Mumbai Waterfront Property | Part 3

By heather at 3:23 am on Tuesday, June 8, 2010

heather castles mumbai painting

hera castles painting

I’ve had a busy couple months (work & travel), sorry no time for blogging! Here’s a peek at the progress on my Mumbai Waterfront painting… spent less than an hour on it, mainly added in grays and neutrals while supervising my toddler! It’s fun painting alongside Hera, who this time requested I paint her dragons to paint-in… and occasionally added a blob of paint to my canvas.

heather castles acrylic painting indiaheather castles acrylic painting india

P.S. I’ll post soon some packaging I recently illustrated for a boutique cheese brand in the States, am very pleased with them, but want to wait till the product is launched before showing them here :)

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Mumbai Waterfront Property | Part 2

By heather at 1:15 am on Friday, March 5, 2010

heather castles acrylic painting india mumbai waterfront

Here’s a recent look at my painting of a filthy section of waterfront across from the ritziest shopping district in Mumbai. I’ve added mainly neutrals and some lights… not the brightest whites yet, I want to build up the texture and colours first. You can see how it looked before this step here.

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Mumbai Waterfront Property | Part 1

By heather at 1:57 am on Friday, February 26, 2010

heather castles acrylic painting india mumbai waterfront

I’ve just started on a new painting for our living room from a photo we took in Mumbai, India three years ago (below.) I’m working with acrylic as they are safer to work with around my toddler than oils. And we can share so setup isn’t a big deal – a squirt of paint for Hera, and a squirt of paint for Mommy! The only challenge is keeping Hera from helping me paint my painting, hee hee. The lovely thing about working in acrylic is it dries so quickly, so I’m able to hang it right back up on the wall and be able to consider my next “moves” between paint sittings.

heather castles photo india mumbai waterfront slum

hera castles toddler painting

As you can see, after about 40 minutes Hera was tuckered out, so was a very short & sweet painting time!

Tip : Something I learned from Kiff Holland while in college, painting your canvas a bold colour to prime it gives you a fun surface to work on. As you paint over top, leave little flecks of the original bright colour peeking through here and there to give some zing to your painting!

heather castles acrylic painting india mumbai waterfront

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Tutorial | How to colour an ink drawing in Photoshop

By heather at 1:32 am on Monday, February 15, 2010

heather castles hera baby clothes illustration red polka dot dress

I just finished this illustration for my diary of Hera’s stuff, and thought I’d share the simple technique I use for colouring pen illustrations in Photoshop. Clicking on the images below will bring up a close-up image.
heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 1 | Open the scan of your drawing in Photoshop, and create two new layers below it. One will be your background colour (I’ve used white here), and the other will be for painting in the colours of your drawing.

heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 2 | Adjust the brightness and contrast until the paper is as white as possible.

heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 3 | Select the background of the sketch with the magic wand tool, and delete it. Make sure all little bits of paper speckle are removed so the colour comes out nice and clean.

heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 4 | Set the drawing layer to Multiply. This will allow the colours below to show through your drawing, and make the pen work come out nice and dark as it multiplies over the colours below.

heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 5 | Use the magic wand tool to select the background of the sketch. Then invert the selection so that you have only the drawing selected. Feather the edges of the selection (Menu Bar > Select > Feather.) Click on the blank layer below the sketch (multiply) layer and fill the entire sketch with a predominant colour.

heather castles tutorial pen illustration digital colour

Step 6 | From here in, apply colour to this colouring layer whichever way you feel comfortable. Applying colour on its own layer(s) makes it easy to adjust the colours later while keeping your drawing in its original condition.I use a combination of the paintbrush and the magic wand / lassoo tools to select areas from the sketch and fill with colour. You can experiment and go as elaborate as you want with colour, shade and textures.

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Spotty & Eddie Visit Percé | Before & After Colour

By heather at 6:03 am on Friday, December 18, 2009

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec sketches children's book

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec sketches children's book

Am about halfway through digitally colouring my pencil illustrations for Spotty & Eddie’s latest adventure by Lisa M. Chalifoux… wanted to share a couple before and afters of my illustrations (clicking on them will bring up a larger image). The colouring has been going very quickly thanks to my new Wacom tablet… I bought my first one this summer and taught myself how to use it, so this is the first big project I’ve used it on. And I LOVE it. Also, here is a snapshot of how the layout is turning out in the InDesign file… I find it helps dropping in the colour illustrations into the layout as I go so that I can make sure the colours balance nicely.

