Hi everyone - I'm new to the forum

  • Hello fellow artists!

    I'm a working, professional artist, a painter, who is also learning to write and illustrate picture books. My paintings have a narrative quality to them so learning to write and illustrate kid's books feels like the natural next step. Plus, I totally geek out over great kid lit so I want to create my own stories.

    My graduate school advisor used to say, "you need to tip over your own applecart," meaning that it's a good thing to scramble up what you know and try new things to keep artistic growth active through exploration and discovery. I'm an artist because I thrive on these things, so it's time to tip over my applecart and try something new and challenging. Look out for runaway apples - I'm sure this is going to be a very messy beginning 🙂

    If you have the time and inclination, please visit my website, (www.tammibrazee.com), to get more acquainted with my work as a painter.

    I look forward to meeting some of you and growing our skills together!


  • Hi Tammi! Welcome to the forums! 🙂 I'm excited to see what you get out of your tipped apple cart lol! I totally love that concept :):)

  • @carlianne

    Thanks for your comment, Carlianne! I spent a couple of hours today learning how to use and make brushes in Photoshop - whew - I've got so, SO much to learn if I'm going to illustrate digitally.

    Happy Friday!

  • Welcome, Tammi! Just took a look at your website. Really cool stuff — love your use of color!

    So, just want to put this out there … have you considered illustrating children’s books in traditional media? (Of course, you’ll need to be able to scan/photograph your artwork to be able to deliver digital artwork files, which usually requires some Photoshop skills.) But just saying … upsetting the apple cart to pursue children’s book illustration doesn’t necessarily mean you have to switch over to digital. Plenty of children’s book illustrators work in traditional media — what I’ve heard from a few art directors/editors in webinars I’ve attended is that they don’t really care how you create the work, they’re more concerned with a fresh style and strong storytelling. Some prefer traditionally-created work, even from first-time illustrators, sort of a response to the market being glutted with digital styles.

    HOWEVER, you do what’s best for you! I’m not trying to sway you in either direction, just mentioning that digital illustration isn’t a requirement. Your style actually reminds me of quite a few illustrators who render in acrylic or oil (yours is more colorful, which could give you an edge). If you’re interested, check out the work of Matt Myers, Brian Lies, Eric Rohmann, Kadir Nelson, & Loren Long.

    Again, welcome to the group! Looking forward to seeing more of your work and getting to know you in the forum!

  • Hi there. Love your unique color palettes and use of pattern!. Very unique. Look forward to seeing how you work that into your illustrations on this site, should be cool!

  • SVS OG

    Hello. Great work

  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 Thanks so much for the information and for having a look at my website!

    I think your point is absolutely valid and it gave me an idea that maybe the "right" approach for me is a hybrid version. I suspect that my desire to learn Photoshop is partially for my own benefit and partially because of my perception of publishing. It's good to know that some art directors and editors still like traditional media.

    For my benefit, I was thinking about editing and how it would save time if the work was digitally produced. But maybe a hybrid method would work too. I've gotta think about this and mess around with it to see what works. However, my preference is traditional media, at least for now because I'm facing the steep part of the learning curve with Photoshop and Procreate.

    I'll have a look at the artists you recommended, and thanks a million for taking the time to point me in the right direction!

    All the best,

  • @Larue Thanks so much! I'm looking forward to experimenting to see what "sticks." I LOVE wild color palettes and patterns and hoping I can push this into children's illustration.

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz Thank you! I'll see you around the forum - have a great day!

  • Moderator


  • @burvantill Thanks - I'm happy to be here 🙂

  • @tbrazee you're so welcome! Glad you found it helpful.

    A few years ago, I dipped my toes into digital art, not with the goal of going completely digital, but to find that hybrid approach you're talking about. I have illustrated a few books completely digital, but mostly I start out digital with the rough sketches and storyboarding, then once the sketches are approved I move over to traditional. I print out a sketch on 140 lb watercolor paper and finish the illustration traditionally. Working this way has really helped me to work more efficiently, especially when it comes to composition -- it's SO easy to move elements around in Photoshop or Procreate instead of having to completely redraw an element or sketch (and hope you don't mess it up).

