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What's your preferred method of coloring your drawings for books?

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OddBerryCreations

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I am just curious as to what various methods everyone uses. I tend to be drawn to Photoshop and Illustrator depending on how I feel about the piece. Is it better to stick with method or to have a variety?  :duh
#1 - January 02, 2013, 09:25 AM

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I use Photoshop, and keep all my colors on different layers.

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#2 - January 17, 2013, 04:39 PM
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I use ink and watercolor on paper.

<---the cat also has colored pencil but I was experimenting with creating a crayon texture
#4 - January 18, 2013, 08:35 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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I've used Illustrator mostly... but choose based on what I think works best for the project. Here are some published examples of the different mediums I've used.

Illustrator only (for KALEIDOSCOPE/Little, Brown)
Photoshop only (for PENGUIN books/ Walker/Bloomsbury)
Gouache only (for WHO DO I SEE/Random House)
Graphite scans and Photoshop (COUNT MY BLESSINGS/Penguin)
Acrylics only (GOOD NIGHT LITTLE ONE/Scholastic)

So in my case, I actually do illustrate with a variety of mediums AND art styles.... but this is not recommended when starting out! Find an art style that fits YOU... and stick with it for a while before exploring other styles. The client or editor need to know what they can expect from you. If they see an inconsistency in your style, this could be a negative.

#5 - January 18, 2013, 08:46 AM

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Salina, I'm always impressed by how many mediums you have mastered. Which do you enjoy using the most?
#6 - January 19, 2013, 09:43 AM
Fur Balls & Feathers & Fins, Oh My! Animals Are My Kind of People
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Graphite drawing on watercolor paper, shade with graphite. Paint with watercolors, accent with colored pencils, scan, and add touches /correct with PS.
#7 - January 19, 2013, 12:12 PM
Fur Balls & Feathers & Fins, Oh My! Animals Are My Kind of People
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What's your preferred method of coloring your drawings?
I usually use Photoshop to color my client projects, mostly because it's faster to do revisions instead of (possibly) having to start from scratch if there's a major change.
I started out more traditionally (color pencils, watercolors, pen & ink).

Is it better to stick with one method or to have a variety?
Although I have a variety of methods mostly because of my in-house experiences, since I would prefer to focus on certain styles of illustration, I keep it limited (that's reflected in the style of the illustrations) to the ones I want to work with for a book project. I am up front about that method (whichever ever it is) from the beginning, too.

:)
#8 - January 19, 2013, 06:42 PM

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For many of the smaller Ed books, early on, it was ps with the mouse (ack! All I can say about that is Carpel Tunnel!) and some using watercolour.
In 2000 when I did a series for scholastic I didn't know anything about painting ( it shows too:) and I did all 16 of them with watercolour pencil on watercolour paper.
The trade books, Canadian publisher were very watered down acrylic.
Now I'm using ps and Cintiq exclusively.
#9 - January 20, 2013, 02:34 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

I've read this thread several times and have had a hard time trying to express my answer.

As a painter I use both watercolor and goauche (and colored pencil, ink, pastel if need be.

But I mostly work traditionally in collage/mixed media . Over the years I have collected literally hundreds of papers. I rummage through them and pick a palette and try to stay within that palette. If I am running low on something I get more paper or color photo copy what I have left. I am working on more samples of one of my stories at the moment and have to say that as meticulous as this is I really love it when it all comes together.

I plan to use PS for retouching and revising.

#10 - January 22, 2013, 06:10 AM
What's for pudding, Mimmy?

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I'd love to be able to say I use watercolor someday but for now it's photoshop.
#11 - January 22, 2013, 10:15 AM
http://alexschumacherart.com/
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In the children's book I illustrated called THE BOY WHO WOULDN'T SIT STILL! I used a combination of techniques.
I painted the backgrounds.
Worked on paintings in Photoshop.
Illustrated the scenes in Illustrator using my mouse.
I saved each page as a tiff in Photoshop.
I created book file in Indesign and plugged in the tiffs and added some additional text.
Then I saved it all as a multi-page PDF and sent to a printer.

