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.

Converting JPGs to CYMKs

I have about 35 psd images in my children’s book. Over the past eight months I’ve exported all of them as JPGs or PNGs for creating an e-book. E-books use the SRGB color space. Now that I’ve decided to make the print version, I have to re-export all of the images using the CMYK color space. It’s not hard — it’s just tedious. Understanding these technicalities takes time, but the more I learn about the publishing business, the more I feel in control.

I’m really slow with Photoshop. I can convert about two images an hour to CMYK. I estimate that it will take me one week to create the new CMYK images. As I’m doing that, I’ll also be exporting all of the JPG images at a high resolution to make sure they meet the 300 dpi minimum for Ingramspark books. To make sure I don’t get the CMYK and SRGB files confused, I’ve created separate directories for the two type of color spaces.

I spent some time in a waiting room today. To while away the time, I sketched the back of some dude’s head. I used a Daler-Rowney sketching pencil for this. The paper is Strathmore VIsual Journal 140 lb. watercolor paper.

Two versions of a page in progress for the children's book

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I finished the drawing I started yesterday, the drawing of the two boys reading a comic book. I replaced the ominous cat with two cute mice, moved Buddy Butterfly’s antennae out of the way and added some hatching. Today it was Photoshop to the rescue.

I moved Buddy’s antennae to give the mice more focus. He’s got an extra pair before I took the image to Photoshop

Still more cleaning up to do…

A bird and a butterfly draw each other's portrait

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A quickie today. While I was at work I got the idea of having Jimmy and Buddy doing fun stuff like drawing silly portraits of each other, as best friends do. I would use this image in the sequence where the two best friends ride bikes, play football, play cards. Real bromance stuff.

I limited colors today: cool blue, yellow ochre, and purple.

Constructing My Children's Picture Book: Page One

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I’m looking for a way to have consistent colors from page 1 to 32. Watercolor looks great, but mixing identical colors for 32 pages will be a challenge. Copic markers will work and look great. Ecoline watercolors can be consistent if I can settle on a color palette. Digital coloring using Photoshop or the iPad is also a good option. Now the I see the problem: I have too many options, and I have beginner skills with all of them.

Today’s picture is inked with a Uni-ball Vista pen and colored with Ecoline liquid watercolors. As soon as I finished this I wanted to change the text; next time the text goes on a separate piece of paper for layering in Photoshop. Maybe I’ll do the same with backgrounds, too.

Jimmy Jay meets Buddy Butterfly

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Here’s another version of Jimmy meeting his friend Buddy. I’m trying out Buddy’s color scheme and wing markings. I’m considering this painting another inch forward towards my March 31 deadline that’s looming on the horizon. I now have 61 days to finish this. It sounds like a lot, but with only a couple of hours a days, I’m going to hustle. Getting this book finished is a big deal.

I haven’t got a finalized page yet and I’m feeling the pressure. To cite my favorite metaphysical poet, Andrew Marvell,

But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.

Enough poetry!

I didn’t forget Jimmy Jay’s nose this time.