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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Illustrating => Topic started by: plume on August 19, 2011, 01:51 PM

Title: Children's Book Art
Post by: plume on August 19, 2011, 01:51 PM
Those  of you who do children's book art, especially those who are published, what do you use for your art as far as pens, pencils, ink, paints etc.? What do you prefer to work with and what brand supplies do you use? Do you use different tools to outline and to color? If so, what are they?
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Wendy Martin on August 19, 2011, 05:40 PM
There are as many answers to this as there are illustrators. I've seen books illustrated by traditional 2-D media, 3-D media and digital images. Some incorporate all three or a combination of art and photo. I've seen collage with paper, fabric and quilting.

My personal media is a combination of traditional watercolor and digital drawing.

My advice to an artist starting out is to to use the best quality materials you can. From pencil, to paintbrush, to paint or paper, to digital tools and programs. It makes a huge difference on end product and frustration factor.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Artemesia on August 19, 2011, 06:15 PM
I agree with Lyon's answer. Art is pretty personal, and even among people who use the same medium, you'll find a variety of answers.

I use permanent ink wash/line and watercolor on watercolor paper. I have a lot of different brands of watercolors, but they are all artists' quality. I've tried the expensive 300 lb Italian rag paper, but I find 150 lb works better for what I do.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: maxi on August 21, 2011, 11:32 AM
I use whatever I can get my hands on...

At the moment my work is primarily digital but I do like to work in watercolours, acrylic and ink. I used to scan work into the PC before working it up but now I work directly in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet. I was experimenting with MS Paint a few days ago...I wanted to see how my method translated from high end to basic graphics software.

Experimentation is really important - whether it be with your style,pens, subject matter - never be too busy for it x
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: NinjaWoman on August 21, 2011, 03:02 PM
I work with cut paper collage and anything is fair game.  I might buy expensive origami paper to make a kimono or I might use the interior of a security envelope.  (Some of those have COOL designs.)  I use a few different glues depending on what I'm laying down: Elmer's - hard core spray adhesive. 

I sometimes paint my own papers.  When I do this, I usually use Arches watercolor paper (weight and texture depends on what I'm going for) and I LOVE Holbein watercolors.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Enigmainthemist on August 21, 2011, 04:29 PM
Ninja Woman that is cool. I like art that uses paper like that. Do you have a website to show your artwork off?

I love to use Adobe Illustrator. It took some time to get use to after working with Adobe Phostshop for so many years.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Simon_Turnbull on August 21, 2011, 08:57 PM
As said, there are as many different answers to this as there are artists. The most common traditional materials for workhorse illustrators are good old ink line and watercolor. Hard to go wrong there, if you know what you're doing. Artists who are more production and mass market oriented will usually be digital painters, as you can mimic a wide variety of styles, and be very flexible to revisions.

Everything is good fun though, just get some materials and start trying them out. Even though you will definitely have to upgrade to artist quality supplies, I think it is best to start with student grades. That way you can find if you like a medium and can produce acceptable results.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Artemesia on August 21, 2011, 09:29 PM
The most common traditional materials for workhorse illustrators are good old ink line and watercolor.


so I should consider myself a workhorse? Awesome. lol  :horse:
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on August 21, 2011, 10:10 PM
I used to primarily use colored pencil with a tiny bit of digital. BTW, Prismacolors are THE best. When I first decided to try using colored pencils, I went for them first-off and was spoiled from the getgo. I tried others as they were a littlle easier on the pocket book . . . but then went back.

Then this workhorse of an illustrator and another workhorse friend (who uses digital but produces a heckuvalot) convinced me to try water color washes under my pencils. I got some watercolors . . . good ones . . . and some good brushes too. They sat for a couple weeks. Then I considered the similarities between rendering with the Prismacolors and watercolors . . . there are quite a bit, with light source and opacity to name a couple. So I tried them. Working with both mediums is making my time with the art all the more fun and timesaving. If something is drastically wrong, I can fix it in Photoshop, for the most part.

Most of the illustrators I know use digital, if not for rendering their entire scenes, it's used for enhancements and clean-up.

Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Artemesia on August 21, 2011, 10:21 PM

*guilty workhorse illustrator* Hi Cyn!