The characters I created were from a process of many sketches. The sketches were scanned and outlined in Illustrator.
#12 - January 22, 2013, 03:30 PM

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Jeff, sounds like you did way more then illustrate, you basically layed the whole book out ready to print. I hear so much about indesign, but another learning curve freaks this old lady out:) not that I'm interested in the graphic designers side of this business but indesign would be great for dummies I've heard.
#13 - January 24, 2013, 12:56 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

No book yet, but here's my ever-evolving coloring method:

Sketches: some combination of sketchbook, tracing paper, photoshop/indesign for layout adjustments.

Digital: photoshop. Layering technique is still a work in progress.

Traditional: base color either gouache or marker, then details and rendering added as needed with colored pencil, marker, ink, white gel pen, spray bottle, and most recently, cut paper. You can also call this the Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink method. ;)

Christiripp- InDesign is GREAT for this. If you know Illustrator, InDesign is not a huge leap. Main differences to me are multiple pages and less vector-based functionality. Oh, and you can't warp type like you can in illustrator.
#14 - March 10, 2013, 12:05 AM

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Thanks to those who have posted in this thread; I love hearing about how other illustrators work.

An update to my own answer: I did the early character sketches and some of the thumbnail sketches for my current book project (NAKED! written by Michael Ian Black, coming out from Simon & Schuster BFYR in Summer 2014) on typewriter paper with pen and pencil. Some character sketches on the iPad using Sketchbook Pro.

Then I switched to digital using Photoshop.

Someday I hope to master some more traditional art techniques, but I'm not sure if:

(1) I'd have enough storage space in my Basement Cave (plus there is zero ventilation so would probably end up asphyxiating myself with certain types of materials!)

(2) I'd be able to work as quickly. I received the final manuscript for the book at the beginning of January, and I've done about three rounds of art so far (doing 10-20 versions of some drawings for any one round, until I'm happy). Final art and cover due next month.

I guess it depends on your process, though. I tend to redraw a LOT. If I was using physical materials, I'd be going through a ton of paper and paint. Plus the asphyxiation things, of course. :-)

I am in awe of those of you who work entirely traditionally and still meet deadlines!

Debbie
#15 - April 26, 2013, 09:03 PM
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This is a strange co incidence, but I, like Debbie, want to update my answer too. I'm still using PS and the cintiq monitor but ... I am now doing all colouring, shading, highlighting on one layer. I'm still not great at using them but I love working with the mixer brushes and blending. It feels,seems so much like using real paints, in that it won't be perfect , though I wish I could find a way to make the paints "bleed" into each other or off the page, as watercolour on paper does. I do use a second layer for the outline work. Working this way, it's still not that hard to change a colour somewhere in the work, if an AD requests it but.... it will not be such a simple task, to move a character or an item, with all being on one layer.  I'm letting those I work with know how I'm painting the final. Be VERY sure from the roughs that it's all working... cause it will be a pain to change later (though still so much better then traditional art and moving that dog from right side of page to the left:)
#16 - April 27, 2013, 03:18 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

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Thanks to those who have posted in this thread; I love hearing about how other illustrators work.

An update to my own answer: I did the early character sketches and some of the thumbnail sketches for my current book project (NAKED! written by Michael Ian Black, coming out from Simon & Schuster BFYR in Summer 2014) on typewriter paper with pen and pencil. Some character sketches on the iPad using Sketchbook Pro.
Debbie

Debbie, which stylus do you use? Ive struggled to find one I like. Thanks!
#17 - April 27, 2013, 04:22 AM

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I use a combination of pencil, Illustrator, Photoshop, watercolor, color pencil and printer. Here's the blog post I made showing my process. http://www.wendymartinillustration.com/process/
#18 - April 27, 2013, 10:08 AM
patreon.com/wendymartin
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (Piñata)
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Wendy, speaking as a non-artist but with some familiarity with graphic design from PR work...WOW. Terrific blog post. I learned a lot about the process. Thanks for posting it!
#19 - April 27, 2013, 11:27 AM

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Wendy, speaking as a non-artist but with some familiarity with graphic design from PR work...WOW. Terrific blog post. I learned a lot about the process. Thanks for posting it!

Thanks for reading! :)
#20 - April 27, 2013, 08:08 PM
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Debbie, which stylus do you use? Ive struggled to find one I like. Thanks!

