Thoughts on Artwork

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20130323-154512.jpgPeople are often in confusion about how I create my artwork. Some people think it’s 100% hand made and some people actually think it’s pure digital, whereas it’s actually somewhere in the middle. I create all the characters, objects and backgrounds by hand, then layer them all together on photoshop (this is good process post). Art editors really like this because they can ask for lots of changes and it’s easy for me to move people around, change colours, resize things, etc, so it was a bit of shock to be asked by Harper Collins to illustrate an entire book without the use of photoshop. I was worried about making mistakes; I’ve become so used to being able to fix things with a couple of clicks on photoshop that I think it’s made me lazy about my actual artwork. I think it’s also eroded my confidence in my artwork.
Harper Collins are very particular about the quality of the images they print, which means my home scanner just wasn’t cutting it. At first it was daunting’ but now it’s incredibly liberating to know all I have to do is create the artwork and then Harper Collins will do the rest. Instead of photoshop files taking days to upload I can just hand them a stack of original artwork. The best bit is that I’ve really enjoyed it, and it’s made me more confident to know I can create beautiful images that don’t need to be ‘fixed’ or ‘cleaned up’. It’s taught me to appreciate that when mistakes happen it’s not the end of the world, they’re just part of the process.

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5 thoughts on “Thoughts on Artwork

  1. How wonderful! Congratulations on this commission. Yes, I love the combination of handwork and Photoshop, too. Now I don’t know what I’d do without PS. I can imagine the difficulty letting go but then once you do…ahhhh. 🙂

  2. I am learning Photoshop now, and I do see it’s advantages, numerous in fact. However, I think this is a good point that you raise, about confidence as an artist and making mistakes. Are artists too reliant on perfection and Photoshop? So far I am preferring making my art entirely by hand, but Photoshop is nice for coloring in large areas and for scanning in patterns and textures. Out of curiosity, what kind of scanner do you use? I have a very basic home one myself, which really is not so great and I do need to upgrade (although upgrading to HarperCollins grade is quite impossible!) I enjoy hearing about your art process Emma and do not be daunted by the lack of Photoshop! You are a skilled illustrator and your skill will not fail you!

  3. An interesting post. it’s nice to have the choice of digital or ‘real’ and use both to their best advantage. The annoying thing with scans that I found, at least back in the days when I worked in line and wash, was that the pencil line that had been carefully rubbed out and wasn’t visible to the naked eye, became all too apparent in the scanned artwork, even when painted over. When quizzed about this, publishers would say that the scanners are ‘so good these days that they pick up everything’. Or words to that effect. A funny definition of the word ‘good’ I always thought. . . 😉 Keep up the good work.

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