Posted on April 11, 2017
It’s been a year since I began the #100daysofdrawingonphotos project… and I’m doing it again!
Inspired by #the100dayproject coordinated by @elleluna on Instagram, I’ll be taking a photo each day and drawing on it (mostly in Photoshop, but sometimes using the Procreate app).
As of the writing of this post, I’m up to day 7 – here are a few favorites so far.
All of last year’s 100days are gathered here. Hope you enjoy!
Posted on March 24, 2017
Quick post for today – very excited to share that my debut picture book, THE BREAKING NEWS, will be published next year by Roaring Brook. Many thanks to my fantastic literary agent Emily Mitchell, as well as to my wonderful editor Claire Dorsett! Here’s the clip from Publishers Weekly:
Posted on January 20, 2017
I recently had the honor of creating an illustration to represent the theme of the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2017 conference (also known as NESCBWI17).
I just posted about the making-of process on the Writer’s Rumpus blog – check it out here!
Posted on January 11, 2017
Posted on October 19, 2016
Update on my 100days project, #100daysofdrawingonphotos! I’ve compiled them (all 102, due to counting errors:) to a new page on the website. Hoping to have some prints available soon, so definitely contact me if you have any favorites.
It’s been busy over here with under-wraps book projects and some other fun stuff I hope to be able to share at some point. New posts coming soon on my other recent personal projects, #tinydragonpaintings and my in-progress attempt at #inktober (see sporadic updates on Instagram under my account @thereul!).
Posted on July 7, 2016
Been working on some handlettering projects! I’ve found skillshare.com to be a super useful way of learning more about new topics. There’s more about my process for these pieces up on the project page for Martina Flor’s “Golden Secrets of Handlettering” course.
Posted on May 2, 2016
I just got back from the fantastic whirlwind of NESCBWI16 (the New England conference for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and I’m still pleasantly reeling. There were tons of inspiring workshops (led by fabulous authors, illustrators, editors and booksellers, including Nancy Castaldo, Deborah Freedman, Dan Moynihan, Brian Lies, Anne Sibley O’Brien, Calef Brown, Celia Lee, Elizabeth Bluemle and so many more), as well as great keynote speakers and the gorgeous Portfolio Showcase. Overall it was awesome to reunite with other authors and illustrators for a whole weekend of nerding out about making pictures and stories.
One element of the conference that I really enjoyed was the Illustration Challenge. This year, the prompt was “reinvent Jules Verne for the 21st century.” I dove into a bit of research and was immediately impressed by the number of well-known books he’d written that are still vibrantly alive in popular culture (20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYs, of course, but also FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, which was hugely inspirational for the George Melies silent film “A Trip to the Moon“, as well as JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND and FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON). His stories have been reinvented so many times that I was initially a bit overwhelmed about what to pick, until I realized that I didn’t actually have to choose just one story – I could try to address his overall “Extraordinary Voyages” collection.
I flipped through my sketchbooks for inspiration and found pages of neon sign sketches – I love the vintage appeal and saturated color of neon.
In fact, my desktop image for the past 10 years (across 3 computers) has been a photo I took at the Neon Art Museum in L.A., where I first got a close-up look at the artistry required to bend thin tubes of glass into intricate letterforms.
I decided that my reinvention would be a Vegas strip of Jules Verne titles, to convey the awe of a person discovering his many works for the first time.
Since Jules Verne was from France, I chose to stick with his native French and to create signs that hinted at the books through design. Here are some early variations I tried for AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (aka TOUR DU MONDE EN 80 JOURS):
I ended up creating each sign as a separate PSD file and then placing them as smart objects in the overall image (really loving that aspect of CC15).
After they were all placed and transformed to fit into the perspective of the scene, I rasterized the separate layers and locked transparent pixels to repaint the separate elements into colors that worked for the overall composition. Once the base colors were set, I played with a ton of layer effects and some filters to get the neon to glow.
Here’s the image from thumbnail sketch to final:
At some point in the future, I think I’ll try making some of the individual signs into gifs themselves, complete with bright flashing lights as well as the subtle flicker and hum of real neon signs.
I hope you enjoyed this peek behind the scenes – I know I was inspired by seeing the different processes of illustrators I admire at NESCBWI this past weekend!