I use the stylus that came with my Wacom Intuos 5 tablet.

Debbie
#21 - April 28, 2013, 01:07 PM
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Just thought I'd add this to the thread. I have just recently become "addicted" to Illustrator Mike Boldt! He's cute, he's Canadian, what more could you ask for you say??? Well....he is, in my most HUMBLE opinion, amazingly talented too:)
I love watching his process for painting. I just wish there was a slow motion and stop action button on it, so I could see every second of his process (but I suppose that would be cheating?) I think he could make some seriously nice spending money by making and selling "how I create" video's. I would CERTAINLY buy them. But, perhaps we all want to keep certain tips and tricks and tweaks to ourselves:)
Anyway, I only know he uses Painter (choosing pastel medium in Painter, I believe he said)
Enjoy!
http://vimeo.com/39227381
#22 - June 01, 2013, 01:33 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

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He's cute, he's Canadian, what more could you ask for you say???

 :giggle Well, we Canadians *are* awesome. And yes, his work is fabulous!  :moose
#23 - June 01, 2013, 08:52 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
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You know, I've been thinking a lot lately...you used to be able to distinguish digital art styles from traditional, but there is no easy way to tell any more. I still use ink and watercolor. No digital at all. It takes a long time. I have friends who work digitally that can work much faster than I can, even though I think I paint like the wind. I go into a fair bit of detail, so it's time consuming. I learned Illustrator years ago when I did graphic design, but it's been over 10 years since I created any digital artwork, and I only own Photoshop at the moment, so if I wanted to learn, I don't even know where to start. As more and more illustrators switch to digital, it feels like traditional artists are becoming extinct. Even most of the traditional artists I know alter their work in PS after. I feel old-fashioned, dagnabbit! I'd love to learn some digital art methods, but at the same time, I love painting by hand.
#24 - June 01, 2013, 09:02 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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You know, I've been thinking a lot lately...you used to be able to distinguish digital art styles from traditional, but there is no easy way to tell any more. I still use ink and watercolor. No digital at all. It takes a long time. I have friends who work digitally that can work much faster than I can, even though I think I paint like the wind. I go into a fair bit of detail, so it's time consuming. I learned Illustrator years ago when I did graphic design, but it's been over 10 years since I created any digital artwork, and I only own Photoshop at the moment, so if I wanted to learn, I don't even know where to start. As more and more illustrators switch to digital, it feels like traditional artists are becoming extinct. Even most of the traditional artists I know alter their work in PS after. I feel old-fashioned, dagnabbit! I'd love to learn some digital art methods, but at the same time, I love painting by hand.


Your eyes will show their gratitude when you're older. Working on paper is so much easier on them. And you might be saving the planet a little too, by not having your computer plugged in the whole time you work?! *clutches at another straw*
#25 - June 01, 2013, 03:06 PM

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I just went to a workshop with a powerpoint presentation by an AD. 'Which is digital?, Which is traditional?, Which Is combined? Some were easy, but with  many of the illos, it was difficult to determine. Funny, one of them was supposed to be all traditional, but there was a blur under the text as the background was dark and someone pointed out that made it mixed. Caught.

Keep rockin' those trad's Artie! The originals may fetch a bajillion dollars one day.
#26 - June 01, 2013, 06:35 PM
Fur Balls & Feathers & Fins, Oh My! Animals Are My Kind of People
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OK Franzilla, that IS clutching (and with a reach:) Are you saying to unplug your computer, hahaha:)
I'm worried that your right about the eyes though, but what can ya do, once hooked on drawing on a monitor, the dirty deed is done. Though, I can remember after a long day of painting on white paper, with my light shining right on it to get details done, the glare would make my eyes feel more tired then they do now, after working for the whole day on the Cintiq.
It does seem that Illustration for publishing is going the way of digital. Even if the Illustrator works in more traditional methods, the expectation is for the artist to turn in digital files of it at the end of the project. One more job for us, with no extra compensation but a nice cost savings for the publishers I'm sure.
An AD with Penguin tweeted that about 98% of the Illustration they use is digital. Now, that still included work done on paper but sent to them as files, no original art to them. So, the percentage of work wholly created on a tablet/cintiq was not broken down but I'm going to take a guess that it's at least 1/2 of that 98%
Like you say Artie, there is really no way of telling the difference anymore, other then the real neon, flat, overshaded computer stuff and that opps caught at Cynthia's workshop (that presentation sounds very cool:)

