Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Future of Desktop Publishing Programs

     Ever since I started college I have been a fan and supporter of Abobe programs, especially Photoshop, but also Illustrator and InDesign. I can string together key commands faster than my computer can process them, and these programs have become a large part of my artistic process of creating art and laying out books, regardless of the fact that I remain a traditional painter.

     Recently, Adobe has switched to a subscription-based model which has upset many of their customers. (Myself included, although I am glad to say I have Creative Suite 6 all for myself. Hopefully it will last me awhile.) If this model sticks Adobe will most likely be losing many customers to rising competitors. Honestly, I didn't even realize there WERE competitors until just the last couple of years. Some artist friends have already started to switch over to these other programs and I have been hearing some great things about them. To be honest, I am the type of person who likes to stick with things I'm familiar with, so it's going to be a bit tough making the switch and I will probably feel a bit of guilt for abandoning Adobe, but there are times when change can be a good thing.

     One program I have been hearing more and more about is Manga Studio. I can't say I know all that much about it, since I haven't tried it yet, but if I were to make a switch from Photoshop, this would most likely be what I would use. Here is a great little blog post by a fellow illustrator who made the switch and found it to be very positive. The best part is Manga Studio is a fraction of the cost of Photoshop!

     A second emerging program is called Affinity Designer by a company called Serif. I had never heard of this program until just recently. It was originally designed only for PCs back int he 90's but is now going to be available for Macs as well. Also at a fraction of the cost of Photoshop, this program is specifically being developed in response to the change Adobe has made. You can read a little more about this program from the Once Upon A Sketch blog.

     It's hard to tell if this program or any other emerging competitor will take the lead over Adobe, but at least there are some good options available. All I know is I will be doing a lot more research on programs like these for awhile and who knows, maybe I will be making the switch sooner than I think.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

2 Books In-Progress

     I have posted before that I am currently working on 2 books, The Coal Thief, and The Littlest Angel Of All. They have been a bit slow going since I have been working on 3 books simultaneously this year. But now one is finished and out of the way, so these 2 will be picking up steam from here on out.

     On both books I am done with all color sketches and I'm about to start on final artwork! I love milestones. And I always reward myself when I reach one. Sometimes it's simply taking a day off and NOT working...this can be hard for me, but I realize it is important. Sometimes I reward myself by going out and doing something fun. This time I am giving myself the whole weekend to do whatever. Catch up with friends, read, spend time with my husband, and I'm even going on a hike up in the mountains! A great way to refresh myself and recharge before diving into the painting phase which will probably take up the rest of this year.

     It has been (and will be) interesting to create and paint these 2 books at the same time because they have very different color palettes. I will be switching back and forth between books as I go so I will probably need to take time before starting each time to readjust to each color palette. This should be interesting....but so fun!

      Here is a spot illustration (color sketch) from The Coal Thief.

     Here is a spot illustration (color sketch) from The Littlest Angel Of All.