A Happy Easter Tweet!

By heather at 1:11 am on Sunday, April 1, 2012

heather castles easter chicks eggs imagezoo royalty free colouring page

Here’s an Easter tweet for your little ones! (Just right click to view full sized image, and save from there to your desktop.) If you post a link to your child’s finished coloured in page, I’ll post it up here to share with other readers :) Here’s the link to last year’s Easter colouring page free to download.
heather castles easter chicks eggs imagezoo royalty free colouring page I used my ipad to vectorize (digitally trace!) my illustration in InkPad using a 50c rubber-tipped stylus I picked up on eBay. (Please keep in mind this colouring page is for personal use only, the original illustration is from my royalty-free collection available at Imagezoo.com.)

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Happy Birthday Mama!

By heather at 8:10 pm on Friday, March 30, 2012

heather castles ugly happy birthday mama

hera castles happy birthday mamaWas my birthday yesterday (32!), so I treated myself with a little arty time. I had stumbled across other artists who came up with some illustrations based on children’s drawings, and had a go with my Ugly Mermaids illustration. So when my daughter Hera drew a picture of me (left), herself & Hank on my birthday last year… I had to have another go at it! Busy life as a mum has kept me from colouring in my pencil drawing till today :) Again I used Sketchbook Pro on my iPad to do the colouring, and to touch up a couple child-induced spills!

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Happy Halloween! (free colouring page)

By heather at 9:32 pm on Thursday, October 27, 2011

heather castles imagezoo halloween seasonal illustration trick-or-treat watercolour colouring pageHas been a while since I’ve posted… still loving being off on maternity leave, my kids are keeping me busy! Halloween is around the corner… paper bats, kleenex ghosts, and paper mache pumpkins adorn our windows… and here in South Australia spring has sprung and the birds are singing, the flowers are budding, and the leaves are GROWING BACK! So it’s a bit weird having Halloween in the spring, but hey, we’ll have fun anyway!

Had a little time to turn one of my watercolours into a colouring page for Hera, thought I’d share! (Just right click to view full sized image, and save from there to your desktop.) I enjoyed using my ipad to vectorize (digitally trace!) this illustration in InkPad using my new rubber-tipped stylus I picked up for 50 cents on eBay.

(Please keep in mind this colouring page is for personal use only, the original illustration is from my royalty-free seasons collection and is available at Imagezoo.com.)

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Inspired by Dave DeVries | Ugly Mermaids

By heather at 5:59 pm on Tuesday, June 7, 2011

heather castles ugly mermaids pencil illustration ipad sketchbook pro

Lately I haven’t had much time for illustrating, as being a mum of two little kids takes up all my spare time. I’m enjoying the occasional creative outlet with drawing things for my daughter to colour… mainly her riding on dragons and dinosaurs!
hera castles drawings ugly mermaids inspirationI did manage to squeeze in this illustration… I was inspired a while back by Dave DeVries illustrations derived from his children’s artwork, and thought it would be fun to give it a go! A few months back Hera suddenly learned how to draw “people” and I ended up with a stack of paper full of families of people with arms and legs freely growing out of their heads… couldn’t let them go to waste! So I traced one, used the head shape, mouth & eyes, arms & legs as the basis for my pencil drawing “Ugly Mermaids.” I then gave it a little colour using my iPad with a Dagi Stylus and Sketchbook Pro. Hera’s original drawing is shown at left. Hope to do more of these, they were fun… am currently working on illustrating the drawing Hera drew of me having my birthday ;)

Filed under: illustrations, Hera, ipad7 Comments »

Free Easter Coloring Page

By heather at 4:50 pm on Monday, April 18, 2011

heather castles easter colouring free coloring page

Easter Eggs © Heather Castles

With Easter around the corner, I thought I’d illustrate a few Easter coloring pages to keep Hera busy for a while! Feel free to download the PDF colouring page and enjoy scribbling away! (And if you email me your little one’s colouring efforts, I’ll post them here for them to show the world :)

inkpadI had drawn this illustration a year ago as a concept sketch, then yesterday used Inkpad on my iPad to vectorize the pencil illustration… loved using that program, was the first time I had used it and it felt very natural tracing my illustration on the iPad with my dagi stylus. Even made me think Adobe has some serious competition… I love Adobe Illustrator, but when you can buy an app app like Inkpad for $4.99 which is so easy to use, why would anyone want to spend hundreds of dollars on the desktop version?

p.s. If you’re looking for more coloring pages for your little ones, you’ll also love this adorable April colouring page by Crystal Driedger.

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Kindle indie-author making millions… at $.99 a book!

By heather at 3:28 pm on Thursday, March 3, 2011

This is a great article for authors / childrens book illustrators who want to get their books out there digitally. To sum up, authors are making their e-books available through app stores at affordable prices… and making it big.

E-books are the next generation of self-publishing… or e-publishing. It’s inexpensive to create an e-book, and as easy as creating a PDF… do a quick google search and there are many articles on how to build your own e-book. I also love the fact that the impact on the environment is low… you aren’t wasting paper by printing thousands of books, are saving the cost of fuel in distributing the books, etc. Because authors are saving on the up front costs of printing their books, as well as publishing themselves and cutting out the middle-men (printers, publishers & shipping), they are able to price their books lower and reach a wider audience.

