Monday, May 2, 2011

New Digital Art

Throughout my career as a children’s book illustrator, I have worked in a traditional style with acrylics on Strathmore Bristol Board. Over the last five years I’ve been mixing mediums by enhancing traditionally painted art with Photoshop techniques. Recently I completed a number of projects that were painted entirely in Photoshop.

After reading about a great digital painting class on Marion Eldridge’s blog NEW ART NEWS, I signed up to take an online class that would help me with a new sketch for Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

In the spring, I took Will Terry’s Digital Painting and Photoshop Course. After completing his class I was able to get more of my traditional painting style into digital artwork . Will demonstrates his process for painting with layers and the use of textured brushes you create. I learned how to use layers and much more from Will’s series. Below is the first illustration I finished after the class. The possibilities with digital media are endless!

©2011sharonvargo -Goldilocks with Papa Bear's Bowl
Regardless of the painting technique, my creative process has remained the same and my first step is to begin with thumbnail sketches. Thumbnail sketches are reduced versions of the images. I use these little 'chicken-scratches' to work out everything from composition, character, colors and even text placement.
From the thumbnails, I selected the two spreads to illustrate and then move to a full size sketches.

I scanned the drawing and painted it in Photoshop using a Wacom Cintiq. The Cintiq is a tablet/screen that allows me to draw directly on the display surface.

On this spread Goldilocks is testing the hot porridge in Papa's bowl and tasting the cold porridge in Mama bears bowl. With Photoshop the art is still workable in the final stages. I added a larger chair and Papa bears glasses (not in the sketch) to illustrate the difference in size between Papa bear and Goldilocks. I connected the two single page illustrations by showing the table from the same vantage point. This perspective also allows me to feature the difference in size from Papa and Mama bear's chairs.

©2011sharonvargo Goldilocks with Papa and Mama Bear bowl
Here is pages 30 and 31 ... Goldilocks ran down the stairs, opened the door, and ran away into the forest.
©2011sharonvargo Goldilocks and the Three Bears

I'm starting sketches for another project today and will post more of my adventures in
Photoshop soon!


Sharon Lane Holm said...

wow! it looks great! wonderful art-love it!! how is it going? yuk here.

dj said...

Looks wonderful!

June said...

What a treat to see your process from thumbnail scribble to final art, and digital art at that! Well done... I am going to have to try and catch up with all these digital PBAAers!

Nathan said...

You're using a Cintiq??! Wanna be my new best friend? Hey, Mazza contacted me and mentioned the studio-sharing, so it sounded like it was OK with them. Are you planning on the Illustrators' party this year? Not sure if I can swing it, once again. And, I spoke to teachers at Book Power Institute, Children's Museum. Someone asked how a traditional illustrator shows the art director his/her progress along the way and I was stumped, other than shooting a digital pic. I said I'd ask one of my traditional illustrator friends (but, you're digital now too!)

Sharon Vargo said...

Yes, love the cintiq... not sure how you would work digitally with out one. You need to come see it!
Great, I hear we will have 45 people on the Mazza tour. Going to Highlights, got my tickets for the party last week. Will email you on showing digital steps. ~s

Susan Miller said...

Really terrific Sharon, I really enjoyed Will Terrys tutorials also and have been dabbling with photoshop, I am also going to the Highlights party and am looking forward to seeing you there.