to get smaller every day.

Now,  I’m not sure when Sarah will begin teaching us computer animation classes 🙂
But she tells us, “It is just something that I have been experimenting with at the moment, but I love how it gives characters a whole other dimension!

“The sound effects were fun to work on too, although I’m concerned that our neighbors might think we mistreat our cat! It took a few attempt to get that recording right …..it’s Lloyd’s voice —  not our cat!”

Thank you, Sarah! It’s been a total treat. Btw, your video makes my day each time I look at it and I look forward to seeing more!

www.designhousestudios.co.uk

http://sarahwadedesign.blogspot.com/

And here are some Austin salsa links for you:
Street Salsa.com

Meneo Space

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Austin SCBWI – Picture Perfect!

A “spit-polish picture book workshop” featuring author Lisa Wheeler and illustrators Don Tate and Laura Jennings

St. Edwards University campus in Austin, TexasSt. Edward’s University, Austin Texas — home of upcoming Austin SCBWI workshops

Will you be anywhere near Austin, Texas around Saturday, October 9th?
All right, then. Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 9th when the Austin SCBWI chapter will meet at beautiful St. Edwards University to enjoy an intensive one-day  workshop for author-illustrators, Picture Perfect!

This professional workshop (we did say spit and polish, remember) will help hone your children’s picture book manuscripts and illustrations to radiant perfection.

Author Lisa Wheeler will present the keynote and other author-illustrators will offer presentations and critiques. Here’s the complete faculty lineup.

  • Lisa Wheeler has written 17 books for children. Her most recent picture book for Atheneum is the hilarious Castaway Cats, illustrated by Ponder Gombel. Learn more about Lisa on her website at www.lisawheelerbooks.com.
  • Sarah Sullivan who has written three picture books. Her latest, Passing Music Down, published by Candlewick is forthcoming very soon. Learn more about Sarah on her website at www.sarahsullivanbooks.com.
  • Stephanie Greene  is a master of the series chapter book. Stephanie has written the Moose and Hildy and Owen Foote series, several middle-grade novels, has earned Horn Book’s coveted starred review for her latest…Happy Birthday Sophie Hartley. Learn more about Stephanie at www.stephaniegreenebooks.com.
  • Don Tate who is an illustrator of children’s books and educational products. His background includes illustration as well as graphic design in the areas of advertising, educational publishing, and visual journalism. Learn more about Don at www.dontate.com.
  • Laura Jennings who is a freelance illustrator living in Austin, Texas.

Download the full brochure with the registration form and all details about fees, , schedule of events, and portfolio review information here. You can also get it from the Austin SCBWI website.

Notice #1 : You don’t have to be an SCBWI member to enroll in the workshop. It’s just a little cheaper if you are, and you can do that when you enroll. 🙂

Notice # 2: Manuscript critique slots are filled — but there are still some portfolio review slots left, illustrators!

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Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators features Carus senior art director Karen Kohn

PSIcon is set for September 25, 2010 at Pittsburgh Technical Institute, Oakdale, PA. Keynote speaker is Karen Kohn, Senior Art Director at Carus Publishing Company, publishers of Cricket, Ask and Ladybug. Karen will speak about the various types of illustration styles their publications look for as well as new developed apps soon to be released. Karen often finds new illustration talent to use throughout the publications from speaking engagements. She’ll be reviewing portfolios as well. Six additional industry-wide speakers are planned.

The one day conference is 8 am – 6 pm. It will be valuable to all levels of experience. Seasoned professionals and young talent alike will benefit. Light breakfast and lunch included.

Continue to check for updates on PSI’s website at: http://www.pittsburghillustrators.org/

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Author-illustrator Mark Mitchell of Austin, Texas hosts this blog. Check out his online course on drawing and painting for chillren’s book illustration.

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“Let’s Board It Up!” The Magic of the Storyboard

 This Google Video clip from the promo documentary Finding Lady: The Art of Storyboarding  has been circulating around the art and cartoon blogs recently.

Disney animator Eric Goldberg explains how the Disney artists have always used storyboards as a developmental first step in their animation productions.

The clip goes on to show how movie makers from Alfred Hitchcock to Kevin Costner have used them as perhaps the crucial planning tool in a film.

Finding Lady came out to herald the 1991 release of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and the “renaissance of the animated film” that some say began with The Little Mermaid  in 1989. 

It’s not exactly the way storyboarding is covered in our course  on how to illustrate children’s books. 

The storyboard thumbnails we talk about are quite different animals from the sketches and drawings you see tacked up on Disney’s storyboard wall.

But the same big ideas apply:  Using the storyboard to work out the the  “bits” of stagecraft,  the action and gags. Pacing, story flow and the economy of the viewer’s or reader’s attention.

For the movie director, storyboarding saves costly waffling around on the set, the video points out.  Because the details and the sequences have all been worked out in advance, the director can “edit in the camera.”

For the children’s book artist, storyboardings helps to gestalt the entire book on just one page. The simple very exercise  of it can spring  ideas free and save weeks of unecessary drawing and painting. 

To enlarge the video for better visibility, click on the Google Video box, then hit the enlarge screen button under the video on the Google Video page.

For information on the online Children’s Book Illustration 101 course”  look here.

Or to check out the free color lessons from the course (while they’re still available)  click here.

