Sunday, May 31, 2009

Change is Good!

I have redone my WEBSITE to celebrate the coming of Summer and to make it more efficient as I strive to work smarter in an increasingly competitive field. Take a look if you have time. Comments are welcome and I would be glad to list any other illustrators on my links page in return for one on yours.

Friday, May 29, 2009


In order to get a head start at school, Oliver found new ways to work smarter: he adapted.

Friday, May 22, 2009


It wasn't long before Andrew realized
"Penthouse" living wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Paper vs Paper

I usually print out my dummies on fairly good presentation paper. This dummy was a bit different and since the double page spreads were so large I wanted larger paper to print them on. I have good photo paper, but don't want to use that for a dummy. That kind of paper is great and best reserved for a couple of finishes to show to a publisher. But I needed to use larger paper to get the whole spread on one sheet.

So I experimented with papers I had on hand and used a couple of types for printing the dummy. I had a ton of older rag based drawing paper and tried one color copy on that. WOW!

© Ginger Nielson 2009
illustration printed on older drawing paper with a lot of texture
The texture that resulted was something I absolutely loved. Compared to the expensive premium paper that I usually use for a dummy, this paper has such character. I have noticed in some of my favorite picture books that the paper has a wonderful "tooth" to it. This old drawing paper really is "toothy." But it is far to flimsy to use for a dummy.

© Ginger Nielson 2009
illustration printed on good quality matte photo paper
I don't know if it will show up on the blog, but here is the other of the two photos. The presentation paper from Epson is top of the line, but the colors and lines blend a bit too much. The rag paper is not great quality but I loved what it did with the color and the texture. With this print a lot of the texture that I had painted did not show up well. So my search continues.

Somewhere in between these two I will hopefully find the perfect paper for this dummy. And I will find the perfect paper for the finished pieces that I will want to show.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Old people in old places

This is one I am working on.. the finish will be pen and ink and maybe a bit of digital. Right now I am in the exploration stage, but loving the adventure I am able to create in this musty old library.

I love the idea of old books, old libraries, and older people who still love to read and explore.
Stella is one of those avid readers. She belongs to three separate book clubs and is the host of an online bookblogger club. Her friend Jerome, however is rather a loner. He loves to haunt the rare bookshelves for some timeless novel or historic fiction. Uh oh.... looks like he dropped something.

Never mind.. Stella will catch it. Hmmmmmmm... but what will she find and what will she do next?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Recycling can be ~ Contagious...

These days recycling is a necessity. We have so much packaging that we are drowning in it. But some of this stuff is really worth saving and reusing..several or MANY times over.

This is the ultimate in recycling. From the book" THE ADVENTURES OF CALI" written by Michele Lallouz Fisher that I illustrated, Zachary is smuggling his pet caterpillar (tomato worm) across country on an airplane. He has his "friend" nestled in an airport salad container.

But I was thinking that since I have been saving a lot of packaging lately, all of you must be as well. Here's what I am using primarily for my art and our garden.

For my painting I save the plastic containers from eggs, cookies and other items to use for paint containers, mixing colors and holding water.
There is a double sided plastic egg container that I love for my water colors and acrylics. It opens up so that there are 24 "holes" to put paint and the top folds out to become a large mixing tray.

Cardboard egg cartons?... I am saving these for my youngest visitors. They make great stacking toys and can be a "quiet" kind of noise when the buildings get knocked down. I also use them as planters. A seed can go into each egg holder with some dirt ... once it begins to grow I just plant the whole box in the garden. The cardboard dissolves over time and the roots of the new seedlings just go right into the ground. The separations keep the plants from competing with one another too.

I also love to use these light weight egg cartons for the armatures of paper mache sculptures.

Old cereal boxes and laundry detergent boxes can be reinforced and used upright or on the side with one side cut away as book or magazine holders. I cover mine with fabric and tape over that with heavy duty clear packing tape. Works great and keeps my smaller books and study guides in order.

Did you know you can make a great little terrarium from a plastic cookie container or cake or pie container. Put a little dirt, some small plants, a bit of water and a few pebbles or rocks into the bottom and then tape the top back on tightly.

I wash and keep all kinds of containers from yogurt, cottage cheese, and mayonaise bottles. The Mayo containers with the snap lid and a hole in it are great for paint projects for kids. Just fill with paint, store and when you need a color just squeeze enough out onto a small plastic lid or other small container you have saved.
Meat trays from large quantity purchases make great storage containers.

My efforts are puny compared to some others. Do you have great ideas for recycled items... that make a difference and might also create art, or give beauty to something or someone?
Post your ideas here...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Bringing in the la la "

Somehow, I'm not too sure if Mr. Sheep trusts this little girl..... Just where could this lead?
Oh yeah.... a hair cut for sure!

Signs of Spring

Every once in a while I like to bring this image out. It reminds me of how we wait for Spring after a long winter. Sometimes it arrives with wicked rain and wind, other times it just sneaks up on us and one day we look around and there it is!
This is a very old image from a CD cover I did when I got my first iMac.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sheep studies

Practicing with sheep views for the dummy...the sketchbook is getting full of them, but I haven't quite gotten to the point where I want to use them in the book. Still working on this one, but having lots of fun too.

Friday, May 8, 2009


From the book I illustrated, "Song for a Giraffe" comes this parade of animals ready to greet the morning with song.
Published by StaggerLee Books and written by Michael LaLumiere and Kim Messinger, "Song for a Giraffe" tells a story of friendship and support for the differences that make us all so unique.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mother and Cub

An image of mother and child from a current work in progress.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Scanning Artwork studies and sketches vs Digital photo

Water color Cat studies

I have this ongoing argument with myself. Will I scan my artwork? Will I photograph it?
Will I leave it as is, or transform it into a digital painting?
Most of the time I will scan a sketch if it isn't too big. I like seeing the texture that a scan can pick up. Occasionally a piece is way to large to scan and I will photograph it with and without flash to transfer it to the computer for finishing.

Here are three examples. I did some water color CAT studies, and then a "cat scan" and a photo with flash and with lamplight. While all three will have usefulness in future work, today I prefer the "cat Scan" for the color and texture. So that is one that I will keep handy for use in a current dummy I am working on.

Cat study photographed with flash

Cat study photographed with lamp light

And finally the
"Cat Scan" --- I just loved saying that *:)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Illustration Friday ~ Hierarchy

There are actually two spellings for this word. The word HIerarchy refers to angels or holy beings or a ranking of clergy. The word HEirarchy refers to all other leveled orders.
So I chose to illustrate something sort of halfway between each. Actually the hierarchy will contain the same definition as a 3rd or 4th meaning, so we are safe either way. I noticed different artists here have spelled it both ways.