Friday, November 8, 2013

Creative Illustrations by Ginger Nielson


Today I am pleased to share with you a post by Ginger Nielson, the artist who did the vibrant, lively illustrations for my new children's book from 4RV Publishing. You can learn more about Ginger and see additional artwork and books on her website.

                                                                                                                                                          Recently I had the pleasure of illustrating Connie Arnold's picture book, "Count 1, 2, 3 With Me." Published by 4RV Publishing, LLC, of Edmond, OK, the book is being released this month. It was a delight to illustrate her creative ideas for counting. There were new challenges for me as well, as I needed to create illustrations for some things I was not used to painting.


When I begin illustrating a picture book I like to go over the manuscript a number of times. Sometimes I will jot down ideas for an image in the margin of the document. Other times I will create a little thumbnail image to remind me of a thought I had while reading. When I am satisfied with the way the pages will move along I create a small storyboard showing all the pages in the book with tiny images or ideas for each page.

Most picture books are under 1000 words, but even the shortest ones present a challenge. Each image needs to stand on its own. There should be enough clues in the image that even a toddler can "read" the book.
 
Once I have decided how I want to illustrate each page, I begin sketching. For this phase I use soft sketching pencils and might even fill an entire sketchbook before I decide which of the images are the perfect ones for the story. Next, I scan or photograph the images and transfer them into the computer. Very large work needs to be photographed because my scanner is limited to legal size work.

With the sketches in the computer I go directly to my favorite painting program, Painter 13 by Corel. This program is similar to photoshop, but designed with traditional painters in mind. There are dozens of brush types, pens, pencils, chalk, paper textures, and much more to choose from. It is very much like painting traditionally but there are no bottles of paint to spill and the UNDO feature is a blessing if you mess up your painting. You can even decide how far apart the bristles on your paint brush will be.
  
I "paint" directly on a CINTIQ screen. This is a large monitor. I use a stylus pen on the screen to create the artwork. By choosing different brushes or pens, or chalks, I can create illustrations in much the same way as I do when I paint traditionally. I also keep my large screen Macintosh computer monitor open as I work. I keep other things on that screen that I might need to refer to as I paint. It is great to have reference material, email, and sketches readily available on that other screen. It has the advantage that I don't have a ton of papers all over my work area, just a screen full of images, or notes. This type of dual monitor set up allows me to drag images from one screen to the next. That way if I have a sketch on the iMac and I need it for my painting I can just pull it over and place it onto the canvas on the CINTIQ.

As the painting progresses I print out the finished pages, gather them into a book form and take a look at the flow of the work. If I am happy with the progression, illustrations, color, design, and composition, I am ready to transfer the finished work in the computer to a layout program such as In Design, place the text, and create a PDF ready for printing. If the PDF preview is correct I send that to the publisher or editor.
 
Sometimes the work on a picture book can take as long as a year, other times I can finish the work in a few months. Painting in the computer is not necessarily faster than traditional painting; it takes time to do either.

One little thing I love to do in each book I illustrate for 4RV Publishing LLC, is to find a place in the beginning of each book to place the "4" the "R" and the "V" where people can find it if they look. Sometimes it is easy to find, other times not so easy. It is there in Connie's book and it is easy to find if you look for it. (See if you can find it in this post!)


 
Many thanks to Ginger for the fascinating information. I'm happy to be able to share a few of her illustrations from Count 1,2,3 With Me. Aren't they delightful? My blog tour will continue on Monday. Be sure to check out my previous post for blog schedule (and watch the video if you haven't seen it yet). You can order Count 1,2,3 With Me from 4RV or my website.

33 comments:

Ginger*:) said...

Thank you so much, Connie for including me in your blog posts. I loved working on your book!

Connie Arnold said...

Ginger, you certainly deserve recognition for your beautiful work. I think we made a great team for Count 1,2,3 With Me!

Susan York Meyers said...

Love the spider illustration:-) Thanks for sharing your process.

God bless,
Susan

Connie Arnold said...

