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Last post Author Topic: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?  (Read 11160 times)

superboyac

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Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« on: September 08, 2009, 12:59:39 PM »
Hi everyone, I have a question about a topic I am unfamiliar with.  I am writing a book (medieval fantasy/warrior type).  I want to have lots of illustrations in the novel, but the cost for good ones will be way too much.  That is, hiring an artist to do it is not within my budget.  So, the easiest and cheapest solution I can think of is to do the art on the computer, and that way it can look, clean, attractive and eye-catching, without all the manual labor.  I don't like computer art, I prefer hand drawn stuff, but doing it on the computer will get more bang for the buck.

So, I wanted to know how much services would cost to hire this kind of thing.  If any of you are familiar, please chime in and give advice.  I'm initially thinking of hiring a kid, like a high school student or college student who needs a little money.  I used to draw when i was in HS and a few bucks for it was a big deal.  I won't be able to afford a real pro.  I'm probably going to need around 100 rendered scenes.  Some with mostly scenery, and others with warriors (knights) fighting.

Some of the options I thought of are listed below, but I don't know if some of these things exist:

--Could I buy some kind of ready made package of pre-created 3D templates (humans, trees, landscapes, etc.) and use them to put together my own scene in a software package?  Then I can render and color and slightly tweak the things myself.  I can pose the figures and so on.  I am imagining this to be my cheapest option, but I am not sure anything like this exists.

--The other option based on the above, is to just hire a computer artist to create all the things himself, and then I tell him how I want the scenes to be and he does it himself.  But he wouldn't have to keep drawing the same characters over and over because it would be on the computer.  He'd just need to use different poses and different scenes.  This should be a lot cheaper than an artist creating each scene by hand.

So those are my ideas so far.  Anyone have any insight into this?  Thanks.

The "look" I am going for is shown in the examples below.  Obviously, I can't expect that kind of quality, but that is the goal.
12341912512.jpg
WARRIOR.jpg
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 05:42:06 PM by superboyac »

40hz

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Re: Grpahic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2009, 03:51:38 PM »
Hoo Boy! You do know how to ask a question... ;D

Gonna need a little time to work something up for you on that one.

But one big question for you before we start: Are you open to a collaborative partner (i.e. Story by: X Illustrated by: Y) or are you looking to do a "work for hire" agreement whereby you pay the artist for full ownership rights?

 8)

----

re: Prices

You can get a ballpark idea of prices (and the mindset behind commercial art) by looking at a copy of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines. This is the book most of the Pros look at even if they don't follow it.

IMHO, the Artist's Guild pricing guidelines fall somewhat into the category of 'wishful thinking' since most graphic professionals I know tell me they'd like to charge what they see suggested in this book.

Prices will also vary widely by geographic region, so take the Guild's numbers with a grain of salt. Something to look at. But not gospel by any stretch. Some interesting comments on this title are posted over at Amazon. ( www.amazon.com/Graphic-Artists-Guild-Handbook-Guidelines/dp/0932102123 ). Might be worth a look.

Be back in a bit with some more. :Thmbsup:



superboyac

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Re: Grpahic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2009, 04:18:59 PM »
But one big question for you before we start: Are you open to a collaborative partner (i.e. Story by: X Illustrated by: Y) or are you looking to do a "work for hire" agreement whereby you pay the artist for full ownership rights?
Thanks for the response, 40hz.  That's true, I forgot that you are an artist!  You did my computer building illustration!

Yes, good question.  We need to have full ownership rights so we can reproduce it freely.  I don't know what all this entails.  For the moment, I don't have much money to spend on it.  And I doubt it will be a financial success, so I can't count on that.  So I don't really know how to approach this.  I've seen prices that were surprisingly low, and some very high, so I have no idea what to expect.  I am rather certain that I cannot expect the quality I have shown above for anything I can afford.

