Digital Paint, Classical Skills
June 25, 2009 9:37 AM   Subscribe

William Low children's author and illustrator of a variety of books, describes his process and his methods (YouTube videos 1, 2 ...more from his publisher), and talks about his beautiful new book, Machines Go To Work.

For those who like old train stations (previously), check out Low's Old Penn Station.

For other wonderful children's book illustrations, digitally produced and not, check out the Society of American Illustrator's exhibit this fall.
posted by cal71 (7 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Wonderful! Is that the $2k Cintiq that he's using, or are there other players besides Wacom in the market? I had a Wacom many years ago but I never got used to the abstraction of tablet and monitor, I assume a device like this is much more natural. $2k is nothing if you do this for a living, but sort of expensive if you pick it up for a weekend and decide it is not for you.
posted by geoff. at 9:53 AM on June 25, 2009

Thanks! I liked the way he lays down a bunch of overlapping colours and picks from them as a palette. Any time I've tried panting in Photoshop, I've used the palette window and found all it's options really frustrating.

The Wacom Cintiq (the 21" or 20" widescreen) is the only way to go if you're doing something that has a lot of pencil mileage. I use mine for storyboard work and it blows a regular Wacom tablet out of the water. The monitor size, picture quality and express key/touch strips make it far more productive tool than a tablet PC, whick can be fun for casual sketching but not something that you could sit in front of 8 to 14 hours a day.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:12 AM on June 25, 2009

For some weird reason I always love these "artists behind the scenes" videos. And my (artsy-craftsy) son will enjoy learning about the mirror trick. He has a spot-the-differences page-a-day calendar and when we get stuck and can't find some diffs, I showed him how flipping it upside down and sideways can reveal them.
posted by DU at 10:12 AM on June 25, 2009

Thanks for this link. Both awesome and useful to aspiring artists.
posted by thisperon at 11:12 AM on June 25, 2009

I had the chance to meet Mr. Low when he came to the studio where I was an engineer. He was there to record an audio presentation for one of his books. I had a brief but really compelling conversation with him - we started talking about architecture and "Old Penn Station". He's an incredibly nice guy, and really passionate about his work. It's so cool to get a chance to talk to artists who are able to hit that balance between creatively fulfillment and making a living.
posted by dubold at 12:39 PM on June 25, 2009

Thanks very much for this post! I'm in the process of trying to master digital painting, and I always enjoy seeing techniques explained, although ultimately you have to develop your own technique. Mr. Low's work is very inspiring.

bonobothegreat, I agree about the Photoshop palette. It's much easier to keep a second image open in Photoshop, either with some colors laid down, or with a photo you're using as a reference, and simply use the eyedropper to pick up colors. Contrary to your feelings about the Wacom tablets, I use the smallest (4 x 6) Intuos3 and find that's all I need. But you're right about how hard it is to work in this medium for hours at a time.

This painting of a robin is my latest completed work.
posted by wadefranklin at 1:23 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hockney has been drawing in photoshop for a few years. He has an exhibit in London, link here (you need to click through).
posted by shothotbot at 2:03 PM on June 25, 2009

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