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Friday, December 28, 2012

A method to the madness. Now that I'm painting a few things in the new Photoshop, I'm beginning to feel my way around again. It's not that it was so different, but different enough. I will say I'm liking it just fine now, and look forward to becoming more familiar with other features.

It's imperative if you want to make good work you are at home with not only the process, but the materials.  And technology is no different. I'm posting a couple of details of the drawing I'm working on. Now why take the time away from learning how to animate? If the drawings aren't good, then not only will it be harder to make an effective animation, it won't be clear.

The concepts of size and color, contrast and temperature I think will play a big part in how decent my images will be. By taking the little bit of time to reacquaint myself with the concepts and put them into action, I can fully concentrate on the animation, because most of this was in the background for me. By bringing it into the foreground, it will help with creative decision and flow of the work. I love that with the Photoshop I can get in there and make the detail sound. I should have this drawing done in the next few days. I think I need to work a few things on my billabong back ground, and then I will do more detailed comps (Will went into great detail on how he works out the designs for his drawings, so I think I will take a page from his book and freehand the illos then consult Margot. Still have character designs to finish, but not as worried or obsesses as I was with that.  Going to be busy next few weeks!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

When does learning become procrastination? I know I'm borderline at the moment, so within the next couple of days I will be getting right back on the horse. The first problem was banging my head against new technology. Usually I don't mind a good whack or two upside, because it often loosens things I hadn't thought of, and after a good sinus cleaning, I "get it". The second there are enough other things that I felt wonky about, on a professional level and it interfered with my processing the info. The insecurity fed the infernal editor.

With holidays and other events (that are not quite over), the decision for me was to zag. Instead of immersing myself in the new technology, I reviewed things from art school, thirty years ago, and a lot of it was overlooked. Ah such was the education of a prodigy and a renegade. Often times the core was skimmed or left out entirely. There's a lot you can do with raw talent, but it really only goes so far.

I finished the snake painting, did a caricature entirely from scrap on the Wacom and though it wasn't a best effort, it was decent for a first time and more importantly I did something new and something I didn't hate. Heck I wanted that feather boa. I presently have a couple of past drawings I want to rework in Photoshop, before I reengage Oscars project. The reason again is two fold. I need to feel comfortable and conscious of what I got from the two tutorials (Designing a Drawing and Working with color, Folio Academy). Yes I knew most of it, but I hadn't actually been DOING it, and a lot of it's easier said than done. I can see a couple of things happening within the exercises, as well as getting more adept. I tend to work busy, so more than likely it'll not only make me more considered, but simplify. I think one of things I also really like about Will's tutorials, we come from similar aesthetics. I think it's about the story and communicating first.
THEN it's about the art, which isn't to say art is secondary, it's just that if it doesn't fulfill it's purpose, doesn't matter how pretty or colorful it is.

I hadn't realized as well, as autocratic, dictatorial as I am (come on! I have to write, draw and sometimes even calligraph, and now I'm publishing?! Course my caveat and Achilles is I want to do it all well enough so no one will ever pooh-pooh it with well she did DO it by herself, sniff, sniff!) I'd not really given myself permission to design my drawings. It was a strange thing to come to me, because I get images that pop in my head all the time. What happened was Will completed some of the thoughts and questions I had and it just zinged, connected.

The other reason to take the time to be comfortable with the process, Margot's book is a bit "more". Adding action as well as the considerations, of image, color, value, line, space, form, etc. to a story, and the challenge of different sized devices ranging from 7-8 inches down to about 3.5 inches, having those concerns not be a misunderstood distraction, I'm most definitely glad for the review.

In doing,I gain bits of confidence I misplaced along the way of my life as well. I have a short story in adult land that needs to be published this week and will be visiting a friend for a few days. The holidays are pretty much over, and I'm knee deep into trying to figure out how to make the animated GIF. I know once I master that I'm finest kind for a while. Then the only other hurdle will be the actually publishing of the project. Who knows what skill I'll renew or learn then?

Anyhow, this is the very rough reworking of Beauty Shop, the beginning. Will post this redone here, and if I do the two drawings from my Whateverafter, will post those as well.

