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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: process, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 829
1. Author – Artist Residency Tips

by Joyce Audy Zarins If someone from a school overseas invited you to do an author or artist residency in connection with your picture book what would you do? I said yes even before I knew the particulars. If that would be your reaction, there are a few things you may want to consider to […]

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2. Interview: Totally Talented Brian Lies

I recently did an interview for WritersRumpus.com with Brian Lies, successful author and illustrator of gorgeous books for children. It was posted to coincide with the release of Brian’s latest picture book, Gator Dad. You can see his glorious artwork and read about him here. Bookmark

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3. Morning Sketch

... and a quick color study.

Just keep drawing.

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4. Illustration and Poetry (With Cats!)

"Love is the mystery of water and a star." –Pablo Neruda 

April is National Poetry Month. Below is a new piece of art inspired by this
snippet of a poem, step-by-step, working backwards. Enjoy!

After much fussing over details... the final art!

Building up the color.

Another view from the drawing table.

First pencil layer.

Rough color thoughts and a few tweaks on a printout of the sketch.

The original pencil sketch.

Sketchbook thumbnails. (No wonder I can't read my own handwriting!)

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5. Ravens

Just playing around with a Winsor & Newton Ivory Black Water Colour Marker and my trusty water brush. Fun, but seems to fade quite a bit after a few minutes. Scan or take a photo quick, kids.

And just for fun...

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6. A Mappish Show-and-Tell Process Post

I was recently commissioned to do a few maps for an upcoming book* due out later this year. A few people asked to see the final art after I posted some work-in-progress details over on Instagram, so here it is, along with some process show-and-tell.

Since I'm usually asked to illustrate places that exist in reality, this project was super interesting, because these were more fantasy-based maps.

In this case, the art director sent over detailed notes about the story, along with a rough sketch of how the author visualized the world in her head. This was all extremely helpful, and gave me a great starting point, yet still left a lot of creative freedom...

Below is the first sketch sent to the publisher. (I swear I had some tiny rough thumbnails, but they were lost in the flurry-of-paper that is my studio.)...

Close up inking details and adding a tone wash...

Coffee meditation break. (No worries! None was spilled! Don't try this at home, kids!!)...

And voilá, one of the finished pieces...

*The book is called THORNGHOST (Dial 2016), by Tone Almhjell, coming in August. Check it out!

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7. My book on Alfdredo Alcala “won’t stop selling”

Here’s a comprehensive interview with Dover’s Drew Ford about the future of their comics line, with many more reprints coming (including a personal favorite, Through the Habitrails). But a little gem is dropped that the book I wrote with Phil Yeh about Alfredo Alcala, Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master has found an audience: […]

4 Comments on My book on Alfdredo Alcala “won’t stop selling”, last added: 1/25/2016
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8. Alex de Campi shows you how to letter and teases Mayday

Renaissance woman Alex De Campi is not only a writer and director…she also letters her own comics and now she’s shown you how you can too! I am one of those rare writers who letter their own comic books. It started off, as so many things do, because we couldn’t afford a decent letterer. Then […]

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9. Comics Wriitng how-to with Kieron Gillen

There exist on the internet a good few resources on how to break into writing comics—many of them linked at The Beat’s own resource page—but there is always room for more, especially more by The Wicked + The Divine’s Kieron Gillen, who is writing some of the best comics out there these days. But if […]

1 Comments on Comics Wriitng how-to with Kieron Gillen, last added: 1/16/2016
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10. Sketchy Squares

Sometimes in the middle of a deadline, along with the joy of making art for a book that you are completely over-the-top excited about*, there's an urge to break out and try something new.

A few months ago I cracked open a sketchbook, new ink, a tiny set of travel paints, and a bunch of watercolor pencils I'd been meaning to play with for a long time. The goal was only to make small, quick drawings of whatever was floating around in my head at the time, and to keep it loose. (Must squash that perfectionist beast that makes you tighten up and question every mark on the page!) Each is only about 3" square.

This exercise has turned into relaxing little breaks that fit in the crevices of my day between other projects. Also, it's FUN! You might want to try it sometime.

Here are some of the drawings. I also post them over on Instagram...

*The book is CHARLES DARWIN'S AROUND-THE-WORLD ADVENTURE (Abrams, 2016), coming out in October! Woohoo! (More about this, soon!)

