The Brotherhood of the Stinky Underpants | My copies arrived!

By heather at 6:45 pm on Thursday, February 19, 2009

hera stinky underpants elizabeth austin picturebook toilet training

Eeeeee, my copies of The Brotherhood of the Stinky Underpants arrived in the post this week! I’m very pleased with the colours and how they turned out so close to the original illustrations. The book is available online and some of the illustrations from inside can be seen here.

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Bonanza of greeting card tips at Whimsy

By heather at 4:44 pm on Friday, October 31, 2008

Debbie Ohi wrote a kind post about a few of my greeting card tips… her young site is dedicated to everything to do with greeting cards, and already has some great tips, worth keeping an eye on!

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Quick Green Promotional Ideas | iPhoto Calendars

By heather at 4:56 am on Thursday, October 2, 2008

It’s that time of year again to start thinking about promotional items! I’m always on the look out for new ideas for promotional items that a) show a sampling of my illustration styles, b) aren’t too expensive, and c) are green, (i.e. reusable by the recipient, have little waste in the printing process, and made with recycled content.)

My favourite reusable promotion idea is a calendar… it’s an excellent way to feature your artwork because it isn’t just filed away in a folder with other artist samples, and it’s seen and used every day for a year by the recipient and their coworkers. (Your art out in plain view = good. Your art in a filing cabinet = bad.)

So this year I put together a 2009 Calendar of my recent children’s book illustrations, featuring illustrations from The Little Boy’s Smile, Tartan Meets the Queen, Good-Bye, Baby Max, Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise, Bookie and the Scoliosis Diagnosis, and The Brotherhood of the Stinky Underpants.

iPhoto Calendars & Print-On Demand : Putting the calendar together couldn’t have been easier, as instead of creating it from scratch and handling the printing myself, I used iPhoto and was done assembling my calendar in about an hour. And conveniently, you can order your calendar through iPhotos print-on-demand service (i.e. only print & pay for the quantity you need.)

The lovely thing about print-on-demand is you only print what you need… whereas if you go with offset printing, you have to print a high-quantity which can bring down the cost per-calendar, but also means you may end up with a lot of unused & wasted promotional materials (not very green). Another benefit of print-on-demand for low quantity printing is you can create multiple promotional calendars tailored to specific target audiences at no extra cost to you.

Green Printing Specs :  I contacted Apple Photo Services directly to find out how environmentally conscious their products are, and was informated that their printed products use environmentally friendly materials. They use McCoy paper stock (by Sappi) which contains 10% post-consumer recycled content, is certified by both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and the electricity to produce the paper was generated with 100% renewable energy. They also use nontoxic and recyclable dry inks for printing. You can find more product specs on iPhoto printed products here.

So there you have it, an easy reusable promotional item that’s quick to put together, not too expensive and green! If you’re interested in a copy of my new, (colourful, heavy stock, coil bound 10.5 x 13 inch, 12 month) 2009 Calendar, you can order a signed copy through my Etsy shop.

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Bookie And the Scoliosis Diagnosis | Books Arrived!

By heather at 7:40 pm on Tuesday, August 26, 2008

bookie and the scoliosis diagnosis books everbest printing children's book

Eeeee, I’m having a very fun month for exciting packages arriving in the mail… Nina Saab just sent me copies of our book, Bookie & The Scoliosis Diagnosis, yippee! Everbest printing did a great job on the printing, it has a nice feel to it and the colours turned out very close to the original artwork. You can purchase the book here (CDN$21.95), and proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Children’s Hospitals Orthopedic Divisions. Nina also has launched a Scoliosis Diagnosis website with information on scoliosis you can check out here.

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Bonkers Orphan Works Act of 2008

By heather at 5:27 am on Tuesday, May 27, 2008

At first I was horrified to read this post on Drawn! about the Orphan Works Act and the adverse affects it could have on protecting illustration copyrights. But then I started reading some of the responses to said post, and came across Dan Heller’s writeup  which served me up some humble pie, as I realized I had taken on this doom & gloom perspective on the act without actually reading it myself! So I recommend to other illustrators out there who have heard of this act and have had a similar lump-in-your-throat reaction to it that I did… have a read of the actual act, or Dan’s dissection of it, then make up your mind! As for me, I don’t feel so worried about it… I’ll just keep making sure my work has my name on it, and do what I can to not make it easy for people to steal my images online or otherwise.

