Monday, October 11, 2010

Cintiq Workstation

My boring, boring workstation!  I used to have another large table to the left in an 'L' shape, but lugged it downstairs for my sewing machine room.  So this is all that's left.  (Hmm, need to recycle that 50 pound red Dell underneath the table.  It has been unplugged for a year.)

The Cintiq slides easily forward like this when I draw.  I keep the mouse underneath and just stick my hand between the legs of the cintiq to use it.  Keyboard to my left so I can use my Painter or Photoshop shortcut keys.  (I don't use the buttons on the Cintiq at ALL -- my brain is just too addicted to "command-Zing"

Just tilt the Cintiq up again and slide it back to use it for a monitor.  The iMac screen to the left is where I normally have my email and whatever site I've been procrastigoogling.  That's a TV above.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bronte (hearts) Bella

I dunno. Girl looks scary to me. Not often that I draw a picture that makes me burst into chuckles when I gaze on it. Poor doggie. I woke up with this illustration on my mind (I've been fermenting an idea for a new picture book starring these two) Click on the picture to check out the book cover mockup in my online portfolio and select the second thumbnail down.

Pencil was sketched directly onto Painter using the Cintiq, then faded the line back as a guide. On a second transparent layer used my favorite Painter pen -- the scratchboard tool -- to "ink" the drawing in brown. Next colored on the canvas layer with the digital watercolor, keeping it wet the whole time. Finished up modeling Bella's (the girl) face with the scratchboard rake. Probably could add some more modeling to Bronte's fur with the rake, but she was a "unique" looking cattle dog in real life (RIP my poor Bronte, who died last week) and I want to keep her DNA slighly ambiguous. Is she part pig? Part seal? Will have to think on this.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Definitely not Edgy.

I know I didn't work on this one long enough. But you get the idea, it was going cute again. Sheesh.

Edgier, or just strange?

Wow. This is kinda fun. Edgier? Less cutsie? This one was done in a thick brown line, then "modeled" using the scratchboard rake.

Cute is Evil

Trying to avoid the cute adjective. Can I go edgier than this for a board book? Should I?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Blog Reviews

Ugh. Marketing. It's so hard for an introvert like me -- especially when my publisher, Clarion, seems to be cutting costs everywhere. But a few weeks ago, my Google Alert sent me a link to Pinot and Prose after the blog's author, Laura Lutz, mentioned in a post that she was looking forward to seeing Kitchen Dance (which she declared a "foodie book" yay!) Laura is the children's materials selector at Queens Library in NY. Her excellent blog brings together two of my favorite things -- Food and Books!

You'd think since I head two kids book review blogs, (3 Evil Cousins and Toad Hill Reviews )I'd have had some clue to the joy an author gets when her book is reviewed online. But I didn't have an idea until Laura wrote this SWEET review.

Now if I can just convince Clarion to send out review copies when I ask them to, because I'm thinking blog reviews are completely going to replace printed reviews.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Book Trailer

So -- for my very first book trailer I tried some of the free software that came with my computers, Windows Movie Maker and Microsoft Photo Story for the PC and iMovie for the Mac, but they seemed a little limited. I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money for Adobe Premiere, so I settled on Pinnacle Studio Ultimate for $129 bucks and I'm very happy. For sound effects I joined "The Freesound Project" which is a really cool site (and made me go out to buy my own little Sony digital recorder so I can start recording my own effects.)

This was a really fun little project. A few hours yesterday doing a "first draft," then a few more hours today tweaking in all the great input I got from my friends.

Sound credits here:

Monday, April 14, 2008


. . . from my editor, Marcia Leonard, comes the upcoming Fall 2008 Clarion Houghton Mifflin catalogue. One side shows an illustration from David Macaulay's THE WAY WE WORK, and flip it over, here on the Clarion side is the cover from my upcoming book, KITCHEN DANCE!

KITCHEN DANCE begins as two sleepy young children are awakened by mysterious sounds from downstairs. They sneak down the dark stairs to see what is going on. Peeking through the kitchen door, they spy their parents who are dancing and singing in the bright, tropical-colored kitchen as they put away the dinner dishes. But, ¡HOLA! the children are discovered! What ensues is a joyous family dance that slowly turns to lullaby and finally ends with the children tucked cozily back into their beds. Umm-hmm!

On sale this October 6th, 2008.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cintiq 21UX

Cintiq 21UX
I did it.

I said I didn't see the use -- I already feel 100% natural on the regular Wacom tablet, but watching the demo videos and realizing I could pivot the Cintiq around like an animation board was something I hadn't thought about. I've got a new picture book in the works with old NYC in perspective and I don't use straight edges so I've got to be able to tilt the tablet to draw accurate lines.

Here's how I'm set up, L-shaped desks (actually cheap Ikea dining tables) and my chair with arms removed and set at maximum height. I have a stool under my desk for my feet. I had thought to put the Cintiq straddling both desks (diagonally) and keep the keyboard on the left for typing software shortcuts in Painter/Photoshop -- but decided to go cold turkey and get used to using the Cintiq tabs for the shortcuts I use most often.

My other two concerns in investing in the Cintiq were messing up the screen with my palm (I'm the type to yell "DON'T TOUCH THE SCREEN" if anyone so much as points in the direction of one of my monitors) and secondly, it seems to me that perching bent-necked over a table again is a step backwards in terms of ergonomics. Time will tell. Stay tuned.