Out and About in Southern Oregon

I was out of the house most of today. When I got home I spent an hour in InDesign rearranging images to tighten up the flow of the story. I even removed a page, which hurt a bit because I have lavished a lot of time and love on that picture. But, I have a 32-page limit to stick to. It hurts to lose the one you love.

While I was in Medford I went to our amazingly well-stocked art store, Central Art Supply. Considering that we’re in the middle of Nowhere — 400 miles are from Portland or San Francisco — Central Art has a full line of Winsor and Newton, Holbein, and Daniel Smith water colors, Copic markers, Arches and Fabriano paper. And, prices are competitive with the big online vendors. I’ve made a pact with myself to buy all of my art supplies at Central. I really want to do my part to support their business. It’s fun to go into a brick and mortar store and touch the goodies.

I bought some gouache and a couple of water brushes. I’m preparing to learn how to paint with real paint.

Preview of Children's Picture Book in Kindle E-Reader

Kindle Create can show a preview what an e-book will look like in a a tablet, smartphone, or Kindle E-Reader. The E-Reader has a grayscale display, so my pictures will be viewed in all of their black and white glory.

The question is, why am I spending time with an e-reader when my goal is to publish the print version first? There are several reasons. The first is that Kindle Create converts the InDesign PDF into a series of pages that are fun to scroll through. I can also see which images can be easily adapted to a future e-book, and which will need more work. This particular image works with both the square print format or the HD e-book format, though the position of the text will have to be tweaked.

The original image without text…

The page, with text, as it will appear when viewed with a Kindle E-Reader…

Creating an Image Usable for Both Print and Ebook

My ongoing dilemma is that my print book will be in a square format and the ebook will be in either a 16:9 aspect ratio (HD) or a 4:3 aspect ratio (iPad). In short, I need two versions of each image. I didn’t plan for dealing with screen aspect ratios when I started this book. I was impatient to get all of my images painted and just plowed ahead without thinking.

My solution for this dilemma, for this book at least, is to produce square images that can be cropped to work in either the iPad or HD format. I plan to crop the square image into a wide image suitable for an ebook.

The example below shows a typical square image. Notice that there’s a lot of headroom that contains no important content. I’ll place the text boxes in that space. In the cropped ebook version, I’ll place the text on the left side of the image, or the right side, depending on the placement of the action. I will have to make sure that no important characters or action is covered by the text.

Here’s the square version of everyone getting on the Magic Moustache Bus. As I said, there’s a lot of blue sky in this image.

2019_02_04_all_aboard_color8x8.jpg children's picture book, magic moustache bus, the Jay family

With the sky cropped, we have the wide ebook version.


Here’s what the original image looked like. When I drew this image I the bus became so large that it didn’t fit on the page. The new version shows the entire bus.

2019_02_04_all_aboard_color_original.jpg original version

Al Fresco Art Club Challenge, Aug 18, 2019 -- Another Cézanne Masterpiece

The Al Fresco Art Club is in a sweet groove. For the last couple of months the challenge has been to paint in the style of the masters, as if we were students trying to learn by copying a painting in a museum. I’m hooked on Cézanne. This week I decided to attempt to paint one of his more colorful portraits, Woman with a coffee pot. We’re allowed one hour to paint. Having a strict time limit encourages looking at a painting and quickly prioritizing the important details that must be in the final work.

As always, our painting had to be done on one layer, with no undo, no filters, and no gradients. I chose a triad color palette, which I created with Krita’s Artistic Palette and Gamut Masks tools. Very cool!

The gamut mask for Woman with a coffee pot…

Cézanne’s Woman with a Coffee Pot

Cézanne’s Woman with a Coffee Pot

Created with the Krita Gamut Masks tool

Created with the Krita Gamut Masks tool

My attempt…

Chore day, Aug 17, 2019...Krita, Krita, Krita

Today was chore day. Once again I spent the morning cooking up some chow for my Pug. Besides that, I had a few moments to ponder my future with Krita. I’ve noticed that whenever I sit down to explore Krita, I realize that there’s a lot to learn before I’ll be competent with it. The thought of learning something new, as I’ve mentioned before, causes me great weariness and lethargy. Even dread. I do realize that learning something new is hard. It’s not Krita that’s hard; it’s familiar territory, pretty much like other drawing applications. What’s hard is actually doing digital painting. It’s all new to me. I’ve watch hundreds of painting videos, but now I’m actually trying to make my own painting. My plan is to find a really basic painting tutorial and start by drawing spheres, boxes, pyramids, and cylinders.

The image below shows what I can do now. BTW, this is the second painting I’ve attempted with Krita. I’m going to stop counting now.

Painting in Krita for the First TIme

I’ve decided to do all of my painting using Krita, which means that I’ll be doing my painting on my desktop computers, and eventually on my Linux setup. I started using Krita by editing a picture that needs to be squared to fit into the print version of my book. This particular image is quite a mess. Momma Jay’s body and arms are truncated and, for some unknown reason, I changed the color palette for this image and Momma Jay’s pink hair and hot pink accents are too saturated. I’ll have to do some repainting. I will also extend the picture downward to add more of her arms. It’s a work in progress and I’ll be completing this do-over tomorrow.

This is the original image…


And this is the image I’m working on in Krita