I don't use digital for my finished artwork, but I use it to play around with my sketches sometimes if I want to change the composition a bit, then print it off and use a lightbox to trace it.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Cpm on August 22, 2011, 05:02 AM
When it comes to materials, it's all about finding your style. Very similar to a writer finding their voice. Experiment, then experiment some more.  Try everything until you find something that makes you happy and allows you to sink into the creative groove.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: NinjaWoman on August 22, 2011, 05:32 AM


Enigmainthemist,

Thanks.  My webpage is www.jcphillipps.com.  There is a gallery there.  Or, I always post new work on my blog, www.blogspot.ninjawoman.com.  Click on the "art" or "picture book" subjects.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Enigmainthemist on August 22, 2011, 09:47 AM
NinjaWoman
Your work is wonderful. I love how you use everyday things like news paper in your art work.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Artemesia on August 22, 2011, 11:01 AM
When it comes to materials, it's all about finding your style. Very similar to a writer finding their voice. Experiment, then experiment some more.  Try everything until you find something that makes you happy and allows you to sink into the creative groove.

totally agree. I tired a lot of different mediums, and was never really satisfied with the results. But when I tried what I'm working with now, it was almost like a revelation. It felt right, I really enjoyed the process and I was finally producing work that made me happy.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: NinjaWoman on August 23, 2011, 03:25 AM
NinjaWoman
Your work is wonderful. I love how you use everyday things like news paper in your art work.

Thanks.  Sometimes being a cheap-wad is a virtue.  :)
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Wonky on August 23, 2011, 04:14 AM
Shaprie pens, then scan and go nuts digitally.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Simon_Turnbull on August 23, 2011, 10:55 PM
I don't know, most work I see that is done with sharpies has a peculiar cheapness to the lines that I find very disagreeable. It really lacks the refined elegance of a pen or brush work. I've seen some good sharpie work done with expressive and scratchy lines but that takes a very confident hand and an artist who is a very good mark maker.

  They are good  for development and presentation work, since the idea is just to present a visual idea and the finish is less important.  Sharpie work is immediately obvious and I wouldn't be brave enough to turn in art for publication done with them.  :jail
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Artemesia on August 24, 2011, 10:33 AM
Ouch, Simon.  :bandaid
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Wonky on August 24, 2011, 05:50 PM
I don't know, most work I see that is done with sharpies has a peculiar cheapness to the lines that I find very disagreeable. It really lacks the refined elegance of a pen or brush work. I've seen some good sharpie work done with expressive and scratchy lines but that takes a very confident hand and an artist who is a very good mark maker.

  They are good  for development and presentation work, since the idea is just to present a visual idea and the finish is less important.  Sharpie work is immediately obvious and I wouldn't be brave enough to turn in art for publication done with them.  :jail

I guess you don't like my avatar then...  :taz:
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Enigmainthemist on August 24, 2011, 10:35 PM
I have seen some cool looking are done with sharpies.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on August 25, 2011, 06:13 AM
And there's some really cool stuff that's been done using an Etch-A-Sketch. http://www.gvetchedintime.com/gvetchedintime/gallery.php
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: SYoon on August 25, 2011, 04:47 PM
It's not what you use,... it's how you use it.

Could a simple wooden pencil somehow be made into amazing art? Impossible, right? Think again:

http://inhabitat.com/static/2010-08-06-amazing-miniature.html

Wonky.... cute avatar! And doesn't Maggie Stiefvater do amazing things with the sharpie on her guitar?

ETA: Cyn: I own a Etch a Sketch... and those are just amazing. I'd love to see it done in fast motion on video. It almost doesn't seem possible, but I'm sure it is. I know these aren't fakes.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Artemesia on August 25, 2011, 05:19 PM
Salina, Maggie's sharpied guitars are amazing!! So intricate! I saw pics on her facebook page.

I like your avatar, too, Wonky! And I can see that style being perfect for a lot of types of books, illustrated MGs totally springing to mind. (I have those on the brain right now I think, I SO want to do an illustrated MG)
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: MysteryRobin on August 25, 2011, 05:24 PM
And you would ROCK an illustrated MG, Arty!!!  :hairdude
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Artemesia on August 25, 2011, 05:42 PM
*blush* aw, thanks dude!!!   :love
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Wonky on August 25, 2011, 06:47 PM

Wonky.... cute avatar! And doesn't Maggie Stiefvater do amazing things with the sharpie on her guitar?