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11. Later, Gator!

Ringing in the New Year by sending off my art for Later, Gator! -- HOORAY! It required a little extra push out the door (and 4 additional hours of driving) as a snow storm shut down the nearest airport for UPS/FED EX deliveries -- but Gator and friends have officially flown the coop.

In addition to assorted other festivities, the last two weeks have been a process of final tweaking and considerations for the final art. As you can see below, the studio does get a little messy at this stage of the game, but cleaning up seems like a good New Year's activity as well :)

Front and center, the original Gator concept art was my steadfast little guide, and he still warms my  heart -- even after months of staring into his earnest little eyes. Arriving in bookstore or library near you as early as July 2016, Later, Gator!

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12. The Sherlock Holmes Project

Summary: The beginning of a series of posts about my Sherlock Holmes thesis project showing preliminary sketches.

via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1YKWlld

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13. Must read: Todd Alcott on Star Wars The Force Awakens character arcs

I know everyone is sick of The Force Awakens already, but if you have any interest left, the good news is that screenwriter Todd Alcott has returned to his blog to examine the character arcs of this movie, starting with Rey. And yeah, can’t wait for Kylo Ren. The major characters in The Force Awakens, like […]

3 Comments on Must read: Todd Alcott on Star Wars The Force Awakens character arcs, last added: 12/26/2015
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14. When to Pop Out of the Notebook

As much as I LOVE notebooks, even I have to admit there is a time in every writer's process when it is time to pop out of the notebook and onto a laptop or lined paper.

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15. Gabba Gabba Hey!

Summary: I share some of my process creating a faux Rolling Stone magazine cover of the Ramones. Giclee prints of the image are also made available! One of the assignments for my MFA program is that we are asked to create an illustration by look back into illustration history and finding an artist whom we admire, then we […]

via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1XgS0ut

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16. Pig in a Tutu!

Drawn with an Intense pencil, Niji water brush, and plain ol' water.

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17. It’s about disclosure in comics journalism

For the past few days there has been a kerfuffle in the extremely high profile, glamourous and profitable world of comics journalism. Rather than comment on this hot mess, I'm going to talk about why it happened. And what we an do to improve things.

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18. The Story I’ll Paint: Part 4 – Color Magic

Welcome to part four of my series on the making of The Story I’ll Tell. (Read down to the end of the post for the first print giveaway!) And now: color.

The Story I’ll Tell weaves a lyrical tapestry of fantasy and reality, and I wanted the palette of the illustrations to match the lush, dreamlike quality of the manuscript. I noticed early on that the story alternated between daytime and nighttime scenes, and I knew this would become an important element in the illustrations.

Reference images were the starting point. These Ukiyo-e prints were the inspiration for the blue nighttime pages. Matching the color was not a priority so much as capturing the mood of the image. I tied to imagine how it might feel, physically and emotionally, to step into these peaceful nighttime scenes.

Left: "Moonlight, Soochow," Elizabeth Keith, 1924. Right: "Moon at Arakawa River,"  Hasui Kawase, 1929.

Left: "Moonlight, Soochow," Elizabeth Keith, 1924. Right: "Moon at Arakawa River," Hasui Kawase, 1929.

Once I knew what I was going for, I made a detailed color study for each image Photoshop. I find this useful for getting the value range correct. (For those not familiar with art terminology, value is the measure of how light or dark something is. Not to be confused with saturation, which is a measure of how vivid the color’s hue is.) Ideally I want the illustrations to read just as clearly in black and white as they do in color, and good value organization is essential. Coloring an image in Photoshop is such a mindless activity that I listened to quite a few audiobooks during this phase. Then I made a full-color, printed dummy.

B&W and color study for the jacket of The Story I'll Tell, by Jessica Lanan

I ended up lightening the value of the background for the final art in order to make the figures more visible.

Finally, I painted color studies and chose an overall palette for the book. I wanted to use similar pigments throughout the book, and I needed a blue that could work either with a warm (daytime) or cool (nighttime) color palette. I tried quite a few combinations before I settled on Holbein’s French Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow light, and Winsor Red, with other colors as needed. I went through a tube and a half of blue.