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec sketches children's book

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec sketches children's book

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Spotty & Eddie Visit Percé | How to digitally colour a pencil drawing

By heather at 6:07 pm on Friday, November 27, 2009

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec sketches children's book photoshop tutorial

I’ve done this tutorial before, but wanted to show in a little more detail how easy it is to tint with colour a graphite pencil drawing in Photoshop. This example is from the children’s book I’m currently working on, Spotty & Eddie Visit Percé. (First off though I’ll apologize for my fluctuating spelling of the word “Colour.” Being Canadian that’s how we spell it… but Photoshop uses American spelling, but I just can’t help my English grammar sometimes!)

1) Scan the pencil drawing at 300dpi 100%. Then open in Photoshop, and resave as a PSD file.

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec sketches children's book photoshop tutorial

2) In this sketch I want a pure white background. Instead of erasing the background, I used the magic wand to select the background, feathered the edges, and then on a new layer filled the selection with white. This leaves me the option to later change the white to a coloured background. (Read on …)

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Spotty & Eddie Visit Percé | Finals underway!

By heather at 8:30 pm on Thursday, October 29, 2009

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec baby turtle turtles sketch illustration children's book

Thought it would be fun to share a few of the finished pencil illustrations for Spotty & Eddie’s latest adventure. I’ve really enjoyed taking my time with these illustrations… the remaining illustrations will be completed by December 2009. Once I’m finished drawing all the illustrations I will go in and tint them with colour digitally in Photoshop. I’ll show a step-by-step example of Spotty & Eddie when I’m at that stage… but if you’re curious as to how to colour pencil illustrations in Photoshop, you can check out my tutorial.
spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec baby turtle turtles sketch illustration children's book

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec baby turtle turtles sketch illustration children's book

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Spotty & Eddie Visit Percé | Rough Sketches

By heather at 9:56 pm on Tuesday, September 8, 2009

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec sketches children's bookI’m delighted to be working with Lisa Chalifoux on the sequel to Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise… in this adventure, Spotty & Eddie travel with their owner to visit Percé Rock in Quebec. Having never visited Percé myself and now living in Australia, I am relying heavily on photographic reference for the surrounding areas. While inspired by Bill Guffy’s use of Googlemap’s Streetview, unfortunately I can’t use it to get a feel for the town as Google has yet to “do” Canada yet. Sigh. Anyway, here are a few snapshots of the rough sketches generated from these thumbnails and ideas. By the end of this week I will have finished the revisions Lisa has requested on the rough sketches. The final illustrations are to be done in plain old graphite pencil with digital colour applied afterwards in Photoshop… stay tuned!

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec sketches children's book

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec sketches children's book

spotty eddie visit percé rock quebec sketches children's book

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Riley’s Tooth | Sneak peek at final illustrations…

By heather at 8:00 am on Saturday, August 22, 2009

riley's tooth dogs toothfairy watercolour children's book illustrations

I’m a little over halfway through stitching together the scans of my watercolour illustrations for Riley’s Tooth, written by Diane Cantrell (Author of Good-bye, Baby Max). I’m really pleased with how the illustrations have turned out, especially since they are entirely in watercolour (a first for me as normally I switch to pencil crayon for the finer details.) Here’s a preview of three of the sixteen illustrations for Riley’s Tooth.
riley's tooth dogs toothfairy watercolour children's book illustrations

riley's tooth dogs toothfairy watercolour children's book illustrations

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Spotty & Eddie Visit Percé | Children’s book sketch thumbnails

By heather at 8:09 am on Wednesday, August 19, 2009

spotty and eddie visit perce thumbnail sketches notes

For those who are curious about the process of starting illustrations for a children’s book, thought I’d post a scan of the first pencil-to-paper (click image to see full size) on my latest project (Spotty & Eddie Visit Percé.) The first thing I do is print off the manuscript and mark with a pencil where I think the pages should be split up. Then I sketch thumbnails of the entire layout (cover to cover,) and start making simple notes on what should go on each page… this allows me to see if the story will fit the page count, and what ideas I need to combine into the same spread.

spotty and eddie visit perce thumbnail sketches notes

After thumbnailing, I go back to my InDesign layout, drop the manuscript in there with gray FPO (for placement only) image boxes where the illustrations will go, and write in little notes of what is to go on each page… I save this out as a PDF and send it to my authors/publishers for their feedback before I delve into proper sketches.

Filed under: work in progress, illustrations, childrens books, Spotty and Eddie2 Comments »
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