As the title of this post suggests, work continues on Cowgirls Don't Ride Zebras! The whole thing is becoming more and more real. The notice just went out that tickets for the performance of the play are now on sale! I'm in a state of shock now. It's actually happening! I'm still at work on the artwork for the children's book version. It's a process. Actually, the hardest part of the creation of the children's book has been finding the right workflow and the right tools. Drawing is nothing new to me, but taking those drawings and "finalizing" them with color is a bit foreign to me. I usually work in pencil, creating grayscale final images. I've done some color, but that was never my main way of operating.
The process I was used to when creating color images was to begin my work on paper, using non-photo blue pencil. (Using non-photo blue pencil allows for the original sketch to disappear when scanning or making a copy in a copy machine. I'm not sure how the science works, I just know it does! It's like disappearing pencil!) Then, I'd use a regular pencil to create a clean image of the sketch. After that, I'd use a felt pen to create an ink line on the drawing. The drawing was ready to be scanned into my computer where I would use Adobe Photoshop or something similar to color the drawing. Here are a couple of drawings from Cowgirls Don't Ride Zebras to show this process. You can still see the blue pencil underneath the drawing of Penny. In this case, I added a new step to try and color the drawing: vectors! I used an app called Affinity Designer to create the "final" image of Penny, utilizing the Pen Tool to create Vectors and then filling in the shapes I'd create.
This process changed when I got an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I felt like the process was moving too slowly. I felt inefficient. I felt like I was creating a lot of waste. I also felt as though the final product felt stiff. The final drawing I had done of Penny and the hippo as a test for my workflow didn't quite have the life of the original drawings. The iPad Pro saved me the step of having to scan the drawings when I finished them. It also diminished waste and made it easier for me to make mistakes. I could undo a mistake. I could make a drawing smaller or larger. I could have the flexibility the technology afforded me. This was especially great when I started creating drawings of the three main characters: Penny, Cassandra, and Jack. I was able to draw each character on a separate layer using the app Tayasui Sketches+. I still created the drawings using non-photo blue in the app for the sake of tradition and there's something about that blue color that's soothing for me and doesn't feel as final as black pencil. (It's totally psychological, and I freely admit that.)
In the process of creating designs for Jack and Cassandra, I noticed that Penny's design shifted and changed. When I looked at the original picture of Penny I'd created and compared it to newer drawings, I realized I'd have to go back and redo the first drawing I'd called "finished" for the book. You can see the difference, especially in the eyes and the length of her body/limbs. I haven't created the clean drawing version yet; it's a process! When I have a clean version, I export it into the app Procreate so I can "ink" and color it as a final version. I'm excited for the new workflow and looking forward to how this technology is making things easier for me to get my work done! I'm also excited to see how the iPad Pro changes my playwriting and directing processes! Efficiency!
Keep working, my fellow artists, and be excellent to each other.