The bottom will be the reworked one. The upper one , I liked the concept, but couldn't render very well, and was playing with materials-- the plastic-y paper that others make look delicious, I made caca-de-poopoo on. It will be interesting to see the differences, when done, I think.

Monday, December 3, 2012

So I will share my "other" art for the next few months as most of the character assets will be under wraps at least until we publish the app. But I have other quick art to share along the way and I can still talk about the process and provide the resources and journey textually, right?

So the next couple of days I'm looking at PERSPECTIVE. I need to nail it down for my Duke Day For Annie as well as for the other projects (Whateverafter, Becoming and Lytee).  As a matter of fact as soon as I finish the post I'll be sitting through this one: Four point perspective, and later on review some videos on animating in FLASH.

When I say nail it down, that means at one point I'm going to have to get obnoxious about drawing everything I see. I've found if you do it so much you don't have to "think" about, have a REAL grasp, it has an immediacy and power and you become fearless. I had actually learned this in artschool. I had avoided hands and feet as a kid, because they were too "hard". Granted my then-drawing teacher Ed Douglas had the modernist mantra droning in my ear, but it was still a joke enough that when I would draw it I would also label it: "This is not a CHAIR!".

Even then with the text and image.

But we were to draw hands and feet for a week, and a strange thing happened. After a few days of frustration, I not only started concentrating on the relationships, but fell in love with creating their image. I did compulsively, obsessively, can't-sit-my-butt-down-without-drawing-hands-and-feet for a month. Now I understand their forms so well, I can "draw" a hand from memory, because I understand how their forms work and relate. Which doesn't take away from the best way to draw, LOOKING at what you're drawing. It all just adds to the image, I think.

I did the same thing with the letters "r" and "s", when studying calligraphy. They were my problem letters. So I did them ad nauseum with the same process. By gummy my "r"  have rhythm and my "s"es are downright springy!

In other words, embrace what you avoid, often times you do it because you KNOW you lack. So give yourself that spontaneity and power.

Last night watching a bit of the tube, I could only allow it if I were drawing. To my surprise, I'd drawn Oscar enough he fell off the tip of my Sharpie. Which is fabulous because it will be easy to create a number of images of him and more naturally animate him.  Probably to get a little freer with him as well. Now to give myself the rest of the characters this week. Today I think will be kingfisher, koala and if I have the time, Duckbilled Platypus, because I keep "seeing" him.

Till then, this is my current "Agy" project for my Cafe Press Store, Imagyne. I have another one that is more calligraphy and writer, oriented, Agy Shtuff. My sister had suggested doing a series of "eyes". I had thought about play on words (this means Snake Eyes, in case it's not clear, lol).

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's been too long. I know. Some of it has been personal stuff. Life's disarray can creep up and it must be addressed. That's happened to me all year, and it finally caught up. That being said, I will say the really great thing that came out of the turmoil. I really LOVE what I do. If I can go through the crapola of life and deal with it, then I most certainly can wrap my mind around this new thing.

The secrets, take it in small bites, find good sources of information and BELIEVE in myself.

One of the best things I've done has been availing myself to Will Terry's and Wayne Andreason's Folio Academy. When I haven't been learning something, what I know was being reinforced, which led to more confidence. By no means do I know it all, or even yet, how to put it together, but I have this notion that I shall put it together in it's time. The turmoil oddly enough helped with that one too. You do what you got to do. So now I'm ready to get back to it.

I will share this part of my art process because I'm not sure if it'll VISUALLY work, until I have the characters. Thinking about OSCAR and KOBI and most of the other characters, they are black white and gray, so I think it will, but at this point it's an intellectual thing. I love the painting of the billabong, to refresh your memory:

 The idea is to crop in different places, so the backgrounds look different, but they are all consistent. I may have to redo a few of them at different perspectives, but I think for the most part it'll work. And the grays of the the characters, which will be animated will "POP". I'll have to remember the words, haven't decided if they will be a part of over the image or if the text will read underneath the images. Lots of decisions to make along the way, so I'm happy for this first project of mine, I will have Margot helping with all the decisions, because these "assets" (as the characters to be animated are called) are her babies first of all.

