January 2015 meeting review
Digital Illustration Techniques Revealed!
Presented by Jason Fruchter
Our guest speaker for the first Cartoonists Northwest meeting of 2015 was none other than the new president…. me, Jason Fruchter! Yes, I enjoyed presenting to the group very much. Thanks to all who participated. For those of you who couldn’t make it (or chose not to) I’m happy to go over what was discussed.
I illustrate children’s books based on popular kid’s TV shows. Recently, I’ve been illustrating books for a show on the Disney Channel called Sheriff Callie’s Wild West. The publisher is Random House. This particular book is for the Little Golden Book series. For these books the style of the illustrations need to have a hand painted, dry brush look to them. In order to achieve this effect digitally, I’ve come up with a few techniques using Adobe software. The three programs I use are Flash, Illustrator, and Photoshop.
The story I illustrated was based on an episode from the TV series. The first thing I do is capture a frame from the video depicting the character I want to illustrate (in this case, Ella the cow). Then I import the screen capture into Flash, where I use it for reference to draw the character digitally. I use a Wacom tablet with stylus pen to do all my drawing on the computer. After I finish the drawing in Flash, I export the image to Illustrator. From there I export my image as a hi resolution Photoshop file with layers. Now is where the fun begins!
In Photoshop I use a brush tool that has a rough edge like a piece of chalk or crayon. I use this brush to paint the highlights and shadows inside the character, simulating what a real life drawing would look like. I also use filters to soften the edges of the shapes to give it that hand painted feel. The final result is an illustration that looks hand painted on canvas but was actually all done on the computer. Pretty cool, huh?
At the end of the meeting several people who attended were lucky enough to receive a free book. I brought 8 books from another property I work on called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. I was surprised when over 20 people showed up! Sorry I couldn’t give out a free book to everyone who attended like I had promised. If I do this again I’ll be sure to bring more books. See you at the next meeting!