tomos

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Re: Grpahic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2009, 04:41:37 PM »
I was going to suggest looking for someone to join in on the project too - that way you could possibly get someone doing it for love + whatever cut of possible profits & maybe get much higher standard stuff

btw why wouldnt it sell!?
If you going to go for it - then go for it man!
Tom

superboyac

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Re: Grpahic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2009, 04:49:33 PM »
I was going to suggest looking for someone to join in on the project too - that way you could possibly get someone doing it for love + whatever cut of possible profits & maybe get much higher standard stuff

btw why wouldnt it sell!?
If you going to go for it - then go for it man!
yeah, i was thinking about that.  but I just don't know if we'll go for it.  This is sort of a lifelong dream of ours and we've been through a great deal of stuff to get to this point, I don't know if we are willing to share it with anyone who hasn't been involved in all of that.  It would be easier to just own it.  But it's not something I have thought about enough, or know enough to say definitely.  I mean, what are we talking about, as far as sharing?  If it's low like 5%, then maybe we consider it.  but I doubt we consider something like 30%.  It's not that we don't understand or appreciate the talent involved in the work, it's just that we can't justify the sharing knowing what we've been through.

As for the success of it, I don't know.  The things i like are never really that popular.  We are going to go all out on it, but success is such a tricky thing, and the things we like don't normally fall into the successful/popular category.  At best, they are acclaimed critically.

tomos

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Re: Grpahic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2009, 05:15:29 PM »
It sound to me like the images are going to be very important though - I have absolutely no idea about share/prercentage etc but just throwing that out there.
A book could have a wonderful idea but if the visuals arent eyecatching (doesnt have to mean 'tasteful' or even necessarily high quality) you're in a different league . .

True, luck must play a big part in success - it sounds like something interesting but I wouldnt have a clue about that market :)
Tom

40hz

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2009, 06:44:34 PM »
As for the success of it, I don't know.  The things i like are never really that popular.  

I hear you. I'm one of the people that actually liked Islandia. ;D

Quote
We are going to go all out on it, but success is such a tricky thing, and the things we like don't normally fall into the successful/popular category.  At best, they are acclaimed critically.

If you have a story that you really need to tell, you have a genuine crack at success. That's one characteristic of most successful works of fiction. The author(s) wrote the story they wanted to read, rather than the one they thought would sell.

re: help wanted

Here's a suggestion. Consider a quasi-viral approach. Think Firefly. Think StarTrek.

Do a project website. Explain what it's about. Show people some of what you have so far. Try publishing the first two or three chapters up on the web. Invite interested parties to participate in whatever capacity, and under whatever terms seem most acceptable to your creative team. And be blunt about what you're seeking. If you're looking for final art (and only final art) just say so. And if money is going to be an issue (or non-existent), also make that very plain from the get-go.

FWIW: I've got a buddy who's a very talented comic book writer. He's been involved in several collaborative projects. And to date, only a few of them ever panned out. The problem is that most people (especially the bedroom art crowd) underestimate the amount of work involved in getting a graphic novel out the door. From his (and my) experiences, I'd say about 95% of the people who contact you will never come through on what they promise. Most of the remaining 5% will also fizzle out on you after a few weeks. And this sad statistic has held true whether or not there was money to be had.

Sill, if you're lucky, you just might hook up with somebody that actually brings something to the party.

Think of it this way - suppose your book really takes off and they decide to have Burton or Speilberg make it into a movie. Suddenly you'll find you have hundreds of people collaborating to bring your epic to the screen. Might not hurt to get a little practice in first.

I'd hold off on doing any of this right now. But tuck it in the back of your head for later.



P.S. Thanks for the compliment, but I'm definitely not an artist. We have a real one in my family  - so I know.


« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 06:47:45 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2009, 06:54:24 PM »
Thanks, 40hz, for the information.  This is not really a graphic novel.  It will be much more in the educational/literary category, but fun.  Essentially targeted to the same crowd, same age group, albeit the more intelligent ones.  So, from my perspective, the target crowd will be kind of small.  I don't want to get into the whole thing.

But I'm sorry to hear about the commitment level I can expect from inquiring artists.  Hopefully I can find someone reliable.  After all, there is SOME money in it.  And if I know myself or my friend well enough, this project WILL get done.  Some way, somehow.

Thanks for the website idea, I will definitely consider that now that I have a little experience with it.

superboyac

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 10:48:02 AM »
Artist-brochure.png

40hz

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2009, 12:03:45 PM »
Awesome!