I really can see them frolicing and grousing, and adventuring in this place. I hope I do justice to the project and kids (and maybe the old kids) will enjoy this book app. And like Will has said in his video the most important thing is to FINISH. So this week's timeline is to nail down the characters (perhaps with Margot's and one of the characters I will show you one of them, perhaps not, an air of mystery can be a good thing....
next week I hope to be animating characters and text. Wish me luck!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Two pronged post... or hit the dodo between the eyes a couple of times

Right up front, hard sell, but not really. I'd been meaning to blog and I confess to dragging my feet. Not only about writing here, but taking the next step in the books that I'm actually very excited to work on. Except the last couple of weeks the fear has gotten to me. I'm living on a shoestring and I can see where it's wearing thin and fraying. My life is totally in flux and truth be told I'm kinda weepy. Sometimes it's easy to fall over into the oh-poor-me category. And not only am I learning worlds new, kinda hard technologies, but I've promised to put them out there to be judged by the rest of world. Not to mention I love Margot and I in no way want to let her down. So I've twiddled my thumbs a bit.

And then yet again, I'm rescued by the Folio Academy. I was kind of feeling the same way last year, but a friend Sherry Rogers offered me her old Wacom for a remarkable price. I got a fabulous job through the wonderful Deborah Nourse Lattimore,  I found myself knee deep in learning Photoshop. Something I'd tried for about seven years and failed miserably. I can credit the Wacom and Will Terry's wonderful Photoshop course with my success and getting me over that hump. It has been exhilarating (I've even "converted" a few friends and family into the world of PS and Wacom, lol) not only conquering (a little bit, I have SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN!) the media that had stumped me, but the job is designed to save lives and I got paid for it. It doesn't get any better than that. So I feel I owe the Folio Academy, and Will Terry in particular a great deal because it not only addressed my need for knowledge, but staved off my technical apprehension enough to move through the learning process.

Here I am again. Feeling like I did right before Sherry and Folio rescued me (truth be told I was massively depressed as I couldn't see well enough to work, which PS allows me to now, and had become mostly a recluse). I've felt guilty all week, because to download the programs I need is to commit myself enough to this project, if I don't succeed, I would dig a hole.  But had determined today was the day.

Then I got the email. The offer was wonderful. Seriously? I blog about Folio Academy, link back let them know and they will GIVE me a course? There were five I wanted to take right off the bat, whether it's to renew old rusted skills or tackle some new systems. The problem will be CHOOSING the one I want MOST right now, and such a problem is good. They didn't even necessarily want me to plug them well, just mention them. Gladly. I've been plugging them all along and will continue. Hope to get a few proposals of my skills together as well. (would anyone be interested in Calligraphy, Pysanki, or if I master the application/animation thing, that there?)

As I told Wayne (Andreason, Will's partner in art) my ONLY complaint is I wish I could download the course, so when I didn't have internet connection I could access the course. He even said they were working on it.

So I finished the BILLABONG (say that a bunch of times and try not giggling). Tonight I will download the Cloud, and perhaps play with it. Gone on Saturday. But will be playing a bit and the first bit of animation I will be sharing here and to my other venues, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin because by gummy now I know I WILL DO THIS. I won't let Margot down, because it's too important, (and Kobe and Oscar would kick my butt--- especially Kobe). So here's the billabong. Here's the Blog post. And HERE'S TO FEARLESS, 'k?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rocky road Annie...

I've had a hard time letting this one go. Somethings I know if someone else could take over; I don't mind the collaboration. But this project, has been particularly difficult on all kinds of levels. First it's not my story. It's a good friend whom I loved. Second, I knew her, the place, the history, but I didn't live in her time, didn't actually know the actors other than Ann, and I'm not African-American/First Nation (okay we do have the First Nation in common, and I think her dad did hie from Canada as my grandfather's family had, so we weren't totally unaligned, still this wasn't about our shared heritage, and I recognize the tale I tell is an undertold one that has meaning for a lot of people I don't know, and could be argued I don't have a particular sensitivity to). Still I am sensitive to her, the area, the history, the story. Part of the difficulty was feeling even qualified (I had her permission and help with this, so it was self-doubt).

