book illustration

All posts tagged book illustration

Beyond The Bramble: Advance Reader’s Copy Cover Art

Published August 2, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Since the last time I wrote on here I have been working on two very different projects, so I figured that it would make the most sense to just write two separate posts. You can expect the second post to show up sometime early in this week, so keep checking! The first project that I did over the past two weeks was the cover art for my friend Sarah Marie Bacavis’s children’s fantasy adventure book, Beyond The Bramble. I probably mentioned before that this was just the cover for the Advance Reader’s Copy; that first run that she will be sending to her early readers to get some feedback before she starts shopping the book to any literary agents or publishers. At a later date I will be designing a more detailed cover that will be used for the final print when it is ready for submission. During the second half of of July I started designing some of the characters from her story to use in the artwork, which was mostly what my last blog post was about. After I got the go-ahead on the character sketches, I began to sketch out a layout for the cover. I used her original sketch as my main source of reference.

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Also, this picture of her actual dachshund, Annette.

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I changed the layout of the cover a bit, and I made sure to incorporate “Advanced Reader’s Copy” into the design. Here is what I came up with:

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I made sure to leave plenty of “bleed zone” this time, because now that I’ve learned so much about the online printing process through my own book (much to my husband and layout artist Martyn’s chagrin), I now know that most printers require a bleed area about as wide as my wrist on all sides. Sarah really liked the sketch, but later decided that the word “Advanced” should actually be “Advance.” Luckily, I hadn’t inked it yet at that point, so this was a very easy fix.

Here’s some point during the inking process:

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Here’s the inking completed:

Beyond The Bramble Advance Reader LineworkAt some point while I was inking this, I washed my hands and got some soapy water trapped under my big scary Medusa biker ring. I discovered this as I was drawing some perfectly clean little detail lines with a micron pen when SUDDENLY EVERYTHING WAS ALL WET AND SMUDGING MY INK EVERYWHERE!!! Not to be melodramatic or anything, because in the long run this is never too big of a problem. Minor smudges like the ones you can see around the goblin Wilden’s right ear and hat always seem to disappear once I add the many layers of overlying color. Still, I really hate it when that happens and I need to remember to not wear any clunky jewelry while I’m working!

To prove how not a big deal that smudge was though, here’s what the drawing looked like after color:

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Since the final design will be a cropped version of this image minus all the bleed zone on the outside, here is how I imagine it will probably look on the cover of the book:

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Or something like that. Sarah seemed really psyched about the finished cover art and recently ordered the first run of books from Lulu. I can’t wait to see how they come out!

So yeah, more about that other project in my next post!

 

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Book First Print!

Published May 18, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Guess who got the first test print of her book from back from Office Depot yesterday?

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Martyn up finished formatting the text on Sunday and we made some last final edits just before it went to the printer. Although it’s just a test print dummy from an office supply store (note the spiral binding instead of what will eventually be a real hardback cover) the pages still look absolutely beautiful and quality! The text and the layout also worked out perfectly, including some of the trickier pages that had multiple spot illustrations or double-page spreads. At first I was a little bummed out and worried when I found out that I wouldn’t be able get my first printed copy from bookbaby in time for the SCBWI Spring Conference this weekend, but now I’m just glad that this test print ended up working out so well. It’ll definitely be more than good enough to show off my vision for the book at the conference!

Here’s a close-up of the cover. The protective sheet of laminate makes it near impossible to photograph but hopefully you get the idea.

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If you are someone who gets to see me in person on a regular basis I’d be more than happy to show you the first print of the book. It represents about a year and three months of hard work. If that thing was a human baby it would be six months old already!

Besides finishing up this first not-so-dummy copy of my book over the weekend, I also have been working on one last final piece for my portfolio. It’s another illustration of Lucia because she’s pretty, and because I wanted to have more examples of my illustration style besides just the artwork from my book. I know I posted this on my Facebook/Instragram already, but here was the line drawing before I began any of the coloring:

Lucia Linework

I’m almost finished with the coloring now and I hope to be all done with it by the end of the night. I’ll post the completed illustration tomorrow if I can!

