Tag Archives: illustrator

52 Weeks: Week 12 – Digital Painting!

So I missed weeks 10 and 11, and week 9 was sort of a cop-out. I didn’t miss them because I wasn’t working on art, but because of the holidays. My mind was elsewhere – with family, which is more important than anything else. It is so important to recharge and rest, and take some time away from the screen, in order to be able to create.

For Christmas, I was given a Wacom Tablet! I have been wanting one for years. Now I am on a new mission – to learn to use it, and use it well. This week, I am going to share 2 old drawings that have been re-imagined through digital painting. These are not yet where they will be when I am a little bit more experienced, but for my first week using a brand new tool, I am pretty pleased.

I would like to thank Will Terry for amazing video lessons that are explicit and affordable. I am learning quickly from him, though there is so much to learn, and that’s both scary and exciting.

Here is Ted in digital colour:

character sketches 9

Ted’s line art completed in pencil.

ted

Ted painted digitally on Photoshop.

And here is one of my monsters in digital colour:

Monster line art – in pen.

Monster painted digitally.

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52 Weeks Update: Week 9 – No Update!

Well, well, well. So it seems that after a week of sketching and painting and experimenting, I am on a great path … but I am not going to share this week.

Disappointing, I know. (Did you note my sarcasm? I am sure your world hasn’t shattered because I didn’t post anything this week!)

Here’s the thing. I intend to make a go of this professional illustrating thing, and I just can’t bring myself to post what I’ve made this week, because it isn’t anywhere near good enough yet. I will let you in, however, on what I’m working on, and intending to post for next week, hopefully.

I decided to get festive. I thought, hey, self, create a Santa character that is both within your style and not typical/commercial Santa. Make him a little different, but recognizable. Make him your own. I tried and tried and sketched and sketched and painted and scanned and photoshopped and tried again. It didn’t quite work.

Here's a non-art related thingy. Kingsley met Santa for the first time! Here is my beautiful little family enjoying the holiday season!

Here’s a non-art related thingy but still related to my topic for the week: Kingsley met Santa for the first time! Here is my beautiful little family enjoying the holiday season!

A critique partner told me, “Don’t let yourself off the hook. Keep going with him, you’ll get there.”

So, I’m not letting myself off the proverbial hook. I am, however, not posting Santa yet because he isn’t reflective of what I can do. Yet.

I found this online somewhere and stashed it in a file. I recently came across it. It rings true, so so loudly. I hope you can do this, too.

I found this online somewhere and stashed it in a file. I recently came across it. It rings true, so so loudly. I hope you can do this, too.

I also played around with some kid characters. They were lots of fun, and I enjoyed them. Most of the things in my sketch book from the past few days are fun. BUT … not quite professionally illustrated enough to earn a spot in my 52 Week Challenge, which I am upping my personal expectations for.

In the meantime, here is a monster that I love, old as he may be.

Here's a monster I love. I love monsters - don't you? He's not new, but he's awesome.

Here’s a monster I love. I love monsters – don’t you? He’s not new, but I think he’s awesome.

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Lifting A Tonne

934892_738271862904934_5882419844042137199_nWhen teaching kids, I very regularly equate the skills they’re working on to working out physically. “Could I wake up today, having never run a kilometre, and complete a marathon, and feel good at the end of it?” They all harmonize on their enthusiastic “Noooo!” I answer, “So, then you need to think of (fill the blank skill: this math problem/writing a story/revising a story/creating art/and on and on) as you would working out. You can’t just start lifting a tonne – you’ve got to start somewhere, and maybe that’s at one pound. It’s the same thing. Let’s start somewhere and practice, practice, practice, until we love it. Then, let’s practice some more to get even better.”

Well. I can dish it out, but I don’t always take my own advice. Maybe that’s why I’m a fairly decent teacher, but I can’t run, or lift weights, or sometimes … draw.

Tonight, I feel like my hands must be broken. They just won’t draw! No matter what I do, no matter what I visualize, no matter how I copy and alter and alter and change and reorganize the features of a model … it’s just not working. I was getting frustrated, so I stepped away.

Then it hit me.

I haven’t actually drawn in about 2 weeks.

What my studio looks like when I follow my own advice. Reference materials, paints, sketchbooks, works in progress, it's all out.