Annie wasn't about the color of her skin, she was about living her life well, with joy and grace and determination, and I want that as well. So perhaps it is my tale to tell. The idea such a rich life might not be shared, pushed me into finish writing.

I also knew if I went traditionally, more than likely I wouldn't be able to do the illustrations. This was a toughie. Back and forth. I don't have a name, and more than likely I'd be paired with an African American illustrator, and many of my favoritest illustrators are black. But I love history. I love Old Orchard Beach, I love Ann. I would be okay with the idea and then get cold feet at the idea, because the idea of illustrating it just set my heart to beating. Truth be told I love the text but I wrote it for the illustrations, lol.

So self publishing, here I come.

The books by Tom Bancroft, I got for Margot's project and it helped immeasurably, impacted this as well. I will post the first two renderings of the first page (still unfinished, need to adjust a few things, and figure out what I'm doing with the text, whether using type (Perpetua) or calligraphic self-designed lettering as I'd first intended...

and here's an illustration I can't use, though I loved doing this drawing (hey loved it so much there's five different versions SOMEWHERE) but give you an idea of the feeling I want with the text...

Mama got back-- OUTBACK!

Any good writer knows  you have to have backstory, background. It's the same for illustrators. In this new venture of ebooks, the great hope is to animate the books. In order to do that, all the characters have to be made separately so they can be activated as it were. So thinking about the illustrations for this has been a different process. I was lucky through a series of posts to have found Tom Bancroft's books mentioned earlier. They've not only helped with considerations of how to build and animate the characters, but also with how those characters act within their environment. In this case, I'm trying to think of the background (and approaching it) as another character.

Because of time constraints, consistency and my computer's limitations, my plan has been (we'll see if it actually works out that way, HA!) to paint one overall background. I can crop for closeups and build on it. This is the very early planning stages, but I can already visualize Oscar's sleeping log, and where he looks in the waters edge while Kingfisher dives for a meal. Have to reference more flowers and mulberry bush and gum trees, and place them within, will also need to RENDER this (this is a very rough sketch). I also found a great blog on Background art... just a mighty fine thing (coming from someone who always resented having to concentrate her drawing on anything she didn't want to and that would be surroundings, until I realized that surroundings ARE part and parcel to story and character): animation backgrounds with Rob Richards

I need to get new ear buds, I think when I do, I'll put on some outdoor sounds (maybe I can find an actual billabong recording ala Edgar Winter?) when I do the finished renderings, but I'm loving the process! I think I will also include my thoughts on my own book (Duke Day for Annie) as I'm working on them simultaneously and hoping they will both be presentable before Christmas. Yeah, when I take a bit of the pie it's not a small bite, I oftenshove the whole thing into my open maw!

So the ROUGH background!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stops and starts

I've been away for a bit. Some of it was life taking me by the hand. Some of it has been my attempt to grab some know-how. I've set a daunting path, so the way I approach and keep at it, is going to be a big determiner of whether I do this successfully. I had to learn HOW a book app/ebook is made (Flash and InDesign are the industry standard, and happily Adobe offers a Cloud subscription).

Then I had to cobble together the tutorials on how to do this, and I'm happy to say between the Youtubes and web, I've been able to get a good idea on what I need to do. I've set this week as a goal for making my first animation, and of course I shall share! Another blog post I'll share some of my favorite links if people are interested in figuring out how to dabble themselves-- it's FUN!

In the middle of all of it, I loved some of my drawings of the animals of Margot's story, but they didn't rise to the level of  'characters'. And I so want them to be identifiable characters, as well as worthy of animation. Amazon offered two books from character designer Tom Bancroft, and I ordered them, (Creating Characters with Personality and Character Mentor, if you're interested in taking a look).

But as much as I love the images, the discrepency of what I saw in my head and what I was drawing, though I could see personalities, were far apart.

