I intend to probably be posting less on here this month because I’ll be working on my book – but I came up with a plan that’s kinda brilliant.

I’m transferring all my draft illustrations to watercolor paper first, and getting them *all* outlined before I start painting, so I won’t face another hangup like I did in the fall because of the more daunting pieces.

Today was sort of face-palmy. It’s cold, snowy, and I lost my pencil sharpener for several hours so it took *a lot* longer than it should have to transfer the drafts to the other paper because of all of the erasing from un-sharp pencils.

Also, my arms are killing me because I walked the groceries and a pair of boots home last night after I parked the car in the parking garage about 5 blocks away in anticipation of the snow that started last night and won’t end till who-knows-when.

I have 6 illustrations transferred, started with the most complicated and worked my way down. I’m saving 5 for tomorrow because 1) I’m tired and so are my arms and 2) to give my arms more time to be less achey before I pick up a brush for several hours.

So that’s how it’s coming. They should all be transferred tomorrow and painting shouldn’t take too long, it might be a couple-weeks project instead of a month at this point, but I shouldn’t say that because I’m sure the bulk of it will be formatting and then making an ipad version with the new ibook author app that came out.

I’m facing a dilemma. I’m working on re-illustrating and I finally have all the drafts done. The problem is, the new James looks much different than the old James (two very different styles) and I’m not sure which style to go with. Obviously, James 2.0 will still be different from 1.0, but I’m wondering if I should bring it closer to 1.5 instead. Not sure, so today it’s open ended – which do you like better?

Original James

Draft James, 2.0You can comment here, or just like one of the pictures on Facebook.

In the meantime, I’ve been painting the non people scenes with acrylics on cold press paper. *love* it.

I ran out of eraser last week, so I couldn’t work on drafting my illustrations until I got more. So I got some on Saturday, and I picked up some colored pens, and a super-fine tip pen, and a 7 pack of canvases. ^.^

I realized something the other day – In film and in some books, the outlines are done in darker shades of the color used to fill in the object and black is used sparingly. For some reason I always registered it as a simple black outline and wondered why it didn’t look quite right until I realized there *are* outlines, but not in black, much. So I picked up a tan pen for skin tones and a blue and a red pen for the balloons, and a superfine black pen for other details. We’ll see how that goes, but I’m glad I think I figured that out. Maybe.

So, I’ll be getting back to illustrating this week (hopefully) now that I can put the desk back from filming this weekend ;)

Almost every night for the last couple weeks I’ve been working on the new illustrations for my book. This time around (almost exactly a year later) I’m doing it completely differently.

Last year, I sat down in my studio, with pencils and paint, and sketched and painted immediately. I didn’t really plan out what I wanted it all to look like and how coherent it was going to be. Which resulted in different sized pictures (I started out using only a little bit of the page and eventually used the whole thing) but they were generally coherent in style, though, possibly ill-conceived (gotta love retrospect). The varying sizes made it really hard to format, on top of the fact that I didn’t even know what size book I was creating. If I’d thought about it a little bit more, I think it would have resulted in less headaches.

So this time, I know what size the finished version will be, I have a proof copy and I’m using that as my guide. I’m planning out where the text is going to be in the image (if it’s going to be in there) and I haven’t touched paint. yet. I’m going through every single illustration in the book that I did originally and asking myself “how can I do this better?” , “how could I make this look more interesting?” , and “how could I reinvent this scene?

So far, there are a lot more balloons, less straight up people shots, and with the scenes that have people in them, I use the other pictures with the characters as a guide to make sure that they are as coherent as possible. I’m also taking shades and varying degrees of value into account in my sketches and going over anything I want to remember the value of in levels of shading.

draft illustration

We’ll see what I think a year from now, but at the moment I’m very happy with the progress and how much I’ve learned since last October. Interestingly, I’ve been implementing a lot of what I learned in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and that alone has been a huge difference.