Sunday, April 29, 2012

Off to Esalen

I am going to Esalen for a week-long painting retreat hosted by Stewart Cubley. You can learn about his retreats here:

Can't wait to show you the paintings and share how the workshop went. Until then, adieu!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Best Scanner for Watercolors

The Journey 
I was beginning to think that other artists used some kind of wizardry to get good images of their watercolor paintings.

It took a lot of research to find out which (reasonably priced) scanner would be best for watercolor paintings. Generally, the Epson Perfection series received good reviews from artists, so with some trepidation, I ordered the Epson Perfection v600.

And now for a comparison test. I hope this is helpful to anyone out there suffering from bad scanner syndrome.

The Comparison

    Epson Perfection v600

  • Colors are very close to original; minor Photoshop adjustments can create a match
  • Flat scanning causes very little gutter shadow
  • Consistent scan quality makes it easy to stitch together large paintings

      HP Photosmart (and other various scanners I tested) 
  • Lighter colors are washed out so scans are basically unusable,  even with Photoshop adjustments
  • Grainy quality
  • Just plain aggravating

  • Image is slightly warped due to lens curvature; this causes the edges to look ‘bent’ so you have to crop out some of the picture.
  • Hard to get good lighting
  • Colors need a lot of adjustment to look like the original; however, they are better than the HP scanner.

If you're looking for a good scanner, I recommend the Epson Perfection. I'm so happy with it that I will probably be up till 2 am re-scanning all of my work.  Hooray...

Update - if you're wondering what to do after you've scanned in your artwork to make it look more like the original, I just finished a tutorial. Click here to check it out!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Illustration Friday - Heights

Benny reached new heights on his trampoline... 

Last thanksgiving I got the chance to jump on a huge trampoline in my friend's back yard. I felt like a kid again... (Thanks, Julie! :) )

Watercolor Schemes

I am addicted to the design seeds web site,!

For the past few days I've been choosing one color scheme from the website per day and trying to match the colors in watercolor.  I recommend this kind of practice for anyone looking to improve color skills. It's challenging and rewarding.

In the process, I'm finding that a fairly consistent style is starting to come through. Judging by what I've learned in the past few months, this style is more of a fast "mass market" style than a "trade" picture book style. I think it will be helpful to develop two separate styles for these two publication types. What do you think?

erm... keep in mind that these photos were taken with an iphone.  In a week, I'll have my new Epson Perfection v600 scanner for much better quality images!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm So Excited...

Due to lay-offs, my current office job will be ending in two weeks.

What does that mean?  I get to spend the summer working on my illustration portfolio!  I am really excited...

Last month, I went the the SCBWI South San Francisco conference at Asilomar and got a portfolio review from the famous Dan Yaccarino.  He encouraged me to write my own stories and build my portfolio based on my own imaginative ideas.  

All of this being said, I've been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of planning, even some writing, but not a lot of artwork.  I am processing so much advice that I've needed some time to digest.  Now I feel on the verge of a creative explosion. I have a list of ideas, and my mind is filling up with colors, characters and stories.  Now I'm looking at a gazillion hours of time to do nothing but art....

Watch out, world!