Color Palettes

I’ve been trying to post on wordpress for a while, but at one point, wordpress kept eating all my posts, and THEN my internet was down (sobbing noises). Then I thought “Maybe the universe is trying to keep me from writing something to you! And since I’ve long forgotten what I was going to write last week, I figure that must be the case. In the meantime, here is a leafy drawing I did in the Procreate app.

I have really liked using limited color palettes lately. It really takes a lot of the anxiety out of illustrating for me. I find it influences my sketches as well as how I paint it all in. Too many choices was stressful, but saying this is the image I want, this is the mood, here is my small box of crayons to work with. I love it.

Inktober: It’s up to you!

Inktober is here! Are you going to join in this year? I like working with ink, and there’s something fun in the challenge of not having an “undo” button or erasing mistakes. I’ve seen some beautiful inked pieces from other artists who made a mistake and then took some time to problem solve, and finish the work. It’s very inspiring to witness that process. But sometimes it can be really frustrating when you are so close to finishing something and then BLOP! A big ink blot over the face of your awesome character. Where’s my eraser? AAAHHH!

My favorite tools for inking are a stick pen, speedball super black ink, and J nibs (Thanks to Matt Cordell for recommending these!). The J nib is super nice, it has a nice flow and a nice tip size for making your mark. Also, how neat is the BOX it comes in? I found these on eBay! When I need to be really precise, I’ll use Micron Pens, or Prismacolor Premier pens. Can you have too many pens? Nah. You’ll also see in my tools photo a cool spoon rest I picked up at an art festival. It is the best thing ever for resting my pens and brushes on. I wish I had thought to use something like this years ago.

These are a few of my favorite things

It’s okay not to participate in Inktober, and it’s okay to participate a couple days a week or just a couple times that month. You get to determine what is best for yourself. You don’t get paid to participate in Inktober, it’s just a fun challenge, and you can choose the level of your involvement! Self-care and boundary setting are important! I’m not planning to participate this year; I may draw something for it here and there, but mostly I plan to enjoy the artwork everyone else creates this month. Share your links below if you are participating this year!

This is me NOT participating in Inktober. Um…done in ink

Thoughts

Starry Night, in Procreate. Working with a limited color palette

Is everyone excited about the first day of fall tomorrow? Does it still feel like summer to anyone else? It’s 85 degrees Fahrenheit today, which feels more July than September for Pennsylvania.

Side note: I never remember how to spell Fahrenheit. I always just sound it out and let spell check handle it for me. Also a sticky spelling word: Souvenir. I keep wanting to add extra “e”s to the end of it. Does anyone else have words their brains just can’t seem to wrap around?

I’ve just returned from a vacation in Maine, and I had such a wonderful time! We went to Bar Harbor and explored Acadia National Park. Hiking is a lot of fun. And even though it turns out I am allergic to lobster, there’s a lot of other great things about Bar Harbor besides lobster. Like ice cream! and a bookstore! And beautiful views! and lots of hiking with big rocks! If you like hiking and ice cream (and lobster) I hope you’ll get a chance to go there someday.

Sunrise in Bar Harbor

Walk to Mt. Doom

In an effort to take better care of myself, I started to eat less and exercise more. So far I’ve lost 15 pounds! YAY! You can really tell if you look at my ears. My ears are so svelte right now.

Anyway, my folks and I will be walking to Mt. Doom. Thanks to The Eowyn Challenge, the mileage is already mapped out! I made us little Hobbits. My mother is going to be Frodo, I’m Samwise, and my dad is Bilbo, and he’s thinking of following Bilbo to the Lonely Mountain, because he doesn’t think Mordor would be a nice place to walk to. Too many orcs and evil overlords. Something like that. How we’ll keep track is a mile walked is a mile walked and if we ride a bike then 2 miles riding =1 mile.

Bilbo, Samwise, and Frodo completed on the Procreate App

If you’d like to join us, feel free to I’m in! in the comments and post your updates along with us as we move forward!

If you’d like to follow a real life adventurer, follow my buddy Bruce‘s blog, who has been walking the Appalachian Trail since April! Bruce is AMAZING!

Drawing Hobbits, by the way, was so much fun. IF ANYONE ENDS UP MAKING A CUTE LOTR GRAPHIC NOVEL, I’M AVAILABLE! 😀

Highlights Foundation: Your Guide to Graphic Novels Workshop 2019

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending “Your Guide to Graphic Novels” workshop at Highlights Foundation. This was my second Highlights workshop, and both times were restorative experiences.

We had some amazing faculty/guest speakers. Merrill Rainey, Nidhi Chanani, Lila Weaver, and Colleen Af Venable. They were so informative, honest, and friendly. Everything you would hope for in an educational setting. We learned about how the process of graphic novels works, how to write a script, and how panels work. Each participant had an opportunity to bring a favorite graphic novel and after we introduced our favorite books, they went on a table for a weekend library. It was a wonderful ice breaker, and a great way to connect with other participants (“I read the book you brought! that was great!”)

