Monthly Archives: June 2012

Illustration Friday Gets New Look!!


Illustration Friday has long been a place for artists to share their artwork and gain visibility for their work. Not familiar with it? Never heard of it? Let me break it down for you. Every week Illustration Friday chooses a different word to be illustrated. Artists of any skill level, medium or background are invited to illustrate the word and then submit their images which are all featured on the site with a preview image and a link back to the original posters blog or website.



This can help increase traffic to your site as well as put your work in front of any number of peers and potential future employers.  Many artists have gotten work or a huge following based on displaying their work on Illustration Friday.

So now Illustration Friday has relaunched with a new look and features for it’s users. What are they? In the words of the site creator Penelope Dullaghan;

“I am so thrilled to finally share with you our freshly updated website, including easier ways to share your art, browse illustrations, and connect with your creative community. With the new site, you can see all the beautiful artwork front and center, pop up a window to take a closer peek, and easily “Like” the pieces that make you smile, and “Share” them with your friends!”

A few highlights:

  • Thumbnails are now huge (!) and can be automatically generated (!!) for you if you choose. Try it out this week when you post your artwork: Go to the homepage, choose “Submit your illustration” and fill out the form. After you paste in your url and choose your Medium, the auto-generator will start doing its thing and you can choose your thumbnail easily! (Yippee!) You can also choose a thumbnail from your desktop if you choose. Either way is cool!
  • It’s easier and fun to Submit a Topic! Think up a good word or short phrase that can be interpreted visually in lots of ways and submit it! If your topic is chosen you’re website link will be on the homepage and on this nifty weekly topic email.
  • We are now accepting sponsorship ads on the site if you’re interested in getting more eyeballs on your artwork / little prints shop / new project. Check out the sponsors on the site’s sidebar and below in this newsletter, and find out how your art could reach more people.

So be sure to stop by and take advantage of the opportunity to market yourself, find new fans and discover new sources of artistic inspiration!


Free Book on Copyright Myths and Truths from Graphic Artist Guild

For artists to stay relevant and continue to promote themselves and remain viable you must have an online prescence of some sort these days.  This can lead to fear for many artists. Fear of their artwork being stolen and sold online without their knowledge for any multitude of purposes. As Artist’s we have to arm ourselves the best we can against these types of threats.

One of the first things that we have to do is get a thorough understanding of the rights we have as artists over our own artwork.  If we aren’t informed we don’t know what our rights are and the best ways to go about protecting them.

Luckily, The Graphic Artist Guild has provided a free resource that we can use to start educating ourselves about the truths and the myths of copyright. It’s titled, Copyright Myths: Copyright Basics and Common Misconceptions Debunked.

It is available for free download at the following link. In it you will find answers to the most popular copyright-related questions.

Topics Include:

  • Infringement
  • Using Works without a Credit or Copyright Notice
  • Fair Use
  • The Internet, Web Sites and Blogs
  • Public Domain and Public Access
  • Use by Religions Entities, Educational Institutions and Non-Profit
  • Organizations
  • Liability for Copyright Infringement
  • Willful Infringement
  • Usage Issues: Who Owns What?
  • Where to Report Infringement
  • Registering Copyright

Arm yourselves with knowledge and you will always have the most powerful weapon.

PDX CreativeMornings lecture with Nelson Lowory UPDATED

This past Friday I attended my first CreativeMornings lecture here in Portland, Oregon at the Portland Art Museum. CreativeMornings is a free monthly lecture series for creative people. Oh by the way, they serve free breakfast, donuts!

Here is a link to the lecture

The lecture I attended was by Nelson Lowory who was the winner of the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Production Design for his work on Fantastic Mr. Fox. Some of his other stop-motion works include Corpse Bride (Art Director), Fred Claus (Digital Effects Artist) and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine (Visual Effects Matte Artist). Just to name a few. Mr. Lowory talked about how the film industry has changed with the invention of the computer and 3D printing. The first Technology piece that changed the way he worked was PhotoShop. He then moved to 3D programs, but with all of these innovations he still enjoys making his sets out of paper or what ever other materials he has laying around. Even when 3D printers came around he would still start with paper elements, just to get the layouts right then as the 3D printed models were completed he would replace the paper version. Sometimes the paper mockup would even make it into the final scene, as in the commercial he worked on for the Sony Xperia where Lowory used old cardboard wine boxes as details in the background. Here is a link to the Sony Xperia TV ad, Made of Imagination. Nelson compared the sets he builds to his love of building with legos as a child. We all had something as children that inspired us to create.

