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Sunday, May 15, 2011

So you wanna illustrate!

I made a post on facebook of the picture above telling folks to practice their art! Then I thought, Hey why not blog about it so here I am!
Just some ideas and items I use to create my characters.
OK, some things that really help

Say you make a character and it turned out awesome. You might not be able to create him the exact way you did before. Place the paper with your character on the light box...put the new paper on top and trace!

If you like you can trace a completed illustration so if you sell one you still basically have it if you want to recreate it. There are tons of uses for a light box. Google it for lots of other ideas.

Never EVER copy someone else's work. That is just simple ethics. Protect your work! Get a copyright and I also upload every art piece to copyright deposit. It was the best money I ever spent.   I even have the name Grimmy protected! I do lol!

Good lighting! I use like 3 lamps at once lol. I need really good light when I draw. I have my eye on a wonderful artist lamp. If you can afford it go to Walmart and buy and art desk. You can adjust it so it tips just right when you draw.


An art friend told me about Pigma Micron pens. BUY SOME! They are ultra fine archival ink. Permanent and never bleed. You can buy them online or Walmart even carries some!
I have them in all colors and sizes. I also use vintage and even antique quill and fountain pens with good old fashioned ink. These are really fun to work with once you know how to keep them from smearing. I use India Ink.


The best pencils to use are your basic number 2 lead pencils. Very easy to erase leaving no annoying pencil lines.


I use gummy erasers. They are my fave but Hi polymer erasers are just a good. They are usually white in color. I use these because they leave no smudge marks. All very cheap!


My faves are Faber Castell and pigma. I use these for cartoons more the illustrations. You will be spending a bit of money on these but they are worth it.


My fave is thick Strathmore watercolor paper. Great for ink and watercolor illustrations.

I use Velum paper for the use of pigma markers and of course you need some tracing paper.

If I am making a new character I get a piece of watercolor paper. Doodle him in pencil and then trace the doodle in ink. Erase the pencil and color him in. It's fun and addicting try it lol. Some people really get exact with this. They draw the image on regular paper. Put it on the light box. Trace it using tracing paper and then put the tracing paper under the new paper and trace again. This is way too much work for me!

When done get your camera and put it on the macro setting. Take a pic and there ya go! Great for prints!

Come up with your own unique style. Something only you can do! If you want to get a book published trust me they want totally original work.
Pick up some how to books. There are tons out there and I found mine on Amazon and ebay.
You can even buy some videos with instructions and techniques. Never stop learning!

Practice at least once a week. Pick up some old children's book and really study techniques.
If you are not sure how to draw a body position like someone waving use google images. Find a similar position for reference. Another trick is to hide the character behind something. Let's say you can't make feet. Hide him behind a bush lol!

Keep a library of ideas and references. Magazine photos, things like that. Let's say you want to draw a frog but you can't seem to do it from memory. Trust me not many people can! Find a page with a frog..cut it out and keep it in a folder.

These are just a few Ideas I have about illustration.
I am self taught with some art classes under my belt so I am sure there are may tips and tricks I don't even know about, but when it comes to basics...

sketch book

There ya go now go draw something!!!
Carmen Ellis

Please excuse any typos you may find. I can't find my glasses lol!

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