I have to say though, I'm not finding working on the cintiq saves any time in the painting. In fact, as I work and learn more about using mixer brushes, I am doing MORE detail and shading and blending. Where once I would apply watercolour/acrylics and it was pretty much "it is what it is"... now I keep working on a section and working it and working it. Perhaps as I continue on, I will get faster but I know for a fact a spread I just finished for a Scholastic project just took me twice as much time digitally as it would have on paper. Now, considering the changes requested during the colouring stage... the computer won hands down in time savings (and pulling out hair savings:)  I would have had to start the blessed thing over at least 3 times if it was paper and paint:o(
I do have a suspicion though that BECAUSE it's so possible to correct a digital Illustration, more requests for changes are being made to colour finishes then before. I almost NEVER had to alter a final's colours. Now, it's often requested.
Artie, I'm learning through trial and a lot of error and watching other digital Illustrators process videos. Lynda.com is something I still haven't signed up for but they do have some free tutorials to view prior to paying for the courses. I learned so much just from those few that I know I should pay for a few months of classes at least.
I see they are going to offer a class on using the cintiq too and maybe after 2 years of having a cintiq, I'll finally learn how to program all those buttons:)



#27 - June 02, 2013, 02:56 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

I'd learned quite a number of media while at school, but the one that I ended up settling into is a combination of traditional and digital. I never could kick the fact that I think about my own artwork in graphite terms enough to become an accomplished painter, and Illustrator always felt like I was banging my head repeatedly on a wall.

So, the combination I do is that I draw everything in graphite (embarrassingly enough, I always work with a mechanical pencil... I'm just much more comfortable and in control with them), adding as much detail and shading as I can in that stage, and then use a little trick with the Channels on Photoshop to paint underneath the linework, usually all on one layer. I try to keep it as close to watercolor as possible, because that's the sort of illustration that I'm really enamored of. If I have to, I'll paint some highlights on a separate layer on top of the linework, just to make it pop, but I try to limit how much texture and graphite I cover up. The graphite does most of the heavy lifting.
Eventually I want to learn to watercolor (well) and illustrate more that way - I just think it's so beautiful!

The tablet I use is an Intuos, and I like it a lot. I've never had any technical problems with it (despite it being shoved in and out of my backpack all the time), and when my first tablet (another Wacom) finally needed replacing, I went right back to Wacom. My school had a bunch of Cintiqs, and those were nice to work on. When I work on a tablet for too long, my muscles start to ache and cramp up from my wrist all the way up to my shoulder and neck, and that doesn't happen as quickly on the Cintiqs (or working traditionally, which is another reason why I would like to learn watercolor!).
#28 - June 02, 2013, 07:03 AM

I use mostly photoshop because is faster and easier to correct.But I hope one day to do one in watercolor :)
#29 - June 02, 2013, 12:05 PM

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An AD with Penguin tweeted that about 98% of the Illustration they use is digital.

Wow, that's even higher than I thought it would be!

I do feel a bit better that for the more painterly digital styles it's not really faster. Correction would be much easier though. I try to ink and paint with a balance of speed and care. I've had to create a bit of an assembly line, and have been doing 5 or 6 pieces at a time. (spots mostly, full double page spreads I only work on one or two at a time)

The funny thing is, I *just* learned how to paint. I spent a long time reading watercolor tutorials and getting books from the library, doing a lot of paintings that aren't fit to be seen by anyone, finally found the right paper for my style (and now have had a problem getting because they just changed the distributor in Canada and my local art store hasn't had it in stock for months and I have 2/3 of a sheet left)...I finally feel confident I sorta know what I'm doing, lol. I hope I can still use traditional methods for a while before I have to change.

And yes, Siski...you are clutching. LOL I have to have my computer on while I paint or how could I procrastinate by checking the boards and email every 20 minutes or so??

#30 - June 02, 2013, 12:12 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

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