If you’re interested in attending a CreaviteMornings meeting, here are some of the locations they are currently located in. Check out their website, as they are always adding more cities. Mr. Lowory had a lot of knowledge and insight to pass on and I can’t wait to find out what the next lecture will be about.

Did you know that for the movie Coraline the movie studio Laika created a 3d printed face for every mouth movement. The production of ParaNorman has printed over 30,000 faces. In comparison, Laika’s last stop motion movie, Coraline, only used about 12,000. Nelson showed us photos of Laika’s facial expression library and how they store them. If you would like to know more about how Laika uses 3D Color printers. Here is a good article I found.

Essential Reads-Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines

In this Essential Reads post we’ll cover the next book we feel is integral to your library.

One of the questions asked most often by newcomers is how much should they charge for certain types of jobs? What should I look out for before I sign a contract? What do all these legal terms mean? Well, we have the perfect starting point to answer all of these questions, the Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines.

The Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines (TGAGHPE), is a comprehensive source of information for any freelance Artist starting their own business or looking to become more informed about the legal standards and practices. The book addresses the following items:

  • Copyright Law and how it affects your business and work
  • Standard Contracts for Multiple Art related transactions
  • Simplified explanations of legal jargon used in contracts
  • A range of prices for art jobs depending on the size of the client, industry and job level
  • Tips on how to properly negotiate deals

And that is just the beginning.

The book is published by the Graphic Artist Guild and is updated and republished in additional editions as the industry changes. The issue shown above is the 13th Edition. The Graphic Artist Guild is an organization that provides a wealth of information for professional freelance Designers and Artists. We’ll cover the organization in full in a later post. But please be aware that the Handbook is included in the purchase of a membership to the Guild should you be interested in joining. Please visit their website for more information.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Photoshop Digital Painters

Here are a few handy key board short cuts I like to use when painting in PhotoShop. Some are very basic but still good to know. To download a PDF of this quick guide click here.

Type B for the Brush tool, Pencil tool, Color Replacement tool depending on which tool you used last.

Increase or decrease brush size:
To change the size of your brush with your keyboard, use the bracket keys. The “[“ bracket makes your brush smaller, and the “]” bracket larger. Also, you can hold down alt and right click and drag on a PC to increase your brush size or control and option plus drag on Mac – click and drag. Left to go smaller and right to go larger.

Quickly changing to a different brush:
When you need to change your brush on the fly instead of stoping and opening the brush palette, simply ctrl and click on PC or Control click on a Mac anywhere on your canvas and the brush palette will pop up where you clicked. To close the palette, select your brush then begin painting and the window will disappear.

Switch Foreground/Background Colors
Switch Foreground/Background Colors Use the “X” key to switch between your foreground and background colors.

Drawing a vertical or horizontal line:
Drawing a vertical or horizontal line To draw on a vertical or horizontal line with the brush tool selected hold down the shift key and draw left or right, up and down and your line will stay in a straight line. Drawing straight line at another angles To draw a straight line at any other angle use the brush tool selected. First click to define the start point of your line, release, and while holding down the shift key, click the spot where you want your line to end. Quick Fill Command or Ctrl plus Backspace fills with the background color and Alt or Option plus Backspace fills with the Foreground Color. This is a great way to fill the whole canvas with a color or a selected area , text and or vector shape layers.

Drawing straight line at another angles:
 To draw a straight line at any other angle use the brush tool selected. First click to define the start point of your line, release, and while holding down the shift key, click the spot where you want your line to end.