Thanks! You know, I saw one of your books in an English-language bookstore here in Tokyo. I think it's the only blueboarder book I've seen on sale here.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Wonky on August 25, 2011, 06:51 PM
I like your avatar, too, Wonky! And I can see that style being perfect for a lot of types of books, illustrated MGs totally springing to mind. (I have those on the brain right now I think, I SO want to do an illustrated MG)

Thanks, the pic is actually from the character sheet of the MC of my MG book. If the book gets picked up I'm hoping to illustrate it, too.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Artemesia on August 25, 2011, 07:07 PM
Thanks, the pic is actually from the character sheet of the MC of my MG book. If the book gets picked up I'm hoping to illustrate it, too.

*feeling smug for totally calling that one*  :moose

that's awesome!! I love illustrated MG's.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Wonky on August 25, 2011, 08:18 PM
*feeling smug for totally calling that one*  :moose

that's awesome!! I love illustrated MG's.

Hey, I'm glad it's clear what my art style is targeted for.

Lately my wife has been teasing me and saying all my characters look like sock puppets!
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on August 26, 2011, 06:50 AM
It's not what you use,... it's how you use it.


ETA: Cyn: I own a Etch a Sketch... and those are just amazing. I'd love to see it done in fast motion on video. It almost doesn't seem possible, but I'm sure it is. I know these aren't fakes.

Ask and you shall receive . . . but somehow I think you knew. :flower

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYM__s3R5q0
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Artemesia on August 26, 2011, 08:13 AM
Hey, I'm glad it's clear what my art style is targeted for.

Lately my wife has been teasing me and saying all my characters look like sock puppets!

LOL What's she got against sock puppets?? Sock puppets are awesome...
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: SYoon on August 26, 2011, 09:16 AM
Ask and you shall receive . . . but somehow I think you knew. :flower

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYM__s3R5q0

Man... that's just NUTTY!!! I see it, but it's still hard to believe! How did he do that shading? And he made that ball so round! Impressive skilz!

Wonky--- yay! Seems I've gone international! Thanks for noticing!
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Simon_Turnbull on August 28, 2011, 08:59 PM
Sorry, it wasn't my intention to be rude. I'm just saying a thing is a thing.

In my opinion an artist is  going to rack up a big wad of rejections if they start submitting artwork done with cheap pens to publishers.

If you have to do that kind of linework, I recommend investing in a some quality inking tools: a set of technical pens and a good fountain pen at the least.  And tech pens (which are what artists used before ceramic tipped markers were invented) are much more environmentally friendly. Look after those things and you'll still have them when you retire.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Artemesia on August 28, 2011, 09:42 PM
I hear what you are saying, Simon, I use pen & ink myself, but I believe Wonky's end product is completely digital, so the actual "pen on paper" sketch isn't going to be submitted. For his purpose (interior MG illustrations) I think his technique is totally appropriate. I've seen a lot of interior MG illustrations that are meant to look like they were drawn with a marker or other readily available implement. Especially those that are meant to look like a character in the book drew them. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian all come to mind.

Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Wonky on August 29, 2011, 04:01 AM
I hear what you are saying, Simon, I use pen & ink myself, but I believe Wonky's end product is completely digital, so the actual "pen on paper" sketch isn't going to be submitted. For his purpose (interior MG illustrations) I think his technique is totally appropriate. I've seen a lot of interior MG illustrations that are meant to look like they were drawn with a marker or other readily available implement. Especially those that are meant to look like a character in the book drew them. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian all come to mind.



Thanks, yes, that's what I'm doing. I would never submit the raw line art to anyone...it does look pretty pathetic. I might as well just submit a photocopy of my pencil!!! I scan it, then enhance the lines, fix any boo-boos, add shading, etc all digitally. And like Artemesia says this is line art for an MG book. If I were doing full-collor illos for a PB I'd use a completely different technique.