Isn't that a great one, Susan? Appreciate you stopping by!

Mayra Calvani said...

Your new book looks darling too, Connie! Congrats!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I really love the spider drawing!

Robyn Campbell said...

Great post. I love the illustrations! I found the 4 RV. On the floor. (I'm just a big kid who loves to find stuff like this.) ;-)

I loved reading about your painting method. Thank you for sharing.

4RV Publishing said...

Ginger also illustrated my first children's book, I Like Pink. She included the 4RV as price tags on three dresses: 1 is 4, 1 is R, and 1 is V.

I wish we could clone Ginger.

Connie Arnold said...

Thank you, Mayra! Thanks for your comment and visit.

Connie Arnold said...

Lisa, isn't the spider great? I don't know how Ginger made it so cute and appealing when I don't like spiders at all!

Connie Arnold said...

Robyn, good for you finding the 4RV. You get a gold star!

Connie Arnold said...

Vivian, Ginger is truly a treasure and has done wonderful illustrations in many 4RV books, including yours and mine.

Janet K Brown said...

I love the illustrations, Connie. congratulations on your book.

Pamela said...

What delightful illustrations! I enjoyed reading about the process.

Connie Arnold said...

Pamela, I agree and am so pleased with Ginger's illustrations. Thanks for stopping by!

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Congratulations on your upcoming book, Connie. And thanks for introducing us to Ginger. Love this kind of peek behind the scenes.

Connie Arnold said...

Ruth, thank you, and I'm glad you enjoyed the "peek behind the scenes." It was my pleasure to introduce Ginger and her great work.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What a beautiful book. Thank you, Ginger, for explaining how you work. Fascinating. Congratulations on your story, Connie. I can picture little ones reading it and loving the characters while learning to count too.

Connie Arnold said...

Beverly, thank you for coming by and for you lovely comment. Hopefully the combination of story and illustrations will make learning to count easy and fun.

TexWisGirl said...

a collaboration of talent, for sure. :)

thanks for stopping in tonight! continued success to you!

Connie Arnold said...

Yes, Tex, it's a team effort! I enjoyed visiting your blog and appreciate you stopping by here.

DMS said...

So interesting to learn more about Ginger and her artistic process. I love that 4RV is hidden in the books she illustrates!

Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

Connie Arnold said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jess. Yes, Ginger is artistic, creative and clever!

Haddock said...

Always admired people who could illustrate books that could hold the interest of small kids.
These are wonderful.

Connie Arnold said...

Haddock, I agree. It takes a special talent, and Ginger definitely has that!

Penelope Anne Cole said...

Hi Connie, lovely book -- I love the artwork. I'm posting my review on my blog today:
http://penelopeannecole.blogspot.com

Connie Arnold said...

Penny, thank you so much for your review! I added the post to my blog schedule.

Faythe M.A said...

wonderful illustrations and cute book. the 1,2,3 book like it would interest all 3 of my young grandsons too! thanks so much for stopping by GrammyMouseTails last week. Sorry I was a bit behind in answering comments because of internet problems (oh well..)
Faythe @GrammyMouseTails

Connie Arnold said...

Faythe, thank you for stopping by. My 3 young grandsons enjoy my books and others I read to them. I'm sure if you would like to give them Count 1,2,3 With Me, they will give you a big hug and tell you, "I love you" like mine do, and fill your heart with joy!

Margo Dill said...

Illustrations are amazing to me--yours are beautiful. Connie--how lucky you are to have such a talented illustrator working on your book! It's beautiful. Thank you for the enlightening interview.

Connie Arnold said...

Margo, I agree that I'm so fortunate to be able to combine efforts with Ginger's beautiful illustrations for Count 1,2,3 With Me! Thanks for stopping by.

Karen Lange said...

Ginger's a wonderful artist! Thanks, Connie, for the introduction! :) Best wished to the both of you.

Have a great week!

Connie Arnold said...

I agree, Karen, and it's my pleasure! Best wishes to you as well!