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Top 10 Illustrations by Heather Castles

By heather at 5:59 pm on Thursday, May 8, 2008

Well after a little navel gazing, I’ve updated my Top 10 Illustrations list…

Tom Krause |”The Little Boy’s Smile” children’s book illustrations

(Read on …)

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myPANTONE | Sharing Colour Palettes

By heather at 1:56 am on Wednesday, March 12, 2008

colour color picker software mypantone pantone

I’ve been testing out the myPANTONE online account coupled with their colour picker software, as I wanted to start saving palettes from my illustrations for future use.

colour color picker software mypantone pantone

The myPANTONE online account is kind of fun, in the sense that you’re part of a colour loving community with a lot of colour inspiration available to you. The best part is sharing & collecting colour palettes… I’ve created an account and am sharing palettes from my children’s book illustrations.

colour color picker software mypantone pantone

When you click on any individual palette, you can see the palette in more detail… rolling over the swatches brings up their Pantone and RGB values. You can also upload an image that inspired the palette, as well as tag your palettes with keywords that describe it, so it’s easier for others to find. The futuristic sound effects every time you load the page is kind of irritating though.

colour color picker software mypantone pantone

The myPANTONE colour picker software is pretty easy to use… you can either create palettes from a colour wheel, or select an image and choose from it 12 swatches of colours to create your palette. The tabbed navigation is not user-friendly, as there is no text, just an obscure square patch of colour… you have to wait for the mouse-over text to pop up to see what the tab is for.

My main beef with it is that you can’t select more than 12 swatches of colour… and I use about 20+ colours to colour an entire children’s book digitally, so it isn’t quite the best all around colour picker for me. For my personal use, I may have to stick to creating my swatches in Photoshop and saving the palettes after each project… and just use the myPANTONE account & software for sharing & finding inspiration for colour.

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The paperless home… and art studio!

By heather at 2:35 pm on Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The New Yorker has an interesting article on how homes have adopted the “paperless” mentality much faster than businesses have. I know this is true for me at home, which includes my art studio… I use an online phonebook, don’t print out my emails, download my bills as PDFs, do my banking online, create backups for digital files online rather than printing them out…
But the article reports that while homes have adopted a paperless mentality, they are also starting to use more energy with the increasing use of their electronic devices (computers, scanners, printers, digital cameras…) It brings up a good point to consider for the home-based art studio… while you have gone paperless, have you increased your energy use as a result? Are there ways you can reduce your increased energy use? (Such as unplugging electrical equipment when it’s not in use.) I’ve posted some ideas in my Green Tips for Designers & Illustrators… if you have any more ideas let me know!!!

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Is your artwork on Facebook copyright safe?

By heather at 1:56 pm on Monday, February 11, 2008

Yipes! My colleague Crystal Driedger did a little digging into Facebook’s terms for uploaded User Content (photos, illustrations, videos, text, etc.) and what she found wasn’t encouraging for creatives who post their work on Facebook! While I love Facebook for keeping in touch with friends & colleagues, I was pretty dissappointed to read in their Terms that they can use any of the content I’ve uploaded for their own purposes (commercial, advertising, derivative works…) without owing me a dime. Check out Crystal’s post on Faceboook & Proprietary Property.

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2007 Illustrations | Year in Review

By heather at 7:12 pm on Friday, January 11, 2008

I’ve been catching up on archiving my projects from the past year, and had fun looking over the 157 illustrations I completed in 2007 (clicking on the image above will bring up a bigger picture!)

Was a busy year for me, with illustrating 6 children’s books (Good-bye Baby Max, My Best Worst Sleepover Party Ever, Little Land Adventures, Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise, Bookie and the Scoliosis Diagnosis, and The Brotherhood of the Stinky Underpants); 10 signs/banners for Parks Canada; a brochure for the Library of Parliament of Canada; a chip bag illustration; a couple Threadless t-shirt contest entries (Kantina and Twisted Sister); 4 seashell mosaics; 10 greeting card illustrations; and several personal pieces.

I’ve focused on improving my illustration skills by experimenting with painting in acrylics, and being more attentive to the human form in my children’s books in particular (the fruit of which you’ll see in my current projects…) But most significant for me this year has been expecting our first baby, and discovering all the challenges of illustrating while pregnant :)

Filed under: work in progress, inspiration, illustrations, business of illustration1 Comment »
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