“While traditional novelists only see a very small amount of royalties on their book if it’s not a best seller, Hocking gets 70% of all money from her book sales. Since she sells around 100,000 copies of her books per month, that’s a lot of money.”

I bought my first e-book this week (Ready, Set, Green : Treehugger.com), and I must say I was miffed that it was priced the same as the printed paper version… if I have the choice between a paper book and a digital book at the same price, I would pick the paper book hands down. It just doesn’t make sense why publishers would price these e-books at the same price as printed books if they are saving so much money on printing & distribution. (Who wants to spend a lot of money on something that can be duplicated with as little effort as typing Apple-C-Apple-V?)
There are ebooks also available as iPad apps for kids… iBook comes with a free copy of Milne’s classic Winnie the Pooh, and in the app store there are many free picture books for kids (The Grouchies by Debbie Wagenbach.) Children’s book authors/illustrators have a great opportunity to add e-books alongside their printed book offerings.

P.S. If anyone comes across a great how-to for building a picture e-book, please let me know! I’m going to give it a go myself at some point on my own picture books, but being on maternity leave it’s not exactly a high priority over changing diapers at the moment ;)

Kindle indie author is making millions by selling the App Store way” via Geek.com

Filed under: green design, childrens books, business of illustration, ipad3 Comments »

Little Things

By heather at 6:24 pm on Thursday, February 10, 2011

heathe castles illustration hank little preemie baby clothing ipad illustration

Here’s a little doodle I did in my sketchbook of Hank’s preemie clothes (close to actual size.) I just loved how little they were so wanted to capture that! I’m not planning on doing a series as I’ve done with my diary of Hera’s stuff, but couldn’t resist doing this one at least :) This one is just ink on paper, and I’ve scanned it and applied colour on my iPad with Sketchbook Pro using a Dagi stylus.

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Sketchbook Pro | finger painting study of feet

By heather at 1:24 am on Monday, October 4, 2010

sketchbookpro1.jpg

My second go using Sketchbook Pro (my first go being to digitally colour this scanned pen illustration) was fun, just did a study of my feet while watching the tv (yes, they are bare in the winter, yes I am pregnant!) This is the first time I’ve done something painterly with digital medium and was pleased with how it turned out… but was a bit more awkward this time around using my finger to draw with, especially for finer details, so am looking forward to picking up a stylus.

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Hera’s Stuff | Finger painting using Sketchbook Pro on iPad

By heather at 11:27 pm on Monday, September 27, 2010

2_peruvian_top.jpg

Here’s another of my drawings for my diary of Hera’s stuff, a little Oilily top with Peruvian doll pattern. I used a completely different “medium” for colouring this illustration digitally… used my iPad! I’ve been loving my iPad (my 30th birthday present) and I use it more than my imac now due to its portability and super functional apps.

So this weekend I took the plunge, broke the bank and spent $7.95 to buy Sketchbook Pro, the acclaimed sketching app for the ipad by Autodesk… and LOVE it. I’m not much of a digital illustrator, but I do like to colour my pen/pencil drawings on occasion on the computer.

I gave it a go yesterday for the first time, and must say it’s a much nicer experience colouring on screen with my fingertips than it is using a digital pen and looking up at a monitor. Not to mention was pretty cool being able to draw on my iPad away from the computer snuggled up in bed! It’s extremely intuitive to use, and aside from a few pages showing you how to use the program I didn’t need to look up any supporting documentation to figure out how to adapt it to my illustration style. From start to finish, the app is very simple to use, I just :

  • • Dragged the scan of my “real” pen drawing into an Album in iPhoto I’ve dedicated to artwork.
  • • Plugged my iPad into the laptop to sync with iTunes.
  • • In the iTunes iPad Photo tab I set it to automatically sync all images from my iPhoto artwork album every time I connect my iPad. (Note : the Sketchbook Pro app has the ability to “Add” images to itself from iTunes, I just didn’t find it worked. The “Send To” button DID work however, which is how I later got the PSD file out of iTunes)
  • • Once the sync was done, just opened up Sketchbook Pro and clicked on “Open Image” icon to access my photos on the iPad, and found the album titled “artwork” and found my sketch.
  • • From there I found it similar to working in Photoshop, in that you have layers to work with (and can set the opacity of, or adjust to multiply or screen), a myriad of drawing tools. I found I kept wanting to do more (like cut, paste, use the magic wand…) to finish up the illustration, but found the drawing experience itself very enjoyable. Especially zooming in and moving around the image, felt much more intuitive than using keyboard shortcuts and a digital pen.  Felt a bit like finger painting… without the mess :)
  • • Once I was all finished with the colouring, I was able to “Export Layered PSD to iTunes,” and from there send it to my desktop.

So far, I really like Sketchbook Pro. My only complaint is the small canvas size (1024×682 at 72dpi)… would love to be able to work on actual hi-res sketches. For any illustrators using an ipad, it’s well worth the spare change! I’m waiting to hear from my brother with his experience using a touch screen stylus in conjunction with this program… if it’s good I might buy one as well!

Filed under: illustrations, Hera, tutorials, Diary of Hera's Stuff, ipad2 Comments »