Tom's books reinforced what I knew, but tweaked a few things, that I'd not really factored. Even though I knew about it, it took rereading it and thinking about it, for those elements to end up on my radar. I decided to push completely in the other direction, draw in shapes, working for a chibi effect. Here's some of the results.

A little more along the lines, but still not there by any means. So still pushing this idea, and absorbing Tom's Mentor book, which is about taking character design one further. My next post, I'll take one character and show how I meld these images/concepts and talk a little bit about how to develop the character visually.

I think the great thing is to have FUN! I say this a lot, and will be saying it a lot. I'd lost sight of how much I enjoy doing this sort of thing. And truthfully, if it wasn't so much FUN (and hey no one dies, so how serious do I have to take this? Just enough to, yeah, you got it, FUN for everyone), it would be too durned scary.

And I'll leave you with my space alien Roo:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Back to it! I'm excited and glad to be back working. I share an update, and hope to be working on process and such as well as sharing it all in the upcoming weeks. First, I had a few epiphanies over the interim weeks. I need to simplify, clarify and color-ify (is that a word? It is now!) my work.
     Ebooks are differenter than publication. One of the reasons I wanted to do this project, I knew it would help my own personal projects. I love animals, but being able to paint someone else's pictures (like teaching) means I can rethink some of my projects because the process is self-clarifying. I will share the finished second illustration and a few changes, because it will no longer BE the second illustration.  I'm currently reading Will Terry's WONDERFUL, must read-blog (to me at least! and already stumbled over an affirmation (remarkable how comforting it is to have that kind of reinforcement, kind of like I'm on the "right track").
      In his post on "I live to Create" he shows his process of one of his drawings. Somewhere down the line he notes how his character wouldn't fit through the door. "This is where I realized that my little mouse would never fit through the door. Sometimes when I get working along I lose objectivity and this is a good example. I had to come to terms with the fact that if I wanted it to look right I would have to spend an extra hour or so fixing my mistake. So, I had to cut out little mouse and move her forward in front of her vegetable basket. In the past I would have settled. In the future I'm sure I'll be able to spot the places where I settled in this image."  Not to mention, the fact I learned a few neat tricks (I actually "mastered" Photoshop, because I've taken his online course through his Folio Academy).
      Anyhow, this has been true for me. In this example, you can see the original drawing of the characters in Oscar's dream sequence...

     What I realized after I'd colored most of them, the proportions didn't work. I enlarged and cut and pasted and learned quite a bit in the process. I now feel enough confidence changing in the middle (or even the end) isn't so scary and far superior to not being happy with the result. 
     What I ended up with...

      I like it far better as far as proportions go (HA! the ADD, dyslexia which CAN be amusing and informative kicked in, and I'm going to talk about how it is to work with THOSE kinds of differenter, and I'd written "propoortions" before I corrected. Talk about FREUDIAN, lol!). But now I don't care for the colors or composition. It's interesting, but it's too busy and I don't think it will translate to a small screen, which is a goal. 
     I'll be reading the rest of Will's blog before I restart, but restart I must. Don't get me wrong. I will probably use this as a start, and I will more than likely keep some of this flavoring (not to mention I have to be considerate of the REAL colorations and animals. Who knows, I may cut and paste, remove, redraw and play with this particular drawing. But I'm sure what I end up with, won't look like this, and I will like it better. It will be more of what Oscar ordered, because I can tell, he'd really love to have his story told to the very best of my ability. So another cup of peach tea and then back to the mulberry tree, with me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One of the most difficult things to do is to keep motivating oneself when one does what I do. It's so easy to find other things that need attention, and truthfully a balance can sometimes be hard to find between the mundane and the pursuit of becoming the best you can be at what you do and at least a bit of acknowledgement . The negative voices whether they are from people in your life or your infernal internal editor can debilitate sometimes to the point of lethargy. Or worse, a failure to comply with your own dreams. So it's important to instill a few steps into your process, especially if you are actively engaged in the creative process.

Realize you set yourself up. I'm choosing for success. I'm giving myself permission to play (something I don't do easily or well) because I know once the joy overtakes me good things will come of it. Some of my best work was done because I was invested in it. Play is one of those investments. It's not so serious that you can't throw it away because it's not "real". We play games because it keeps our mind active but it also trains and disciplines. You might stink a big one at first, but the exhileration at the first game "won" becomes addictive.