So yeah, this weekend I finished the test print of my book, almost finished the last illustration for my portfolio, and I even remembered to vote!

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I feel very productive. I also might have even had two job interviews lined up for this week, but I’m not even going to tell you about that. You’ll just have to guess if that’s true or not till next time. Bye!

 

Never Judge a Book by its Cover

Published April 15, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I know that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover…but I mean come on, have you even seen this thing?

Kris & Krampus Front Cover

My Three Jobs

Published March 23, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

So I was just going to do another illustration in progress post when I realized that I also have a few cool work in progress photos from my other two jobs. The week before last was the release of the March Fearless Flyer at Trader Joe’s. I usually have very little emotional attachment for the artwork I create at T.J.’s because it’s often so strictly regulated, overdone, and such a long shot from any of the subjects that I would willingly choose to illustrate. Also, due to the frequent impossible time restraints I sometimes either have to crank out something of substandard quality that I would never bother to post here or anywhere else, cut out lots of artwork and original ideas entirely, or just finish the Flyer artwork a week after the Flyer has already landed. This past week was the latter but at least it afforded me enough extra time to actually make some things that I could be proud of.

March is the Spring Flyer so I wanted to make some kind of visual reference to blooming flowers. St. Patrick’s Day and Easter are both this month so I also wanted to sneak in some clover and pastel, Spring-y colors. The boss wanted us to include this Victorian clip art dude from the front page of the Flyer.

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I don’t know why he is a goose-stepping scuba diver with riding pants or what that has to do with springtime…maybe a reference to a certain song from The Producers? Whatever this dude’s problem is, I did my very best to incorporate him into the seasonal theme on the template I made for all of the Flyer shelf signs.

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I redrew him in that same black and white woodcut style and colored in the rest of the template in an attempt to create that whole colorizing effect they used in Wizard of Oz and Pleasantville…like he’s bringing back color and life to the landscape with his scuba diving riding wizard staff. For some reason, something about this seems very post-apocalyptic to me.

Later I also designed a big sign of the same weird dude to hang in the entrance of the store. Here’s my thumbnail sketch:

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Here’s what the final sign ended up looking like. You probably can’t tell from the photo but the guy is somewhat 3-D and pops out from the background.

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Then, as if I hadn’t drawn that stupid guy enough, I also made a chalkboard sign for the entrance of the store. This time I only drew his helmet to mix it up a bit and suggest that maybe he eventually perished in said post-apocalyptic world and was returned to nature.

March to Value Chalkboard

Today I was working on a thumbnail sketch for my next big sign project. It was requested that I just make a giant garlic clove to point to the often overlooked crushed garlic in the frozen section. This will be interesting. So far I’ve drawn a Victorian garlic clove hot air balloon since this company really loves its nonsensical Victorian clip art. I might even donate one of the plastic garlic cloves that I have at home in my craft supplies to use as part of the anchor. Yes, I do have a bag full of plastic garlic cloves at home. You really can find anything at SCRAP PDX.

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After my last shift of the week at Trader Joe’s on Friday I went over to the Vine Gogh painting studio in Sellwood so that Paul could teach me the painting I would be teaching on Sunday. In case you didn’t realize, my second job is teaching part-time as an art instructor.

A little backstory: After six years of working five days/forty hours a week at Trader Joe’s while I struggled to complete my own artwork and serious portfolio stuff on the side, I had a major mental and psychical burnout. I came to the realization that I no longer saw T.J.’s as my desired long-term career, but as just a job to pay the bills and keep me afloat as I work hard on becoming who I actually wanted to be when I grow up. To this day I am still struggling to work all of that out, but my decision to cut back at T.J.’s from five days a week to four days a week at the end of last year has so far proven to be one of the best that I have ever made. At first I was terrified of the pay cut and of the possibility of losing our health insurance, so I made sure that I still worked the minimum 30 hours required to qualify for insurance each week and I found a second job to use as my financial safety net. I had never really thought of teaching art before I started teaching at Vine Gogh–but as it turns out, not only am I really good at it, but I also really love doing it. It’s a pretty fulfilling feeling when someone over the age of 60 tells you that they have never painted before in their entire life and that you have just taught them something that they wish they had known all along…and given them enough confidence in themselves to finally give it a try. After my class on Sunday a woman slipped me an extra twenty buck tip and personally thanked me for being such a big help. I’m pretty sure that I have never gotten that kind of appreciation at my day job before!