What my studio looks like when I follow my own advice. Reference materials, paints, sketchbooks, works in progress, it’s all out.

I was drawing every single day for a month, and it was getting so great. I was loving what I was doing. Then, I added colour to the images, and started playing with them on the computer, and put together marketing materials with finished images, and changed up my website, and did all of this art-related stuff. But, I broke my own rule. I didn’t make art.

So shame on me. I’ve learned my lesson. I need to draw every day. I’m putting a sketchbook in my bag, and I’m going to put in the time, so that I can lift the metaphorical tonne. The images in my brain need to find their way out, and I’ve got to practice, practice, practice until I love it. Then, I’ll practice some more to get even better.

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52 Weeks: Week 8

monsters 4

Hello!

I’ve just wrapped up a five week (amazing) e-course with The Children’s Book Academy, all about the Craft & Business of Illustrating Children’s Picture Books. It was informative, interactive,challenging and just incredible. I was placed into a critique group, which I’ll be sticking with now that the course is finished, and this is where a lot of the motivation came. My awesome partners focused me and kept me going. The information was thorough and varied, and where some pieces of info (like humanizing animals) didn’t touch on something I cared to do, I had plenty to work with from other lessons. I now have something of a portfolio, too!

Check it out on my homepage at patrickg.ca under “Illustration”. (I am really hoping I can find a way to embed this blog into that site … if anyone knows how, send me an email, please! guindon.patrick@gmail.com)

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I don’t have anything ready to SHOW that is brand new for week 8, but I have been toiling away on my promotional post card and thought I would share it here. I LOVE love love monsters. Well, the friendly ones. The grumpy ones are fine, too, as long as they don’t eat people, but I especially love the goofy ones. Without further ado, here is the (back of my) FIRST PROMOTIONAL postcard!

newpostcardback1

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52 Weeks: Week 2

This week, I’m presenting you with two illustrations … of the same thing.

Part of this whole process is in refining my style and finding a voice. I’ve drawn this character a whole bunch of ways, but these two are my favourites.

This one was done in Sharpie with water colour paint, then scanned and edited to colour the background. I like the cut and paste feel of this, in the way that Oliver Jeffers often does his “Boy” books, and wanted to experiment not only with this, but with Photoshop. I also wanted to get rid of the mucky white of the sketchbook page behind Miss Molly. This character is inspired by a real-life Miss Molly, who I’ve never met, but know through an old friend’s/her mom’s Facebook account. She’s hilarious and sassy. I like a lot about this, though I’m not entirely sold on the quality of the marker or the scan.

missmollytry1

The next one was done in Sharpie, then scanned and painted in Photoshop with multiple layers. Talk about a learning curve. I actually darkened the outline in a layer, removed all of the “inside” white and laid it overtop of the coloured layer. If you don’t use Photoshop, then this is gibberish, but it was a good learning opportunity for me. I like the style of her legs and arms – they’re fun and carefree, but I’m not sure they’re totally “me”, y’know? I’m not convinced I LOVE the computer paint … it feels a bit … cold and cheap. Some people paint incredible pictures in photoshop … I’m not there yet. The lines in this one I’m not crazy about either. I like a lot of the “feel” but go back and forth.

Miss Molly Try 2

Overall, I think (in this moment) I prefer Miss Molly #1. Maybe you don’t. That’s okay! It’s all just about practice and exploration for me at this point in the challenge. Constructive criticism is certainly welcome.

Next week, I’m hoping to build an entire page … however, it is Hallowe’ek, so that may not happen. Stay tuned!

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How I PiBoIdMo

PiBoIdMo: Picture Book Idea Month is coming! Get ready! Also, this awesome artwork was created by Vin Vogel!

PiBoIdMo: Picture Book Idea Month is coming! Get ready! Also, this awesome artwork was created by Vin Vogel!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! While November drags on, I get through it with all of my virtual friends who are also PiBoIdMoing.

I use my position as a primary teacher to my advantage. While many might say, “Oh, I don’t have time for that! I’m busy teaching!” I say, “Ohhh, ideas? That’s in the curriculum! And what better way to engage my students than to share my own writing. It’s ‘modelled writing’ after all!” So, I can hit two of those birds with one stone, leaving me with a pile of stones to toss at the nay sayers who think picture books are (this hurts) EASY to write.