I'm also giving myself permission to work. Living long enough to know that failure and success (and each of us define that for ourselves) have strengths and drawbacks, and ultimately more often than not the definition of those things lie outside ourselves. Someone likes or buys our work or doesn't. But the DISCIPLINE of work, doing it every day, mastering things that aggravate, the expression of those things inside to the outside and sharing it with others, despite their reaction , that is work to me. By giving yourself the permission to do your work, to play at your work to work at your play, to see your expression and interaction with others (and yes, lots of times it's a chore) as important, not only validates but helps you to get stronger.

So what does this have to do with my dear little friends Kobe and Oscar? I'm playing with a new media (and technology really) I'll post a couple of early drawings no more more finished illustrations, but more technique and perhaps spot illustration process within them (for instance as I work on this particular illustration I may post one character from the scene). So far I do not care for this drawing. AT ALL. It may all end in the recycling bin.

Why finish it, you may ask. It's that work part. I know even if I end up scrapping this, there is no wasted effort. I'm learning a great deal and enjoying it as I go, even when I don't care for what I'm working on at the time. I've also learned already it could stink and then all of a sudden, it's not half bad. It's pretty good. Hey, what's that? I like it? WHEN did that happen. So like a journey I simply have to do the work to find out. Whatever it is, whether it's the act of "painting", or seeing something come from nothingness or even the finished product, THAT is your motivator, that is your play, your work, your discipline. Butt in Chair. Smile on face or at least in your heartish area. And then pull a Nike. JUST DO IT.

so I block in colors over the sketch. This is about four layers. Each animal will have at least two or three layers. I find separating them and LABELING them well, keeps me sane and saves time in the long run.

I like to check it often for composition and color balance. one of the ways I do that is to shut off the underlying drawing. Sometimes I will leave the drawing in, and perhaps blend some of it. Other times, I lose it entirely and a piece has a painterly feeling. I like the line drawings in these books, because it helps to "see" the forms more clearly, and to me it has a more kid-friendly feel and appeal. I may end up redrawing the drawing that I'm using, or keep the one I've got and tweak it.

This is with the photo I use loosely for reference. I'm starting to pull out the darks a bit more for formation and texturizing the color. Finally will be a small detail. As I say I dunno if I'll use this drawing or not, but I'm learning a great deal and enjoying the process. When I finish with this I will start to develop the border for the drawings. I not only want Margot's approval, the images themselves will have to work with the border, so I think it easier to do the border and draw the images than to have to tweak it at the end...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

So this was the first version of Oscar. I love the geometric shapes and I didn't know Tasmanian Devils HOWL, and it looks like he's complaining. According to people who know, and my partner in crime Margot says it so it must be true, TDs can be nasty little critters, so I think even Oscar is a TD with a difference, he's still a TD. When thinking about characters, especially when they are based on real life you need to have good reference.

You can see it's not exact, because Oscar needed to interact with another character. Besides, it's not a wise idea to use references EXACTLY, because you can run into copyright (and sometimes) trademark issues. I decided I liked it better with the image flopped. but this was the basis for my drawing. The next step was adding color. I painted in mostly normal layers, added a "night" layer in OVERLAY, and that's how I got the very intense color (I kinda like it). I used a splatter brush to paint as well as a textured brush to blend it. Personally, I'm a blending freak, I think a lot can be achieved with that. I'm posting the rest of the images during various stages of color. I'm waiting on Margot letting me post the image with the first page of text, we're trying to decide on typeface. If she prefers we not use the type, I'll do a pretend block so you can see what the finished page will look like with the text and all (I sized the screen proportionally to the Kindle, and it will mostly apply through out...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It may be a whirlwind, but it can be circuitous too!

