Sunday, November 29, 2009

What's New

It's been an exciting month for JZ Artworks! The studio has finally been painted! I absolutely love the new atmosphere of my workspace. Previously, the room was completely a pinky-beige color (from the trim, to the walls to the ceiling....) Now, the walls are a beautiful light lilac color, with a deeper grape color under the chair-rail. The walls are light enough not to affect the colors of any paintings-in-process, but still feels calm and creative.

Also this month I decided that it was time to begin to learn to create my artwork digitally. Now, I have no plans on saying "goodbye" to watercolor, but I do want to make sure that my skill set does not become obsolete in the future. Technology is not going away, and I was to make sure that my style is adaptable so that I can stay competitive in this industry. So, JZ Artworks bought me an early Christmas gift: a Wacom Cintiq. My previous tablet was old and very small, and was cramping my hands with prolonged use. When I priced the size tablet that I wanted, it was about the same price the coveted Cintiq, so financially, it made sense to get the better tablet. All I can say is that this is a very powerful tool. It takes come getting used to, but I really enjoy being able to draw directly on the screen. I've experimented with some brushes and have been gravitating to a few favorites. I am a long way from being able to call myself a true professional digital artist, but I am feeling pretty good about how my experiments are going. Also, editing my traditional artwork in Photoshop has become easier due to this tool.

Here are some of my experiments:
This first image is a close up of a section of a watercolor illustration I have done.
This next image is that same sketch, but with the girl and the dog colored digitally (the background is obviously not complete).Currently, I feel that my traditional work has more energy in the color, but I do like how clean the details of the digital experiment are turning out, especially around the eyes and in the hair. Your opinions are of course welcome! Well, I have several projects in the works right now, so I have to get back to my art desk. Happy Thanksgiving weekend, everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Katie Kate Cancer Picturebook Complete

Hi Everyone!
I just got the good news that the artwork that I have done for the "Katie Kate Explains Cancer" picture book is approved! I am so glad that the client enjoyed the artwork. I do not yet know the final title or the release date for this book, but will post that information when I know more.

One of the elements that I really tried to focus on in this project was unity of color. Sometimes it is easy to fall into the trap of simply shading objects with darker versions of their base color (like adding a dark red shadow to a red vase, for example). With this book, I tried to work a little more transparently that I normally do, to create new colors through layering. I found that I enjoy creating dimension through this process, but that it is challenging and involves a little bit of courage! Well, I at lease found it scary at first to shade light green walls with the magenta from Katie's cape! The result, I feel, are pages with more color unity. This technique also creates a softness that I feel is not present in some of my other work. Given the subject matter of this book, I feel that this is was appropriate.
For those who do not know what the book is about, the story centers on a young girl named Suzy who is diagnosed with cancer. At first, she is nervous and very confused about what this means for her. However, The Great Katie Kate (the hospital's on-call superhero) takes Suzy around the hospital to explain the different steps of cancer treatment, and to introduce her to other cancer patients her age. All the while, the Worry Wombat (a large wombat who has been conjured by Suzy's fears), gets smaller and smaller as Suzy becomes more and more empowered to understand her condition.

It is coincidental that even though I had nothing to do with the writing of this book, both my sister and the flower girl at my wedding were both diagnosed with cancer, and both are/were named Katie. Both have beaten the disease, though in different ways. If I get to include a dedication with this book, it will be to them.