Hi everyone, I'm pleased to be able to contribute to our PBAA blog, thanks to June for her patience in getting me in here despite an over-zealous spam filter.
Inspired by Ellen and Paula's sketches I wanted to address the topic of revisions on pencils. I''m wondering how many folks use a Wacom tablet and Photoshop to handle their revisions? I wanted to take the chance to describe my process in the hope that others will also share theirs.
I love pencil (4B Matt Black) on paper but once the initial sketch is done I hate to revisit the paper and recently I have been handling all revisions digitally. For my latest educational assignments I've used Painter IX for the color rendering as well (artist's oils with pen line). The beauty of the tablet and Photoshop is of course the ability to move elements around in the picture frame as well as resize, remove and add objects.
For instance, this sketch for the cover of a historical reader I am working on for a Spanish publisher (US division) specs were given on the cover so I had no direction on this before this initial sketch other than the text and other icons to appear on the cover. I kept the drawing fairly loose (though I borrowed elements from some of the interior spreads - another advantage of Photoshop). It is a wraparound with the back cover on the left. You will see multiple time-frames within the scene illustrated. Now I just received comments back from the AD/editor and they think that the chronology mixing will be confusing for the readers but a collage approach might work. To take this image and work it into a collage with vignetted elements is not a HUGE job with Photoshop. To redraw the entire image would be.


Consie said...

Stephen - Thank you for posting this lovely sketch and also for bring up the subject of Wacom/Photoshop for revisions. Like you, I dearly love sketching with pencil, but I'm finding that doing the revisions in PS is a monumental timesaver in many ways. As you describe, there's not the element of redrawing. But I find that I am much more free in initial drawings, knowing how easily I can tweak or move or modify things, without having to use the old artograph (still have it; don't use it any more) or redraw. The project I'm working on now is one that PS has been incredibly valuable for. I've drawn certain elements entirely separate (various critters), not having to worry about relative size or scale as I draw them. Then when I'm ready to put them in my spread, I can scale them up, down, flip them over, move them around. All kinds of good stuff. I'll try to post a few sketches to show this, before long. But this is a fantastic method for doing roughs; I'm constantly back and forth from the computer to the drawing table.

John Nez said...

Monumental Timesaver!

That's a very apt description.

I'd think it'd behoove any illustrator who's ever had revisions to learn Photoshop.

I remember that was the worst part of the job... getting those pages back with all the red marks for changes.

But now it's just click, click, click and it's done.


Stephen Aitken said...

Thanks Consie and John for your comments.
Isn't it interesting that the technological development of Photoshop and Painter can contribute to the liberation of the creative process. I have encountered many situations as you describe so well in your comment Consie and knowing that you can resize/flip/move/remove elements just allows you to jump right now and get going. Also, later on in the final art I find that I approach my watercolors much more freely, knowing that I can always clean up unwanted splashes, blops and blips in PS later on after the scan.
I look forward to seeing more sketches.

Paula said...

Stephen, this is a lovely sketch! Actually, I think this and Ellen's qualify as actual drawings. That quickie thing I posted really was a sketch.

Anyway, yes, photoshop. There was a time when I thought I'd never see the day when I'd praise a computer program. Now, like today when I'm facing a whole day of scanning and tinkering 32 pages of sketches and a cover in PS, I can honestly say I don't know how I functioned without it!


Ellen B said...

Whenever I look at this I am reminded of walking down Fifth Ave in NYC on the east side of Central Park. Wondering how that collage approach worked out.