Let me know how you make out.

I ran it past my sister, who is a "graphic designer - not an illustrator" (her words). She said she had the feeling what you're looking for is going to run some serious bucks unless you're lucky enough to hook up with a talented newcomer who is willing to take it on as a 'portfolio piece.'

I asked her what she thought it might cost if somebody like a book publisher were handling the project.

She said that around here (think metro NY market so prices will probably be higher than in most places) commissioned art like the above runs around $300+ per illustration. She also mentioned that for that degree of originality, most professional illustrators will also expect to get a 'piece of the action.' What that means is some sort of royalty arrangement or a restricted use clause.

Restricted use means what it says. Say you bought the illustrations for a book and somewhere down the road Dreamworks decided to make it into a movie. If the illustrations were used as concept art, or the look of the film closely matched the illustrations, the illustrator might be entitled to a cut. On a less esoteric level, rights might only cover a USA release. Foreign rights might need to be negotiated separately. Ditto for hardcover, second printing, paperback, graphic novel, video game, audio book (don't laugh - think cover art) yadda-yadda...you get the picture.


So anyway, whatever you do, make sure you have a clear understanding with anybody you're working with. And if you do enter into an arrangement, get it in writing - and be sure to have a competent attorney review it before you sign.

Keep us posted.

Luck! :Thmbsup:

P.S.  I don't know if it's still as true today, but in the past, most publishers preferred to use their own stable of illustrators. The reason they did that was because most artists were totally clueless about how to create what was called press reproducible artwork. Basically that meant art that was amenable to the color separation process and reproduced well on a standard 4-color press. Not all art fits into that category.

If you're planning to 'print publish' your project, do yourself a favor. See if you can find a designer or art director with publishing experience who is willing to bring you up to speed on what's involved. Most of them love to pontificate, so it shouldn't set you back more than a pizza and some beer to get a good crash course on how these things work.

OK...I'm rambling, and the server I'm working on just finished updating so I'd best get back to work. Bye! :)
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 12:05:38 PM by 40hz »

mouser

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2009, 12:06:45 PM »
sounds like really helpful advice from 40hz.  :up:
let us know how it turns out superboy!

superboyac

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2009, 12:19:11 PM »
40hz, thanks so much for the information above.  I truly appreciate it.

We definitely won't be able to afford anywhere near $300 per illustration.  We were hoping for and can't go too much higher than $20-50 per illustration.  If price is an issue, we will have to sacrifice quality first and foremost.  I realize that the illustrations I have shown as examples are very ideal, I don't really expect anywhere near that quality.  Those illustrations are done by a relatively well-known and experienced pro (aren't they great?!).  I mean, he goes around the world and gives talks and seminars about art.  But it gives an idea of what we are shooting for.

As for the legal stuff, thanks for that.  It's something we are aware of, but obviously don't know the details of.

Also, I appreciate your optimism, but cmon!  I would welcome a situation where the book became so popular that movies and video games were being made and royalty issues came up.  Ha ha, that's not really a bad thing.  But I get your point.

40hz

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2009, 03:52:16 PM »
Just another thought:

Don't rule out manipulated photographs. You can do amazing things with a group of image files, Adobe Photoshop, and some creativity. Done correctly, they can be hard to distinguish from "hand drawn" digital art.

Here's a quick & dirty example. Let's say I need a character something like Angelina Joli's character in Sky Captain. But I plan to make my character much more 3-dimensional so a woman in a leather flight suit just isn't going to cut it. I envision her as a study in contrasts, and somewhat of an enigma to her fellow officers. I want a military physique, and an intriguing face. Calm and gentle, but with a bit of spark obviously lurking just below the surface. I want a look that almost contradicts the fact she's a highly qualified and capable field commander.

Ok...

Start w/pretty athletic woman. Fitness model type for the military physique:

raw.JPG

Do some paint overs, color adjustments, and drop in a background... and voila!

May I introduce my new character: Alliance Fleet Strike Commander Deborah Jorr, caught in a rare off duty moment aboard her ship the SVN Donneybrook.

