Friday, February 15, 2013

Making "Cheer Up, Mouse!" {Guest Post}

Happy Friday! Today's post is super different from anything you've ever seen here (and likely from anything you'll see again, since I'm not an artist.)
Our friend and used-to-be neighbor Jed wrote and illustrated the book "Cheer Up, Mouse!" that we gave away earlier this week. We love Jed and not just because of his amazing artist-related skillz. He also makes delicious homemade pizza, has a huge following in his Japanese video game art, and is married to one of my best friends. 
Jed is sharing a post today about how he illustrates his art.
It's so cool! I love it. He talks us through how he designed the cover of the book jacket.

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This is my initial line sketch for the jacket design. I draw directly into Photoshop with a Wacom tablet. I like sketching in Photoshop, because it allows me to make slight adjustments, without having to redraw the entire composition.
Because watercolor is such an unforgiving medium, I like to plan out the different color washes in Photoshop. I then use the color mockup as a guide while I paint.

Here is the finished watercolor layer. I don't worry about finessing the image at this point. The goal is to achieve realistic textures and pigment patterns on the paper. I scan the watercolor painting back into Photoshop, and continue the process digitally.

Back in Photoshop, I add layer after layer of detail to the characters. The digital brush looks exactly like pastels when applied onto the watercolor background.

I add contour lines with a thin digital brush.

Finally, the talented designers, editors, and printers at Houghton Mifflin work their magic. They've done a great job!  And check out these {activities for kids.} They're for kids a bit older than Grey and Micah, but even they like to color pictures of their favorite book characters.

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Unknown said...

The pictures look nice and complicated. I always wanted to familiarize myself with photoshop, but I just never had the time with the baby.

Krystle said...

How cool! Beautiful artwork!

Mary said...

WOW Jed this looks awesome! I know the boys love the book. Ive read it to grey and micah once myself :) It sounds like a long process but definitely looks great!