Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dry Media Brushes

I have collected my 35 favorite custom "Dry Media" Photoshop Brushes and made them available for $5. These include a bunch of pencils and textured chalk-like Brushes, and they are all different from my "Wet Media" collection. You can see swatches of all of the Brushes, as well as details from my illustrations (see below) that show how I used them.

The download contains the "Swatches" file and a document that shows you how to load the Brushes into Photoshop. My Brush Collection has been tested on Photoshop CS4, CS5, and CS6 (Mac and PC).

Click here to buy the "Dry Media" collection.

Swatches of all of the Brushes
(included in the download).
Click to enlarge.

Detail showing some of the Dry Media Brushes.
Click to enlarge.

Detail of illustration using a lot of the "Dry Media" Brushes.
Click to enlarge.

Another detail showing the "Dry Media" Brushes.
Click to enlarge.




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PBAA Flip Book

I'm a member of the Picture Book Artists Association, and we've put together a fun Flip Book iPad/iPhone app as a promotional piece. It's kinda' like an "exquisite corpse." It's free.

Click here for more info about the app.

Click here for the PBAA website.

Here's a screenshot. Top: David Opie;
middle: Patrick Girouard; bottom: Elizabeth Allen.
Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Seven Photoshop Shortcuts

Here are a few short cuts that will make you a faster digital painter (to get started, you may want to go to Window > Workspace > Essentials):

1. Turn on to use Pressure for Brush Size.
6. Screen Modes (just hit "F" key).
Click to enlarge.


7. HUD Color Picker (Mac: ctrl-opt-cmd, click and hold,
PC: shift-alt-right-click, hold)


  1. At the top of the Menu (toward the middle) you'll see an icon that looks like a pencil hitting a target. Officially that's the "Always use Pressure for Size" button. When you select it, more stylus pressure will give you a heavier line. If this is not selected, then it will default to whatever is selected on the Brush Panel. I use this shortcut all the time, because I generally like to paint with no pressure sensitivity but draw lines with the sensitivity on. Of course, you need to be using a device, like a Wacom Tablet, that detects pressure input.
  2. The Tab key will make all of the Panels disappear. This can be useful if you want to hide all the panels so that they don't distract you while you're painting. It can also freak you out if you accidentally hit it…
  3. …You can then hit F5 to pop up the Brush Panel …
  4. …And F6 for the Color Panel.
  5. The Caps Lock key will turn your Brush into crosshairs, which you sometimes want. Usually, however, you accidentally hit it and wonder why your Brush suddenly looks weird.
  6. At the bottom of the Tool Panel is the Screen Mode icon. You can cycle through the different Screen Modes by just hitting the "F" key.
  7. With the Brush as the active tool, hold down (Mac) control-option-command (Windows: shift-alt-right-click), then, click and hold your mouse or stylus, and the HUD (heads up display) color picker will pop up (starting with version CS5). Yes, it's awkward at first, but, like most things, it gets much smoother with practice. There are different versions of the display, which you can change: Photoshop > Preferences > General.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Wet Media" Custom Photoshop Brush Set

I have put together a collection of 25 of my favorite custom-built (by me) "Wet Media" Photoshop Brushes. They're available for $5. The Brushes have been tested in Photoshop CS4, CS5, and CS6 (Mac and PC).

Click here to buy the "Wet Media" collection.

Here are swatches for the 25 Brushes.
Click to enlarge.

I used these many of these Brushes on my "Let's Go, Murray!" app.
Here's a detail. Click to enlarge.

Here's another detail from the "Let's Go, Murray!" app.
You can see a lot of the Brushes from the "Wet Media"
collection in this detail. Click to enlarge.

Click here to buy the "Wet Media" collection ($5).

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Dozer" Character Design

I recently finished illustrating "Dozer's Run," a picture book to be published by Sleeping Bear Press (written by Debbie Levy and Rosana Panza). It is scheduled to be released at the end of 2014. I guarantee that I will post more about this project as we get closer to the release date!

For now, here's a post about the character design and development of Dozer, the title character in this true story of a labradoodle who spontaneously took part in a fund-raiser half-marathon.

Click here for a Publisher's Weekly article about the book.

When I start a project, I focus on the characters. The first step is drawing; lots of drawing!

I do pages and pages of these. I use
photo reference, especially at first. Click to enlarge.
Action poses. Click any of
these images to enlarge.
I like to put the character in poses
from the book. I try to show action
and emotion from the beginning stages.

Once I get some poses that I like, I do color studies.

My color versions can also be process studies. I did all of these
color studies digitally,  although I go for a "traditional" look.

More color studies, but I've decided to go for
 an opaque, painted look.

Color studies. Yep, I do lots of studies. At this point I'm
starting to figure out Dozer's defining characteristics.
Dozer is getting closer to his final look.

More color studies in a technique that is
close to the final process.
Getting closer.

And in this cover detail you can see what I ended up with.
Here's a detail from a finished interior illustration.

Saturday, December 21, 2013