Under the algae that carpets the swamp, near the duck who paddles in ooze, close to the turtle who takes a snooze . . . hides a gator! Still as a log, only his watchful eyes can be seen. But when gator moves, he really moves! What happens to the duck, the turtle, the egret, the deer, and the many other critters of the swamp when gator makes his move!
A great time was had with the kids at The Lighthouse! We learned about the plants and the animals that inhabit the Everglades and studied the layers of swamp water that enables gators and other animals the ability to hide. What a great time we had!
“Here’s a fun tale that introduces young readers to concepts of camouflage and predator-prey interactions. And kids will love searching for the hidden alligator in the beautiful illustrations.”
–Annie Oxarart, Board Member, League of Environmental Educators in Florida Available HERE
Last week, the scans of my Jungle Grumble illustrations came back from the repro-house. Things have been a bit fast and furious: I've had just a few days to get all the 'finishing work' done, then Dropbox the final digital artwork back to the publisher, ready for everything to be put together and sent off to the printer. Phew.
There were three 'finishing' jobs for me to do in Photoshop / Painter:
1 - text overlays
Children's illustrators never draw text onto their actual artwork, because of translations. All text, even wording that is part of the actual picture, is added afterwards, digitally. Unfortunately, because of the pastel texture of my work, ordinary, typed text 'floats', so I make my own text overlays, using Painter, which look like they are drawn in black pastel. Luckily there wasn't much intrinsic text in Jungle Grumble, only one lion roar and the Swap Shop sign, though that does appear a few times:
2 - legibility issues
To keep things as clear as possible, it's easiest when a story's main text falls over areas of sky. That wasn't always possible in Jungle Grumble: in several places I had to use trees or bushes as backgrounds for text. But it was tricky to be sure precisely where specific lines of text would need to sit and, because of my style, it was hard not to include undergrowth textures which might be visually distracting behind the words. Once my designer got the scans, she was able to layer the two together so we could spot any places where things were slightly too busy or too dark to be sure of maximum visibility. I then used Photoshop to make subtle changes. Spot the differences to the bush bottom right:
3 - vignettes
Not all my illustrations are full spreads with illustrated backgrounds. Some pages feature smaller vignettes: characters against a plain background. My biggest digital job is cutting vignette characters off my pink paper. It takes ages because of the pastel edge, especially where the pastel colour is close to the pink of the paper, like Lion's roar:
He looks so much better on green, don't you think? For anyone who wants to know how I do the cutting out, here's a detailed 'masterclass' (though my version of Photoshop is old, so many things may be slightly different on up-to-date editions).
Most illustrators don't do this digital stuff themselves, but I prefer to, as the pastels make it quite a bit more tricky than usual. It's possible that I'm being a bit of a control freak, as usual, but after all that time spent getting the drawings done, I like to be sure that these final alterations are exactly right.
Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
Once a year the eyes of the nation turn to this tiny hamlet in western Pennsylvania, to watch a master at work. The master, Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous weatherman, the groundhog. Who, as legend has it, can predict the coming of an early spring. So I guess the question we have to ask ourselves today is, does Phil feel lucky?
~Ground Hog Day
The spider’s touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line.
There is a young cowboy, he lives on the range,
His horse and his cattle are his only companions.
He works in the saddle and sleeps in the canyons,
Waiting for summer, his pastures to change.
~ James Taylor
I’ve been experimenting with technique, texture and palette lately. This feller came out of my experimenting…. and who doesn’t love a cowboy! :)
The Great Gitana… in color.
I’m learning to live with the lines and imperfections in an illustration, and trying some new techniques. There’s always something to learn.
A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
“A sneeze is a breeze in your nose.”
This is my everty for the Tomie de Paola award entry.
He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith
The Great Gitana will tell your Yuletide fortune for but a few shillings.
She didn’t hear the click clack of the lock, nor did she hear the munching of the last piece of Mama Camain’s pie as Papa hungrily gobbled it up.
And there you have it! Thirty days of SkADaMo and thirty days of Picture book ideas with PiBoldMo
This has been a very worthwhile experience to participate in. I now have 30 ideas, some good, some not so much, but none the less they are mine to work on and grow into full fledged stories!
After dinner, Mama Caiman was so tired that she didn’t hear the dogs barking or the see the shadowy figure slowly making a pathway through the bayou.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Oh dear, oh dear, they wouldn’t!
Mama Caiman was sure to invite Bougre Bete Puante on her next trip to the beaute salon.
My illustrated book, I See the Animals Sleeping is now an App!
This free children’s app was developed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to educate kids about the importance of sleep. The app has optional settings for children to read the stories at their own pace or have the story read to them with audio. The app also includes a coloring book, puzzle and quiz games to make learning fun.
All of this good stuff and yes I said FREE!
Check it out!!
Something a little different this time!
Time to bake pumpkin pie!
I figured these little ones, worked so hard on making the pie all week, they deserved a a piece themselves!
Skadamo 22 …and I’m all caught up.
Now for something really different. I’ve never done anything in comic format, so I have to say how much I admire those who do.This is a scribbly, sketchy attempt.
Here’s, Turkey Daze!