I teach these painting classes at art studios in Sellwood and in Tigard. Each class is only about three hours long, so whenever I teach on the weekend I usually still have the rest of that day to work on my own artwork. Both studios have a bar, so people will attend the classes as a social outing, order drinks, and then create a painting as I break it down for them step by step, Bob Ross style. Right now they’re building a second studio right next door to the one in Tigard called Vincent’s Loft. It’s going to have turn of the century, steampunk kinda decor and offer classes other than the usual acrylic paintings on canvas. We’ve been throwing around ideas of me teaching illustration classes, cartooning and caricature, other mediums like watercolor, colored pencil, and pen and ink, and even polymer clay sculpture. I can’t wait to see how it’s all going to turn out…it’s just really nice to have something to look forward to again!

The work in progress pictures I have from the painting classes actually aren’t of me or my painting. I just took these photos of Paul in action when he was teaching me one of his own paintings on a small canvas so that I could teach it on Sunday. I guess you could say that they’re more like my notes than anything, but it’s cool to see how he busted this quickie version of it out in like ten minutes.

This is the painting that he was teaching me, Mountain Lake:

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Here’s him working in the same sequence that I later used to teach this painting.

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Note: This is the point where, when I was teaching this painting, everyone took a drink break and let the background dry.

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Additional Note: That highlight on the mountains is a total Bob Ross palette knife technique that we modified for an acrylic paint brush. This is probably the most Bob Ross painting I’ve taught so far.

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Happy trees.

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That’s it! Seriously, this whole thing only took him about ten minutes. It took me just under three hours to teach it (on bigger canvases than this, though.)

So Vine Gogh has been a very good thing for me so far. Although a second job generally means more work, I feel that it has actually allowed me more time to work on my third, last, and most important “job” that I have–making my children’s book. I really have been treating this more like a job than ever lately because that is what I want this to eventually become. I no longer want to be stuck in this place where I have to rely on doing something that I find boring for the majority of my time in order to make a living, and as a result am forced to treat my own artwork and true passions as just a cute hobby whenever I can get to them. I’ve devoted most of my life up to this point to becoming a serious working artist with my art as my main profession, so I’m still just doing whatever I can to shift things around until I can finally feel like I have achieved that goal. It’s been a very interesting ride so far.

Here’s some few work in progress photos from my latest pages.

The pencil drawing. This photo is cropped oddly but you can see about where the center fold of the book would be (it’s going to be a double page spread.)

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Inked over the pencil:

Hug Inked with Pencil

Pencil lines erased:

Hug Pencil Erased

I hope to either finish the coloring on this tonight or come really dang close to it. I will then have pages 30-31 out of 32 completed! After that I will only have the cover, title page, and dedication page art left to go (and formatting all the text…but at least I will have some help with that part!) Yup. Takin’ names.

 

 

Leap Day Victory and a Newer New Tattoo

Published March 2, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Here’s just a quickie follow up from my last post. I will make another more informative post at a later, not-so-distant time.

I finished that illustration I was working on last week. Thanks to Leap Day I was still able to accomplish my personal goal of completing it by the end of February, even though I had totally forgotten about Leap Day so maybe that’s cheating. Whatever, I’ll still take it.

Here’s the finished scan:

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Also, I got ANOTHER new tattoo from Sarah Crosley at Oddball Tattoo. It’s of a Brian Froud goblin, Flootsim the belly button lint nabber from the book “Goblins!” I swear that I’ve had the tattoo appointment for several weeks and that I didn’t just get this to suck up to any certain workshop-teaching people, but it is a funny coincidence.