I always make a table on chart paper – the big stuff – with a bright marker, and list 1-30 down the side. I add a column for the date, a column for the idea, and a column to check off if the kids liked it.

Yes, I share EVERY IDEA with the kids. This helps me in so many way:

1) I have to say my ideas out loud, so they actually need to make sense in some way. I’m trying to impress these kids.

2) I have to come up with a new idea every day. Have you ever promised an eight year old something? If you don’t follow through … you’ll hear about it. A lot.

3) The kids – my target audience – give their feedback. “No, the main character should be a gorilla, not a farting clown. That would be way cooler.” Check. “I think we already read that book … ‘Where the Wild Things Are?’ C’mon, Mr. Patrick.” Oh. Right. “CAN YOU READ IT TO US?!” No, it’s not written … yet. BUT IT WILL BE, TONIGHT!

4) I’m covering off the ideas section of the language curriculum as well as a pile of oral communication skills through all of the discussions, and probably a bunch of others, too. As I sit here thinking about it, I realize we’re talking about elements of fiction and non-fiction, debating, organizing thoughts, and getting creative.

5) Once I start sharing, I find ideas in everyONE and everyTHING. That kid who leaves his water bottle by the projector every. single. day.? BAM! Idea. The sassy lassy who loves making the boys feel awkward? That one writes itself. The kid who picks his nose and “hides” it under the table? Yeah, I’ll add that to the list, too. Score!

I keep the chart paper up as a reminder, and sometimes throughout the day, I can even add to it. At the end of the month, I take that paper home and type it up into a document that I call the Master List. It’s got a spot for the idea number, the title, the premise/overall idea, writability, notes & thoughts, if it’s been written, if it’s been submitted, and if it’s been published.

You may not have a class to do it with, but why not try it with your office pals? That could be interesting. Actually, it sounds like a picture book for adults waiting to happen … off I go!

Want to learn more about PiBoIdMo and sign up? Check out taralazar.com!

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52 Weeks of Art

I’ve been writing for years now, and I believe it’s been 10 years (on and off) that I’ve been tinkering away on picture book and chapter book manuscripts. I’ve been telling people I illustrate, and I did actually illustrate 3 small charity press picture books, but they are no where near the level of illustration I believe I could and should be working at. In addition to all of this, I’m dying to find an agent and market myself as an author/illustrator, author AND illustrator. Before I can fully submit myself to agents as all of these, I need to build my art portfolio in addition to my polished pieces of writing.

The challenge, as with any creative activity, is to find your voice – that style that is nothing other than YOU. I paint all of the time, but those are not illustrations, nor are they the style I want to illustrate in. So it’s been bogging me down – how do I build a really great portfolio? What do I include? How do I do this and not lose focus, when I’m working full time, side-jobbing part time, and now have a new (awesome) baby to be Daddy to? The answer struck me a couple of weeks ago, and fermented in my brain:

One illustration a week, for a year.

Yes, you read that correctly. I am committing to producing a MINIMUM of one QUALITY illustration per week, for a year.

The end goal is to have enough high quality pieces to build a portfolio that I can use when querying agents and publishers, but also I am hoping that much like PiBoIdMo does for those of us who do it (Picture Book Idea Month – 1 idea a day for a month), it will kick-start my creative brain and focus me in on producing. Once producing, I will certainly produce some garbage (just today I spent the afternoon TRYING to create … it didn’t work … but I tried …) and will eventually produce my voice on paper, visually. I’ll be posting them here as a motivator to keep me going. It’s a game I’m playing against myself! Your feedback will also come in handy (but be gentle, please!)!

I will organize these by having a focus per week, which will help me to build the sections of my portfolio. They include:
– children
– animals
– settings
– black & white (chapter book illustrations)

Sub-categories could include any of the above (ie., Children is the category, but there was also a focus on the setting, like a barn or field, etc.), and things like: high-action, holidays, music, etc.

During this, I hope to illustrate for my own pleasure and practice, the lyrics to some of my favourite songs by Angus Stone, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, and The Beatles.

I’ll post my illustrations on Saturday mornings, for the next year. By (Canadian) Thanksgiving next year, I hope to have a lot more to be thankful for than I already am!

Now, while Kingsley sleeps, it’s off to the drawing board – literally. Look for my first illustration on Saturday, October 18.

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