Monday, March 17, 2014

Bookmaps and Storyboards using Photoshop. Part 1-Why digital tools?

In January I gave a series of talk at Kindling Words east and can now share a bit of what I talked about during the breakout sessions with the illustrators. May 27th will mark the release date of Sleepytime Me by Edith Fine, my next book with Random house so it best to focus on this title for this series of posts.

First I need to address the question of why I am using digital tools. Not for myself, but because I am asked...all the time. Technique and materials are really of little interest to me. Photoshop is a tool. Pastels and charcoal are tools. I am more interested in what you create with them. However, the question is always in the air so I will give you the cliff notes version of my thinking on the debate.

I started using photoshop when I began work as a visual development artist working on animated films and have found the program to be an invaluable tool in my book production work. First a quick note to all the skeptics who ask: "Don't you miss traditional materials?"Quick answer: No. While there is a learning curve, I have been able to customize my tools to create a process that not only replicates my traditional technique but removes many of the limitations of working in pastel and acrylic. Here are two examples of work. The one on the left is from my pastel work on the Redwall  picture books, the image on the right is a detail from my book due out at the end of August 2014,  Baking Day at Grandma's by Anika Denise. The image on the right was created using only digital tools.

I am impatient with my art. I work best when I can act and react. With digital tools changing the piece as it begins to emerge is far easier and I can get to the fun stuff faster. The goal is not necessarily to shorten the production time, though in this day  of ever tightening deadlines and shrinking advances this is clearly a very good byproduct. The goal is to get as much of original inspiration down on the page as possible. With digital tools, I can cut right to the chase and then have the flexibility to edit, change, and repaint the piece to suit the needs of the entire book.

In the next post I will focus on the previously time consuming process of creating a bookmap with Photoshop.

1 comment:

Alicia said...