If you’ve never been to Highlights Foundation, it’s a pretty remarkable experience. They have a very kind and industrious kitchen staff that will cater to your specific dietary needs. As much food as possible is sourced locally, and prepared with pride. The grounds are easy to walk around with gravel paths leading everywhere. You can stay in the farmhouse, the lodge or small individual cabins. I’ve stayed in a cabin both times, and they are quite comfortable, private and ideally suited for introverts. You’ll hear scary stories about ticks, but there is bug repellant available in the rooms and even in the Barn so if you stick to the mowed spaces and paths, you can avoid any icky bugs. It’s a lovely landscape, but the staff are really the ones to make the place feel welcoming and friendly.

I’m glad for the time I spent at Highlights. It really gave me a sense of purpose and direction. I came home feeling rested and ready to go for the first time in a few months, and I recommend going there for any artist who would like to meet new people, recharge their batteries, and learn something new.

Switching from Photoshop to Clip Studio Pro

Clip Studio Pro recently came out with a full-program app available in the Apple Store, and yes, it IS a subscription. There are two tiers and you can choose monthly or annual subscription. I chose the $24 dollar annual subscription. Yeah. $24 dollars. I love that price.

What initially drew me to Clip Studio was when Adobe started their subscription services for Creative Cloud. I wanted a one-time purchase product, and at the time, they were having an amazing sale so I got Clip Studio Pro EX for $109 dollars. I think you can buy it today for about $220, which is still an amazing price. The app syncs beautifully with the computer program, and I find the interface intuitive and for the bits that aren’t, there’s a wonderful link for tutorials, how-tos and a forum to ask questions.

But what about my photoshop files? Well, those will import nicely into Clip Studio, with all the layers intact. And if you love the Procreate App on the iPad, you can export those files into the Clip Studio App and save it to the cloud so you can access it on your desktop and tablet. Which is SO NICE, especially when one’s wireless printer is not apple compatible. Its’ also nice just to check out my art on a Windows machine and an Apple Machine so I have a better idea how it may show up on different screens.

Basically it’s an easier program for me to use, and it checks off all the boxes I have for illustration. There’s no need for me to keep photoshop anymore, especially now they are playing around with their subscription prices.

Coughing and Writing

I’ve been sick with a cold for two weeks, and I’m pretty tired of feeling yucky. I’ve been sleeping a lot, and seeing how fast I can beat my last record of going through a box of tissues.

The good news is, I’m also writing a lot more. I have a couple story ideas that I’m really excited about, and so I’m writing my first drafts which are AWFUL, and that’s wonderful. If writing is like cleaning out a closet, the first draft is emptying the closet and throwing everything on the bed. All your ideas are out there, messy and disorganized, but once you work through it, you know you’ll have a good story/ tidy closet.

So far my writing process goes like this:

  1. Write two sentences
  2. Stare into space.
  3. Write another sentence
  4. Stare into space visualizing the scene and curse once I realized I stopped typing.
  5. Try to “rewind” visualization and type it out poorly.
  6. Make a cup of hot cocoa and wish it was the kind with marshmallows.

I’m having a BLAST. 🙂

A thumb drive from 2011

About a year ago, I cleaned out the back of my closet and sorted through old boxes. There was this thumb drive that was covered in fuzz and dust and I almost threw it away, but thought “I better make sure nothing is on it.” And then I put it on my desk and avoided it.

I assumed that it would be full of old forms and documents from my working in higher education. My last job wasn’t a healthy experience for me, and I wasn’t ready to bring back memories and sort through the files yet. I wanted a cup of tea, a sunny day, and a good feeling.

Today is snowy, I’m a little cranky, and too impatient to make tea. My desk is cluttered and I better see what’s on this stupid thing before I throw it away. And I was surprised. There was a folder of old tax returns, a folder of work documents (already labeled) and a folder that said “Fun fun fun”. I opened it, and there were two stories. One had a brief outline and some thoughts and the other was outlined and 8000 words written. I vaguely remembered these ideas and checked the date: 2011, my last year working in higher education. I left my job at the end of the spring semester in 2012 to pursue children’s book illustration.

I had forgotten that I wrote to help escape my job. To just find some comfort. I also found a letter I wrote “To Future Me” and in it 2011 Me wrote “This is really happening.” and outlined all the horrible things that were happening on a regular basis at my work with a note of “Because you’ll start to forget and doubt if you did the right thing.”

I carefully cleaned off the sweater fuzz from the drive and put it away. I’m going to finish those stories for my past self. But first, a cup of hot tea.


Photo credit Autumn Seybert 2019


Back from a short break

I went away to Florida for a week, and it was really lovely. The weather was warm, sunny, and full of warm breezes. Did I mention it was warm? I’ve sorely missed feeling warm. Even my toes felt warm!

I’ve been doing some unofficial polling, and the general feedback seems to be that weekly posting would be enjoyable, so I will endeavor to fulfill those wishes, kind followers.

You may have noticed some updates to the website! I’m working on making it user friendly. If you encounter something frustrating or have a suggestion to make, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

The kidlit community is proud to support students around the globe who are on school strikes to voice their concern for our planet’s future. The above image is my contribution- to find out how you can get involved, check out this website