JORR.JPG

Not the greatest, I'll admit. But I cranked it out in about ten minutes as a proof of concept. A real artist could do it 100 times better.

Something to think about.

P.S. be sure you only use your own photos (or images you have a legal right to use) when you do this. :tellme:

« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 03:53:55 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2009, 04:17:48 PM »
Yeah, I'm definitely considering that also.

superboyac

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2009, 05:58:40 PM »
OK, third option...
It seems like I may try doing these illustrations myself.  I used to draw quite a bit when i was younger, and they were pretty good.  But it's not something that i felt came easily to me.  However, it may be the only affordable way to do it for now.  And it gives my friend and I a chance to collaborate with no headaches.  I'm going to explore the world of Photoshop for a while and see if I can use technology to assist me with the task, especially for repetitive tasks like shading or drawing grass, fixing mistakes, etc.

superboyac

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2009, 06:32:39 PM »
So here are some of my old sketches from high school, hopefully I can improve on my abilities. The scan is pretty bad, especially after resizing, so they look worse than they actually are.  But you can get an idea.
Aram_old-sketches_Page_1.pngGraphic Design question:  Services and prices?
Aram_old-sketches_Page_2.pngGraphic Design question:  Services and prices?
Aram_old-sketches_Page_3.pngGraphic Design question:  Services and prices?
Aram_old-sketches_Page_4.pngGraphic Design question:  Services and prices?
Aram_old-sketches_Page_5.pngGraphic Design question:  Services and prices?

40hz

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2009, 08:47:32 AM »
Most people don't know that Lewis Carroll did the original illustrations for Alice.

Alice_013.jpg

Carroll and his publishers thought his books needed the touch of a professional illustrator, so Sir John Tenniel was hired to do the work for the published book.


Alice in Wonderland.jpg

Interestingly enough, both illustrations are equally valid in my mind. I think I slightly prefer Carroll's original. Carroll's Alice has more depth of personality to my eyes. Tenniel's is more technically accomplished. But his Alice is interchangeable with almost any other 'young girl' illustration from the Victorian period. It's only time that's taught us to see her as a uniquely recognizable book character.

And many others have taken a crack at Carroll's world. (If you write it, they will draw."  ;D) Some of the interpretations are quite valid as far as I'm concerned. Take a look at all the Alice 'riffs' here:

http://www.lewiscarr...org/graph.html#Other

So the point I'm trying to make is that it isn't the degree of technique you bring to the illustrations that's the key.

It's the integrity of your story line - and the authenticity of the related art - that makes it work.

You have your story. And it looks to me like you've got enough artistic talent to roll your own illustrations.

If I were you, I'd go for it. :Thmbsup:



<EDIT: Was typing a little too fast. Minor changes for clarification made in green above. Sorry!>
« Last Edit: September 19, 2009, 12:11:23 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2009, 11:58:06 AM »
Thanks 40hz, those are very encouraging words.  I didn't realize that about Alice in Wonderland. 

I just received a voice mail from my friend a few minutes ago, and he had never seen my drawings.  He said a light went on for him and I just have to do these drawings.  It will make the project make so much more sense and just give us so much more freedom, in addition to allowing us to better create the personality we want to express through the words and art.  Like you said, even if it's technically not great, at least I can capture the mood exactly the way I'm thinking.

superboyac

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2009, 04:24:19 PM »
So, I've officially embarked on this project.  It would be an understatement to say how overwhelmed I am right now.  But it's a good kind of stress.  I've been reading a lot of tutorials and watching some youtube videos.  most of them are not that helpful, but I've found a couple of gems.  I swear, some of these people are uncanny.  I saw someone start with a blank page, smear some skin color on the page, and in the end it looked like it was taken by a professional photographer.  They talk about how to do eyelashes and all the little things.  Just crazy.  I have to be careful to stay within my bounds.

superboyac

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2009, 11:14:52 AM »
I've spent the last month pouring over all kinds of tutorials about drawing, shading, photoshop, and illustrator.  I've decided on a method that uses Illustrator as a sketchpad.  I borrowed a wacom tablet from one of our graphics guys at my job, to see if it will work for me.  Instead of color, the illustrations will be in black and white.  I've always loved the look of black and white sketches.  it also makes it easier on me so I don't have to learn coloring techniques.  Gustave Dore's work was a great inspiration, and the guy is incredible.  Check it out:
Cru030_The Crusaders Massacre the Inhabitants of Caesarea_GustaveDore_sqs.gifGraphic Design question:  Services and prices?