    But yeah, even if you decide to stay completely traditional, it helps to learn Photoshop, even if just for editing scanned illustrations.

    Oh ... and check out Adam Rex's illustrations too. I think you'll really dig his style! (I think he works in a hybrid of digital/traditional.) 😊

  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 I like the sound of your process and will try it. What kind of printer do you have to print onto 140 lb paper, and what is the largest print size? I've been considering a larger format printer but get overwhelmed by the choices.

    I use Photoshop to collage elements for painting references so I know enough to get around in there (lasso, cut, paste, layers, levels) but not enough to do much else. I'm grateful for at least a little knowledge.

    And, I visited your website. I LOVE your work - especially your amazing characters!

    Have a great day and thanks for sharing your process - it's super helpful to hear about other artist's studio practices.

  • @tbrazee aww, thanks!

    It sounds like your Photoshop knowledge is on par with mine, and so far that has seen me through a few years of illustration work. (Though, like you, I'm always trying to learn something new and expand my digital skills!)

    To answer your question about the printer I use, about 6 months ago I had to purchase a new printer and went with the Epson Workforce WF-7820. So far it's been working really well. It scans up to 17 x 12 inches -- there was a little bit of a learning curve to find which scan settings were as close as possible to the original artwork, but that might be the user as opposed to the machine. The printer works beautifully (probably not as high quality as some printers, but perfect for what I need to use it for) -- when I transfer my digital drawing to paper, I use the rear feed and it handles 11" x 17" 140 lb watercolor paper with ease. The only downside for me is that my old printer would print on 300 lb Fabriano Artistico hot press paper (my favorite) and this printer does not (so I have to use my second favorite paper if I don't want to transfer the image using a lightbox). Incidentally, Epson says that their DURA-Brightinks are pro-quality, pigment-based, and should last for a long time "generations in album storage" -- but they don't say exactly how long that is and I'm not sure how lightfast their inks are. (I should probably do a lightfast test of my own to find out.)

    If you're interested, here's a visual breakdown of my process:

    Step 1: digital sketch
    9c2b895a-32f7-4534-a43d-12cc7da67297-Imara Pg26&27 - step 1, digital sketch.jpg

    Step 2: printing the sketch onto watercolor paper and refining the drawing
    4dbf4c34-0f94-4346-a594-a6231caece62-Imara pg26&27 - step 2, drawing.jpg

    Step 3: painting with watercolor
    723b71f9-4918-4e55-b9e5-29d3a3447620-Imara pg26&27 - step 3, watercolor.jpg

    Step 4: colored pencil layer -- adding details and texture
    ac395301-89dc-420a-a3ce-7b9fdd96f573-Imara pg26&27 - step 4, colored pencil.jpg

    Step 5: finishing the illustration -- scanning it, editing, adding digital details (like sparkles)
    dd836dc6-b2c2-4798-b7cc-9791cef6b234-Imara pg26&27.jpg

    This is what works well for me at the moment. Hope you found this long-winded message helpful and/or interesting. 😊

  • @Melissa-Bailey-0 This is fantastic and helps a lot! I know it took some time to put all this here, so thanks a million. The visual breakdown of the process is really useful, and what an adorable illustration. The printer info is good too. I'll start shopping around and make a decision.

    Again, thanks for going the extra, EXTRA mile with this. I appreciate it very much!

    Have a wonderful evening

  • SVS OG

    @Melissa-Bailey-0 the amount of work you put into this piece is awe-inspiring.

  • @tbrazee oh I'm so glad you found it helpful!

    And if you also are curious and find it helpful, I bought my all-in-one printer from Office Depot and had it shipped to my house. It's sold out now but you can find a comparable model, the Workforce WF-7840 (its big brother, you might say) here. That same model is also available from BestBuy.

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz thanks so much! Honestly, though, it doesn't feel like a ton of work and I find that whether I work traditionally or digitally (or a mix of both), it takes me about the same amount of time to illustrate. I love working both in watercolor and colored pencil, so this mixed media approach is the best of both worlds, I guess!

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