Quick Fill:
Command or Ctrl plus Backspace fills with the background color and Alt or Option plus Backspace  fills with the Foreground Color. This is a great way to fill the whole canvas with a color or a selected area , text and or vector shape layers. Continue reading

Words of Wisdom from Neil Gaiman-Make Good Art

If you are  a creative person, be it a Writer, Illustrator, Designer, Director or whatever, you need to take twenty minutes and listen to this wonderfully inspired address from writer Neil Gaiman. You will not regret it.

Every now and then we need to have our fires stoked and our Inspiration bank refilled. For me this deposits a wealth of joy and hope into my account.

Neil addresses the graduating class of 2012 from the University of the Arts. He pushes them into the light of the real world with advice from his life and experiences. Let’s hope we listen and, “Make Good Art!”

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012 from The University of the Arts (Phl) on Vimeo.


See a cartoon paying homage to this video after the jump by Gavin Aung Than of Zen Pencils.  Enjoy!  (Pssst!! The cartoon makes sense after you watch the video!)


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Ask a Capstone Editor!

As a Writer or Illustrator have you always had a question in the back of your head you’d love to ask an editor of a major publisher? Now’s your chance!

Capstone Press, Senior Editor of Non-Fiction, Mandy Robbins will be open for questions that can potentially be used in future interviews with Capstone Creative staffers as well as herself.

So be sure to drop by their blog and submit a question.  For today Mandy will be answering questions directed at her that she picks from those submitted.

For more info go to this post.

Capstone Home Page


Contests-Lee and Low Books-New Voices Award

Lee and Low Books sponsors a yearly contest for up and coming Children’s Book writers of color, The New Voices Award.

About the Award

LEE & LOW BOOKS, award-winning publisher of children’s books, is pleased to announce the thirteenth annual NEW VOICES AWARD. The Award will be given for a children’s picture book manuscript by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500.

Established in 2000, the New Voices Award encourages writers of color to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. Past New Voices Award submissions that we have published include The Blue Roses, winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People; Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People and a Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist selection; and Bird, an ALA Notable Children’s Book and a Cooperative Children’s Book Center “Choices” selection.

Manuscripts will be accepted from May 1, 2012, through September 30, 2012 and must be postmarked within that period.

For more information and to find out about past winners follow the link.
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Guest Post Feature from Will Terry-What kind of Illustrator are You?

Today we feature a post from Will Terry’s Blog that asks you to consider your role and purpose as an Illustrator within the Children’s Book Market.  Will Terry is an accomplished Illustrator and teacher whose work and contributions to the collective intelligence of the Children’s Book illustrator community is monstrous. Don’t believe me, take some time to peruse his blog and multiple videos that deal with multiple issues for up and coming Illustrators.  So read through the article and ask yourself the question, “What kind of Illustrator are you?”.

Find the original post here.

Will TerryI’ve been wanting to make this post for a long time and it’s taken a long time to formulate my opinions on this subject. If you’re an illustrator perhaps you really haven’t thought too much about who you are. One thing’s for sure – you need to know who you are to be able to exploit your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

1. The Gunslinger. Like Clint Eastwood wielding his Smith & Wesson the gunslinger illustrator wields his paintbrush, stylus, or drawing instruments with great skill. Great craftsmanship, design, and rendering skills are his/her trademark and the reason clients want him/her in their posse. This illustrator is typically brought in when the job has been defined and visual communication is needed. The skill level of the gunslinger can vary greatly. Most illustrators fall into this category. Examples: David Catrow, Dan Santat, Kadir Nelson, and Paul o. Zelinsky.

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Book Report – Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Art of the Animated Series)

One of the first things you learn about me when you walk into my office is that I have a problem… A big problem. I love art books. So I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on a few of my favorite books that always seem to end up on my desk as a source of inspiration.

If you are a fan of character design, props, backgrounds, storyboards and animation (which I am) this is a wonderful book to have on your shelf. From the minds of Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino and their team of hundreds of artists, in 2005, they brought us Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. A cartoon series with lovable characters, a wonderful storyline and some of the best fight choreography I’ve ever seen in a cartoon. All wrapped in a beautifully inspired world full of influences drawn from a diverse array of cultures. This book contains all the work it took to bring this world to life. Continue reading

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