Laura’s Medieval Menagerie

 

Laura Jennings drawing for Shard Studios

Laura Jennings drawing for Shard Studios

Laura Jennings grew up surrounded by animals in the Texas Hill Country town of Kempner.

“I trained my first dog, a Rottweiler for obedience when I was 12,” she says.

Maybe that’s why the dynamic animals she’s created for the role playing game Shard  look like people you might  know — almost  old friends you wouldn’t mind going with you on a harrowing adventure.

 Oh, humans played their parts in her youth, too, and books — fantasy novels mainly — and video games.  “I used to sit and watch my brother play Zelda and Mario for hours,” she says.

After studying fine arts at Central Texas Community College and Texas Tech University, Laurie enrolled in the design art  programming and animation sequence at Austin Community College, She has set her sites on the fields of video game art and character creation.  

Character from "Dardunah", a land where armour is made of crystal, a Shard RPG game, drawn by Laura Jennings

The Lion King changed my life.  I loved the action, the movement.   I don’t have the patience for animation, but that’s what I’m into,” she says.

“At school we’re doing the old  pegboard animation, like the crews did for Bambi , they still ask for the same kind of detail in the industry. 

“Everybody going into this wants to design, do storyboards and be a lead character artist. It’s the very first graphic the public sees.

“I do go for games, and it is pretty astonishing — the emerging media and the economic growth that’s been predicted for games and computer art in the next 50 years. 

“Austin has something like 50 studios; they’re mostly small. In this room there’s an animator and you can walk right next door and take it to the programmer.”

“Video game art is  a combination of animated movie and comic book and it’s  interactive. Some of the most gorgeous art I’ve seen has been in the animation of Nintendo and Capcom games, such as Squaresoft Final Fantasy series and Legend of Zelda.    

 

"Dardunah" character by Laura Jennings

Laura also feels pulled by graphic novels and children’s books and attends meetings of the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (Austin SCBWI). 

“People think children’s book illustration is easy. It’s actually cutting edge. There are similarities to game art, such as the storyboarding and the composition and how you have to know your story visually so very well. The work of James Gurney holds its metal against any fine art happening today and he (and others like him) have chosen literature, which I thank them for.”

"Puffy pants" character from the Shard land, drawing by Laura Jennings

"Puffy pants" character from the Shard land, drawing by Laura Jennings

Laura “liked the idea of puffy pants” for her fantasy
character for the game Shard, designed by art director Scott Jones.

 “I was trying to turn a lot of the animal motifs on their heads.  So I wanted to make this Aesop’s-like skunk a bit coquetish, like she’s waiting for Pepe Le Pew.”

 Shard is a table-top  role playing game “of heroic fantasy, set in the Realm of Dardunah, World of the False Dawn,”
the website says.   “Players may choose from a wide variety of animal  people who are the main cast of the many adventures the world offers.” 

Dardunah is a medieval Shangrila, far east of Middle Earth. (I spent some time poking around the site. I must say I’m ready for the movie to come out.) 

Laura recalls, “I don’t know what it was that got their attention, but they saw some of my art and told me, ‘We see that you’ve done a bunch of animal creatures.'”

“Actually there were  three of us working on the game’s characters. We had to make it look like all of the illustration was done by one person. We each worked in our own category — I didn’t want  the insects, snakes and reptiles so I raised my hand and said, ‘I’ll take the mammals!’ ”

One of the animal people drawn by Laura Jennings for the RPG "Shard"

One of the animal people drawn by Laura Jennings for the RPG "Shard"

 She had to research animals in their natural settings, and come up with props, costumery and accessories that  “fit” into this world with its Persian and Asian flavors, she says. 

“I had to find out what old armour looks like, leggings and foorwear, what kind of robes students of a temple would have worn.” 

Shore dweller of "Dardunah" by Laura Jennings

For the fellow in the game at the right, a seashore dweller, she found photo reference of an otter, stopping by a river, panting.

Pencil drawings were scanned and values were added in Photoshop using the smudge tool and the dodge and burn tool.

“I had a lot of fun with the textures in Photoshop, learning to push things around.

“I was asked to  re-do a squirrel monster because the armor looked too much like beat-up metal. Metal is a material of our world  — whereas in Dardunah, the armor is made of crystal.

 “The  foundation was in natural media,” she says. “But there was a little bit of cleanup in Corel Painter 9, which replicates whatever natural medium you’re using — in this case it was pencil. The art  was finished and polished in Corel Painter 9.

 “There’s a lot of movement and dynamic in my own work,” Laura says.

“I’ve been very gestural for a long time. I’m only just now starting to work on the edges, the contour.

“My sketches are half reference — half imagination. Many of them are just from little thumbnail sketches. As I look at these  I’m seeking that pose that speaks about inner character. I’m asking, ‘What has punch. What is moving, or defining,” Laura says.

“In video games, the silhouette is so important. Their silhouettes define who they are in the game.”

Wolverine warrior by Laura Jennings,from the role playing card game

Ursine warrior realized by Laura Jennings. He's a character from the role playing card game, Shard.

Laura Jennings’ fun blog  is now on our blogroll.  You’ll find her art there, too and on her Deviant Art gallery page, where she’s posted some graphic novel panels, backgrounds and more of her exquisite characters.  Deviant Art features concept art by teen and young adult artists from around the world.

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Mark Mitchell hosts How To Be A Children’s Book Illustrator. 
Check out the free lessons of his short course, Power Color: The Keys to Color Mastery  here.