Saturday, March 31, 2012

Are there places you'd like to return to?

The first version, painted in Corel Painter 11.
The word for this week's 'Illustration Friday' challenge is "Return." I've been thinking a lot lately about a place where I use to live. It was an old farm house in Washington state that was situated across the road from a meadow on the edge of a small forest. It was a place where I use to walk my dogs every day. I moved away from there 5 years ago when the relationship I was in fell apart and I've never felt as homesick for a place as I have for that house, meadow and forest. Lately I've begun to dream about it. For the past couple of months, I've had a dream almost every week that I have returned to that location. The house has since been sold and someone else now calls it home. I will probably never go back there, I think it would break my heart to go back and see someone else living in a place that I once felt was mine. But it did inspire me to create this image of an old woman returning to a favorite spot. Maybe it's a spot that she's never left, but returns to every day on walks with her dog.

I painted this illustration in Corel Painter 11 and then played around with it a bit, creating a new version by tweaking it in Photoshop using a Mister Retro filter to give it a sort of aged graphic feel. I then imported that version into Illustrator where, using the 'Trace' feature, I turned it into a vector image which simplified the shapes.  I saved that image as a tif file and then reopened it in Photoshop where I adjusted the colors.

The 2nd version, using the Mister Retro filter in Photoshop which added halftone dots.

The vector image version created in Illustrator and then adjusted in Photoshop.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My First Story for FarFaria

FarFaria is a recently launched storybook app for the iPad.  In early January I was contacted by one of their Art Directors who had seen my online portfolio on the SCBWI site.  To make a long story short, after a nice phone call from their CEO, I was hired to do illustrations for one of their projects. I began work on the story at the end of January and finished it about 5 weeks later.  The app was launched on February 14th and my first story, "The Magic Fish," was published last week.

After they sent me the manuscript, I was asked to do a series of thumbnail storyboard sketches plus a color sketch of the main characters.  Once these were approved, I proceeded with the final art.  For the final art, FarFaria provided me with a template and detailed instructions on how the art needed to be set-up for their app's layout.

Here is one of the thumbnail sketches and then a cleaned up version that I prepared for the final art.

Here is the sketch that I submitted to show the characters and my color scheme.  The first draft of the manuscript that I received had the fish changing color as the story progressed.  After some revisions, it was decided to have the fish remain the same color throughout. 

Below is the final version of the art that is shown in the sketches at the top.  I created the final art using Corel Painter 11. This scene takes place after the fisherman has returned for the second time to ask the Magic Fish for a favor for his greedy wife. Each time he returns to the fish, the sea and the winds have gotten rougher.

The top image shows the illustration with the template turned on.  The shaded area around the edges is a padding area which is like the 'bleed' area for a printed page.  the white space in the lower half of the image is where the text will be dropped in.  The main part of the image needed to be visible in the upper half of the image above the white area and not be hidden by any of the shaded areas.  The bottom image shows the illustration with the template layers turned off.