Oregon Asian Celebration, Feb. 14 & 15 2009
I want to announce an event for those of you who are local. Each February in Eugene is the Oregon Asian Celebration (their website is not up yet, but look for it soon at www.asiancelebration.org/ ).
This year, the Asian Celebration theme is "Heart of Asia" and will be held the weekend of Feb. 14th and 15th at the Lane County Fairgrounds. Look for presentations from Asian Wedding dresses, martial arts, and wonderful food, dancing, and demonstrations of brush painting. There will events with Kumoricon, the Portland Anime festival, and we at Copic host a table in the Youth Room where kids can come in and color Manga illustrations with Copic markers. It is always a blast, so I strongly encourage you to go and experience the celebration if you haven't before. (Illustration I made for the 2006 Asian Celebration Poster, drawn with multiliners and colored with Copics).
For the last 4 years I have had the honor of illustrating their poster. Since you will be able to see the posters around town in the next few days, here is a sneak peak of my illustration for 2009 of two Koi fish.
My Illustration Process
Here is the first draft of the illustration, which, in this case, very closely resembles the final artwork. Usually my drawings go through many revisions, but this time I was able to get what I saw in my mind to match what my final artwork would be. This is what I submitted to the committee when they first presented the theme and asked me if I had any ideas to show the "Heart of Asia".
They liked my first idea, which is pretty rare with clients. So I try not to work too hard on the first draft, just enough to give them a good idea (particularly if they are not artists and can't visualize). Then, after I get approval I move on to cleaner drafts and final artwork.
Notice that my pencil lines are clean and smooth curves. If you find yourself drawing short, jagged lines as you work out a curve then try to break yourself of that habit NOW! Take your rough outline and trace clean smooth lines off it. When I teach comic drawing workshops this is a problem I see over and over again. As soon as students smooth out their lines the picture instantly looks more professional.
Whenever I have a realistic object I need to draw I do extensive research. Running internet image searches makes this part so much easier than it used to be, when I would spend hours in the Library pouring through reference books. I looked at both photos of real Koi fish and traditional illustrations to see how they were depicted. This gives me a good style to base my final illustrations on.
I started with a pencil drawing, outlined it with a multiliner, scanned in my artwork and fixed a few stray lines, printed it out on Color Laser Copier paper, and colored it in using Copic Markers. I scanned in my artwork and color corrected it (like usual, my most subtle colors didn't come through). Then I added the final color background with Photoshop and Illustrator.
This is my typical process when creating illustrations for clients. I have used it for years and it works well for me. Some people draw with their Wacom and print it to color, though I like the hand-eye control of working with my traditional pen, not the digital pen (I use the Wacom tablet or mouse for touch-ups). I hope this give you some ideas about how to professionally approach your own artwork for those of you who are new illustrators.
Just a quick note about upcoming certification classes. Registration is now open for New Orleans and Pensacola. Registration is closed for CHA and Topsfield, MA. Applications will be going out tomorrow for Buffalo, NY Mystic, CT and Toronto Ontario. Be looking for those in the afternoon. I hope to see you soon at one of these events!
Also, for you stampers, be looking for the ultimate paper comparison/giveaway in the next few days. We'll be testing all my favorite inks and papers, just in time for CHA. Then 5 lucky people will get a chance to try the exact same things and get an ultimate goodie package. I'll try to do a fine art paper comparison next month, so look for that as well. Have a great week!