And I have had my work using this style published - as newspaper/magazine comic strips. When I was in high school it was my ambition to become the next Berkeley Brethed!
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: christripp on October 01, 2011, 04:16 AM
For published  work I often used not sharpies per say but pigment liners ( thin ) as outline over a very watered down acrylic. Most of the book work was outlined with either, black or sepia colour pencil. These days I work exclusively on a Wacom Cintiq for books and other illustration projects. I LOVE it!:)
In fact, a month ago I packed and stored in the closet all my paints, watercolor paper and brushes. Haven't touched them for over a year now, the studio is certainly tidier!
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Debbie Ridpath Ohi on October 10, 2011, 01:52 PM
I work entirely digitally.

When I began illustrating I'M BORED, I was using Corel Painter. Then I discovered (duh) that Painter didn't handle CMYK and the crashiness of the newest version made me nervous, so I used Lynda.com to learn Photoshop CS5 and made the switch, haven't looked back.

Debbie
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Steve Feldman on October 16, 2011, 11:15 AM
Debbie, your post makes me feel a lot better. This year I made the big switch and every job I have done has been done digitally. For some reason I had the idea that Painter was the ultimate and ultimately necessary program for the digital illustrator. Very happy to put that idea to rest and stick with Photoshop!

Christine, I still haven't packed away my traditional tools that I used professionally for 25 years. That seems way too sad to not have those long time trusted friends out and ready at any moment.   
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: christripp on October 21, 2011, 02:54 AM
Steve, I had the same idea, that painter would be necessary to really be effective with the Wacom. Wow Debbie, so glad you posted about lynda.com.
Did you sign up? The tutorials look fantastic.
Steve, putting away my old paints and brushes really didn't hurt, after all, the stylus and monitor are just replacements, like buying a new brush or using a clean sheet of paper ( it's all in our minds:)
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Steve Feldman on October 21, 2011, 08:05 PM
I've actually used Lynda.com a few times. Years ago I purchased a vhs tape that was very helpful. Then several times they sent me "24hr free passes" to lynda.com which was very informative. I will probably use their services again as I make the switch from GoLive to Dreamweaver.

Christine, do you still draw traditionally and scan in or do you draw initially directly onto your tablet? I am comfortable re-drawing or correcting on the tablet but can't seem to yet muster the same creativity starting a drawing on a blank tablet.
Maybe I am a little sentimental about the old tools, but still need them anyway for my fine art, when I get the time to get back to it.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: christripp on October 22, 2011, 01:06 AM
Steve, from pencil sketch to finish it's all on the Cintiq. It's such a natural tool that once into sketching I have found myself, after flipping the "pencil" over to erase, whipping away  nonexistant eraser crumbs as a matter of habit, ha:)
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Steve Feldman on October 23, 2011, 08:39 AM
Christine, the ability to eliminate scanning altogether is very appealing. As I progress that may happen. I'm still really happy working on the Intuos 4 right now, but it seems wise these days to always be prepared to "move up" in technology, so I'll keep the cintiq in mind.  
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Jeff Smith on November 18, 2011, 02:09 PM
I use it all. Coming from a 15 year graffiti artist background, I have learned to use everything. In my book Th Boy Who Wouldn't Sit Still! I used mainly acrylics and Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator RULES! The process I used was to first hand paint the backgrounds. I would then scan them and import the images into Illustrator and create vector art on top of the paintings. My characters and detailed scenes were hand drawn and then recreated in Illustrator.

Each artist is going to use what they feel is the most effective approach to showcasing their art. I have been seeing a few children's books lately with photographs and illustrations on top of the photos. At first I didn't like this and then I thought about why I didn't like it. IT IS BECAUSE I DIDN'T THINK OF THIS FIRST.

Wonky I like your sharpie art. Keep it real and stay with what you are comfortable with.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Gregor on November 19, 2011, 02:14 AM
Acrylic paint on 140 lb cold pressed watercolor paper... pretty basic.
Title: Re: Children's Book Art
Post by: Wonky on November 19, 2011, 03:56 PM
Wonky I like your sharpie art. Keep it real and stay with what you are comfortable with.

Thanks. I've never illustrated a book but I've gotten comics published and been paid for them! (My first big writing ambition was to be a newspaper comic strip writer.)

I may have to invest in Illustrator at some point...