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Final Illustration Scan and a Whole Lotta Meat

Published February 13, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Here’s an end-of -the-week, beginning-of-the-weekend post to show you what I’ve been up to. First up is that final illustration from my last post, only a much nicer scan instead of that cruddy phone photo I posted.

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I’ve even done another spot illustration since this to go beneath it on the same page…but I purposefully cropped it out to keep it a surprise (no spoilers!)

Also, I don’t usually like to post a lot of my Trader Joe’s artwork unless it’s something that I particularly like…however,  I did do a series of steak and red meat “portraits” over the past couple of days that I think turned out rather well. As has become the unfortunate standard, I wasn’t given nearly enough time to complete this enormous project that was to become a permanent fixture for the meat section. This project that was originally due “whenever” was suddenly bumped up to a Valentine’s Day due date–which was in a mere couple of days–making it yet another sign emergency to tackle while I was also scheduled on a register for three hours each day. I don’t even want to say any more about how I feel about it because that would be unprofessional, and I’m sure it’s plenty obvious enough as it is. ANYWAY despite the extreme rush job of the whole thing, which ended up being less that two seven and a half hour shifts, I still think I did a pretty good job. Here’s the group photo of the first round of steaks: Flat Iron Steak, Fillet Mignon, Top Sirloin, New York Strip, and Ribeye; all paint marker on foam core and larger than life-sized.

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Five out of six of them were painted in one shift and I saved the beef brisket and the next five for the second day. Here it is with the brisket finished:

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Close up of the Brisket:

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Close up of the Flat Iron Steak:

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Close up of the Filet Mignon:

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Close up of the Top Sirloin:

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Close up of the New York Strip:

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Close up of my favorite steak of all and also the most fun to draw, the Ribeye:

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Here’s the group shot of the rest of that second round of meat that I made yesterday; Tri Tip Roast, Steak Tips, Pot Roast, and Flank Steak:

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Even after I volunteered to stay forty minutes late to work on this, I still wasn’t given enough time to finish the very last illustration, Stew Meat. I was kinda sad about that but as usual, nobody cared. Luckily another artist I work with finished it for me and it ended up looking really good.

Close up of the Tri Tip Roast:

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Close up of the Steak Tips (fajita steak!)

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Close up of the Pot Roast (the hardest one to do in so little time.)

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Close up of the Flank Steak:

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That’s all I got. Oh, and everyone happened to find the state of my desktop right now to be quite amusing and disturbing.

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I’ll be an awful and lazy person and quote my own Facebook post on the subject…

Some points worth noting:

1. My choice of background image on my desktop right now and pretty much always is Rick Baker’s masterpiece from An American Werewolf in London.

2. My desktop is full of stock photos of children comforting each other because I needed some reference images for a particular pose in the book that I’m illustrating.

3. My desktop is also full of images of steak and slabs of red meat from the Valentine’s meat display project that I was just working on at Trader Joe’s. Also a few pictures of people wearing creepy paper masks and a file entitled “Brown Granny Boots” for some shoes I was going to list on eBay.

See, so it’s not what it looks like…but I think if Little Red Riding Hood stole my laptop right now, she would probably give it back.

 

 

 

 

Four Paneled Illustration Completed

Published February 4, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Over the past weekend I also finished those last two panels of that four paneled illustration I had been working on. I don’t have a lot of in-progress pics but I did get a few. My last post was mostly a lot of words, a couple of photos, but nothing actually from my book, so I’ll just make this one start out a lot of pictures of my book illustrations in sequential order.

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Oh and here’s an actual scan of it that I got yesterday after I took off all the tape:

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The painter’s tape actually tore up the borders much more than I thought it would when I removed it, but I suppose that’s nothing that I can’t fix up later with the computer.

I’m not going to post every page from now on like this because I still want the storyline to be a surprise, but I’ll probably be posting some more in-progress stuff as I go along. Next I’ll working on page number 26 out of 32…getting much closer now!