Color studies by Jessica Lanan for The Story I'll Tell

Experimentation is key

Okay, you’ve been waiting for it: it’s giveaway time! Leave a comment for a chance to win a giclée print from the book. (It has to be a real comment. If it’s about Louis Vuitton handbags or search engine optimization, I’ll delete it.) Winner will be announced this Friday, October 23. And if you don’t win this time, you’ll have another chance next week with my final installment in the series.

Print from The Story I'll Tell, Illustrated by Jessica Lanan

Coming up next: Painting with Guts! The final art, and how to avoid being wimpy with watercolor.
Other posts in the series:

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19. Drawing a Shrew

Giant Elephant Shrew, that is.

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20. The Story I’ll Paint: Part 2 – Finding Harmony

Let’s talk about COMPOSITION! Yeah!

Have you ever noticed that some compositions feel awkward, while others just seem to flow? There are many strategies for creating interesting and easy-to-read compositions. In order to keep from writing a super long, rambling post, I’ll stick to discussing only one method for today. When a composition really isn’t working, sometimes I like to turn to math: the Golden Ratio.

The Golden Ratio is a geometric relationship that you probably learned about in high school, where the ratio of two quantities to each other is the same as the larger quantity’s ratio to the sum of the two quantities. That can sound a bit confusing when you write it out in English words, but it’s actually incredibly simple when you see it drawn. I’ll refer you to this informative Ted Talk about Fibonacci numbers. If you create a sequence of boxes using the Golden ratio, you get a spiral:

Golden Spiral

Image via the Wikimedia Commons

The Golden Ratio/Golden Spiral is ubiquitous in nature: it shows up in sunflowers, shells, the shape of your ears, the proportions of your body, and the form of galaxies and hurricanes. I could go on and on. The Golden Spiral also happens be a handy tool for creating interesting compositions. Sometimes all it takes are a few tweaks–moving something to the left, lining a few key elements up, to take your composition from “meh” to “aah.” This isn’t a new concept. Artists have been using the golden ratio pretty much ever since it was discovered.


As much fun as I have playing with the composition of my illustrations, I also have to remember that each image is NOT a work of art in and of itself. The book needed to work as a whole, so it was also important to find harmony between the pages as well. This is where my editor and art director were invaluable, never losing sight of the project in its entirety, and keeping me from getting too attached to compositions that were not quite right for the flow of the story. (And also making sure I kept enough space for the text to be placed.) I made several physical dummy books myself so that I could experience the page turn and see the images together in sequence.

If you have another favorite method for finding interesting compositions, I want to hear! Let me know in the comments.

Coming up next: The Devil’s in the Details
Other posts in the series:
  • Part 1 – Getting Started
  • Part 2 – Finding Harmony
  • Part 3 – Devil’s in the Details
  • Part 4 – Adding the Magic
  • Part 5 – Painting with Guts

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21. Illustrating “The Hole Story of Kirby the Sneak and Arlo the True”

Summary: This blog post covers a book project that I worked on from the end of 2014 to the beginning of 2105. I was hired to create a cover illustration and a number of black and white interior illustrations for the book The Hole Story of Kirby the Sneak and Arlo the True.

via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1h8AfKg

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22. World of Books #4

This post is #4 in a series. The earlier ones are here, here and here. This article also appears on another blog, here on WritersRumpus.com. We see hundreds of excellent children’s books each year published here in the U.S., but what about those published in other countries? The rest of the world is producing books […]

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23. Garbage Pail Kids Painter Programs His Computer to Create Comics!

Last month, Wired posted an update about John Pound, the co-creator of the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, and how he uses somewhat archaic software to create random comics! Many comics cognoscenti know that Art Spiegelman created the Garbage Pails Kids concept, as well as that of Wacky Packages. What most don’t know is that […]

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24. The Freedom That Comes With Constriction: Flash Fiction

Writing flash fiction can be liberating, exhilarating, and great writing process practice.

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25. How To Make Crowdfunding Sustainable For Comics

A little while back, Brian Hibbs wrote a piece involving the place of Kickstarters in the comics world that still seems to be making the rounds online.  It comes at it from the retailer angle, and as somebody who’s run a few Kickstarters, I have a few different thoughts about how crowdfunding fits into the […]

5 Comments on How To Make Crowdfunding Sustainable For Comics, last added: 8/19/2015
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