Learning InDesign Basics

Through my day job I have access to Lynda.com. I found a course called “InDesign: Creating Fixed-Layout EPUBS”. It’s a three-hour course that targets what I need to do with InDesign: create an EPUB. It’s a course that would have saved me many hours of frustration.

Today was a balmy, sunny day perfect for a Vitamin D Club outing. As the other member of the club basked in the sun, I retired to the shade and did some doodling…rough doodling of what’s supposed to be a Jaybird and a Monarch butterfly on the wing to Mexico. I’m thinking of my next book.

flying_down_to_mexico_blog.jpg children's book, flying down to mexico, jaybird, butterfly, buddies

Duck and Cover -- Worst Air Polution in the United States

Sometimes the real world interrupts my dreamy, idealistic life as an artist. Every year we have a fire season that runs from July to October. Last night smoke from the first fire of the summer poured into the Rogue Valley, which is a little basin in the earth with high mountains on all sides. It’s perfectly designed to hold the smoke from wildfires burning in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

When the smoke settles in, it’s hazardous to go for a walk, or even leave windows open. Everyone wears a protective dust mask. The stars are wiped from the sky. The full moon is snuffed out, and the Al Fresco Art club cancels its Sunday outings. It’s hard to think about Art when simply breathing is hazardous.

Despite the ugly weather, art happens. Here’s my most recent Vitamin D Club 15-minute sketch. Actually, it took 3 x 15 minutes to do this one.

Crape Myrtle tree with irrigation buckets

Crape Myrtle tree with irrigation buckets

Inking the final three images


Okay. I inked the last three images. Tomorrow I’ll move on to coloring.

Over the last 3 months I’ve observed that my style changes every time I take an online class or watch an amazing artist on Youtube. So, to make my life simpler, I stopped watching Youtube artists and I stopped taking Skillshare classes. I feel feel better now.

These are the last three images in the book.

My Workflow is getting smoother


Today’s drawing went through these steps:

  1. Pencil thumbnail in small sketchbook (done about 2 months ago)

  2. Pencil sketch in production sketchbook, done today. The following steps took about one hour.

  3. Inked with Rotring Tikky

  4. Scanned with Plustek A3 scanner

  5. Airdropped to iPad Pro and re-inked in Sketchbook

  6. Airdropped to iMac

  7. Edited in Photoshop — cleaned up and contrast fixed

  8. Exported to iCloud storage as a PNG

  9. Uploaded to Squarespace

The most important steps in the process is drawing and inking with pen and paper. Working with real things gets my brain in gear. Digital is for fixing things.

Bernie the Buddhist Dachsund, pen and ink, iPad, Photoshop

Jimmy in the chimney


This my backup drawing. My pen and ink drawing sucked so bad that I tried to fix it in Photoshop and made it worse, a thousand times worse. So, I scanned my sketch book at a high resolution and cleaned up the coffee stains and chicken scratches. That’s all I can say about my progress today. I’m going to go take a shower now.

pen and ink, character design