Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thumbnail Art

No, I'm not talking about...


I'm talking about...

Thumbnails are tiny drawings artists use to help plan an illustration or book before they get into the nitty gritty. Here are two sets that I made for the Snow-white eBook project (see other art for it here) that I have in the works.

As you can see they are scribble-y,  small, and quick. With these I can see the whole book at a glance and know if one page or a group of pages is going to work. Some of them it might be obvious what is happening in the picture some of them might only make sense to me.

Here I am trying to decide first of all which way I want to orient my book. Landscape or portrait?

After I decide I'll go in and refine a lot of the scribbles until I have compositions for each picture that are awesome (hopefully) and work with the whole story. Then I start on sketches for "real".

What do you guys think should I go with landscape or portrait?

Love this art? Buy Prints or Cards and Gifts illustrated by Manelle.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kitten and other ways to be productive.

We just adopted a kitten.

She's cute and sometimes tries to clean my face while I'm asleep. I'm also more productive because of her.

Recipe: Ways to be more productive with your art
Materials needed:
1. Self control
2. Kitten  (can substitute bum glue)
3. Freedom

Step 1: Use three or more scoops of self control and face the silence.
Sometimes when I sit down to create art I am afraid of thinking. Sometimes I do everything I can to block out the silence. (and not I am not talking about those crazy aliens on Dr Who) This is the silence where my mind can think of awesome new stuff. The place in your brain that takes a little work and some quiet to get to.

But it's hard to to get there. It's easier to turn on Netflix or hulu and "listen" to movies while I make good enough stuff from my surface ideas.

When I turn off the noise all together, or turn on some good think-to-able music, then sit and work, I have more ideas, get more done in less time, and feel more refreshed when I'm done.

It's Great! But only after I get past the noise.

Suppose you don't have that many scoops of self control. Don't worry I highly reccommend getting your Freedom this way.

Freedom is software that you can use to block yourself from the internet. Just pick the  amount of time you want to make yourself work and tell it to go. Then when you would normally choose to take a little break check twitter, or browse Facebook and play bejeweled blitz etc, you can't. "Oh well", you say, "I guess I'll just keep sitting with this silence until something happens."

Sometimes I use it. Sometimes I just found self control at Sam's Club in bulk and have plenty of it. 

Step 2: Put the cat to bed
(if you are allergic or for some unknown reason don't like cats, bum glue will also work for this step. Please follow package directions.)

We got a kitten. She likes to sleep in my lap while I work. When she is asleep there I have to keep on sitting. I can't get up and eat, nap, go to the restroom, check the mail, read, go to the library, check facebook or twitter or my email, I just have to sit, and draw and think.

Kitten Variation:
We got a kitten. She likes to run around on my desk and chew my erasers, chase my pencils, and eat my snacks, while I work.

Because I this I have to keep my work area cleaner than I normally do and I can't distract myself from the silence with food as easily. In fact I usually end up hiding my trail mix, or chocolate chips from the cat and forgetting all about them. And a cleaner work space is just well... easier to work in. So it's a possibility I'll get more done AND loose some weight.

Who knew a kitten could do so much for your life. Who knew. (probably people who own cats I guess)

Love this art? Buy Prints or Cards and Gifts illustrated by Manelle.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why NOT to steal ideas.

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post about being inspired by other artists. Something I love to do. This week I'm going to tell you how it can sometimes be taken too far.

A couple days ago I came across this video interview with Iain McCaig. A very amazing illustrator and concept artist. It's kinda long but I highly recommend watching it all.

One part that really got me thinking was when he talked about taking books with illustrations by his heroes and putting them away. It is at about 8:30 on the video.

When I watched this video I was working on some dwarf character designs for a Snow-white eBook. It was being a real struggle and I just wasn't making headway.  I saw the video and realized I was guilty of exactly what he was describing. I had various books around me with drawing of dwarves by other people and was checking them out for ideas about clothes or beards, or gesture, etc. But I wasn't having any fun. (and BTW fun is the whole point of drawing a fairy tale eBook)

After watching the video I put the books away and have tried to be super conscious not to have anything like that in front of me while I am drawing. It's been a freeing experience.

I still love looking at great art I'm just not going to to it while I'm drawing any more.

Here are a couple of the drawings I did. They are not yet the finished designs but they feel more alive than my first attempts.

Love this art? Buy Prints or Cards and Gifts illustrated by Manelle.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Last of the Giveaway Winners

The winner of last week's giveaway is...
... Stephen!
(winner was chosen completely at random by drawing numbers from a bowl)

Thanks for your participation Everyone! Especially those of you who tried over and over and didn't win. I was routing for you but kept things random.

I'm sure I'll have more giveaways later but that's all for now.  Don't forget to check out other Prints and Cards and Gifts in my shops.

Love this art? Buy Prints or Cards and Gifts illustrated by Manelle.


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