As in windy, (wind-y, though it has been raining and blustery where I've been quite a bit!) and sometimes short circuited (how do I get there from HERE?!)! The hitch when trying to do everything at once, is figuring out the first steps first. I'm in the process of learning Photoshop, as well as in the process of relocating (for a few weeks). I'd done a few sketches I wasn't pleased with and if I can get my computer up and running tonight, will spend more time sketching. But it's not a given. It's great to have a plan when handling a lot of details (like illustrating isn't hard enough, lol!). I have a specific style in mind, right now I have to figure out the best way to get close enough to that. Photoshop isn't like traditional media, which would be time consuming, expensive and messy. Outside of the initial investment in Photoshop and the equipment to use it properly, the rest is figuring it out. There's lots of YouTube videos (I have my favorites, it's true, feel free to list yours). One of the ways I find out what I need instead of wading through an ocean of images, information and just mesmerizing work is to be specific when I put it into the info box, whether images, video or a search. This is NOT how it'll look, but it's getting closer and closer to what I want... I think the point is to be open-minded, ENJOY the process, and really allow yourself to slow down and think things through. I'm very lucky at the moment, I have minimal distractions so this coming week, I plan on throwing myself into this. I also know what I learn now doing this project, some of it will apply to my own work (I hope to begin Duke Day for Annie- I'm feeling more confident about drawing directly into Photoshop and learning a great deal about the effects, so I think in about or month or so I can confidently begin to tackle that project). If I'm able to post tomorrow, I shall take three or four of Margot's characters and show how I plan to draw them, break them down into their component character studies, and the next post I hope to have figured out how how to color them satisfactory. Upcoming will be doing landscapes (I haven't figured out if I want to do a bunch and plop the characters in ala Chuck Jones and animation technique, or render each specifically separate). I did do a very quick sketch of Kobi and his mom in a gum tree:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

AGY WILSON'S ART: Life can be become a whirlwind!

AGY WILSON'S ART: Life can be become a whirlwind!: It takes an innocuous comment sometimes to open the world and--- WOW! Life can become a whirlwind! When my cyber friend Margot said she thou...

Life can be become a whirlwind!

It takes an innocuous comment sometimes to open the world and--- WOW! Life can become a whirlwind! When my cyber friend Margot said she thought much of my art and wished it was possible for me to illustrate her book, all I could think is why couldn't I? The answer of course is I can! I've loved and admired Margot's warmth and humor for many years on the web, and personally love animals, exotic (for me!) countries like Australia and, well just ALL of it: illustrating for kids, researching new things, and being a part of this life's adventure. It's ALL GOOD!  I thought it would be fun to talk about how characters come to be and the process of bringing a book to life. I understand Kobi and Oscar are over at Margot's blog as I write (and draw) arguing about who's story should be published first, and all kinds of things (Oscar may be a nice Tasmanian Devil, but that means he doesn't EAT his friends, but he's still a TD!) if you want to check their argument du jour (that's exotic for TODAY) you can bop over to Margot's blog to eavesdrop: Till then I'm posting some of the drawings I did in Photoshop of the Kookaburra, Koala and TD. In the next few days I will do more studies, and refine all of them into the characters that will populate Margot's stories! But it starts with reality (and the fine art is making the characters LOOK like who they are and still be able to tell their story to the kids!

I'm learning to use Photoshop (not half bad for a newbie's efforts, methinks!) and figure out the character's shapes and personalities. Next it will be figuring the environment. I have some more "real" drawings to make of my new buddies, and then bashing them over the head with the "magic cartoonify wand" Oh and I want to color them all in the style of Margot's original (talented) illustrator! A tall order, it's a great thing I'm so excited and happy about this, and I hope there will be people along the way who share this journey and love the results!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012



* Kobi Borrows a Pouch
* Oscar Needs a Friend

These are
two "story books" written by my friend,
children's author, Margot Finke

This is a joint venture by Margot and I into the world of self-publishing. Margot wrote the Kobi and Oscar story books, and I am illustrating them.  Then I will set them up for publication in Kindle, Nook, iPad and iPod etc.

They will both be on an e-Reader near you -

Do come by and see my sample sketches.  Watch Margot's stories
and my artwork come together and make a
wonderful child's story book. 

And while Kobi and Oscar wait for their books to be published,
follow their "Blog Napping" adventure on:

 Kobi and Oscar