So, here is my first try at drawing in this style.  I did several attempts all weekend and this was the best one in my opinion:
orlando-try4.jpgGraphic Design question:  Services and prices?

app103

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2009, 11:44:52 AM »
It's actually not that hard to simulate the style in the first image.

You start with a simple basic line drawing and scan it. Then import it into the software of your choice (photoshop, paintshop pro, gimp, etc) Then "color" it in with a pattern rather than a color. The pattern tiles should be basic lines, criss crosses, and maybe dots (for shading).

Just build it up in layers, never working directly on the base layer of the original line sketch.

Tiles can be rotated to change the direction of the lines. You can also change the size to make the pattern tighter or looser.

There may also be a filter capable of doing it much faster, but I think the manual approach might work better.

Make sure you work big, so the quality will be much better when printed, so there will be no need to resize it larger. (Exact size, I can't tell you. You'd have to get that info from a publisher/printer)

When you are finished, reduce it to 2 color (black & white, not grayscale) before saving the merged image. And always keep the original with all the layers intact, in case you need to do any additional editing.

40hz

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2009, 10:07:21 PM »
Those aren't sketches, they're etchings. Dore earned his reputation creating those.  :Thmbsup:

To make an etching, you had to first create a printing plate. Usually the plate was made of copper. To produce the image, the artist had to cover the plate with a thin coating of wax. He then had to draw the image by scribing through the wax with a sharp steel stylus. The plate was then dipped in acid to allow the picture to be etched into the exposed areas of the plate - hence the name "etching." The plate was then washed and examined. This process (wax/scribe/etch/wash) was repeated several times as the image was gradually built up in reverse order. It was a painstaking and dangerous process (acid!) that took years to master. In the hands of an artist like Dore, an etching could rival the level of detail produced by the photographic offset process, which would ultimately replace it.

Once the plate was completed, it was inked and pressed. The quality of the print was best at the earliest part of the print run since the soft copper plate gradually got damaged by the pressure applied by the press. When used for fine art prints today, etchings usually carry a penciled number to indicate where it fell  in the press run. The designation "25/150" would tell the buyer that his copy was number 25 in a printing of 150 copies. Usually the first 30 or so are considered to be the best quality and therefor command the highest prices.

Fortunately, we don't have to go through all that to get a similar look any more!

The effect can be obtained digitally, either by hand, or by using a filter plug-in. Doing it by hand, as app suggested, is probably the better way to go if you want a unique look.

But there are also dozens of prebuilt plugins that will produce acceptable results if you take the time to play with them.

Here's two examples of an "etching look" using two different plugins from one vendor:

Crumble-full.gifGraphic Design question:  Services and prices?

Lady-full.gifGraphic Design question:  Services and prices?

Link to page: www.andromeda.com/main/screening_gallery.php

(A quick Google search will pull up tons more. :tellme:)

In the meantime, keep up the great job you're doing. Can't wait to see the finished product. :Thmbsup:



« Last Edit: October 19, 2009, 10:51:20 PM by 40hz »

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2009, 04:41:38 AM »
Those aren't sketches, they're etchings. Dore earned his reputation creating those.  :Thmbsup:

I know it wasn't a sketch. I am quite familiar with the original process. I was just giving info on how the look can be easily duplicated, with software.  ;)

40hz

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2009, 07:37:25 AM »
Those aren't sketches, they're etchings. Dore earned his reputation creating those.  :Thmbsup:

I know it wasn't a sketch. I am quite familiar with the original process. I was just giving info on how the look can be easily duplicated, with software.  ;)

@app103 - Hiya. My earlier comment wasn't specifically directed at you or anyone else.

It was just offered for general informational purposes. Same goes for the description of the etching process. Glad to hear you're quite familiar with it. But most people aren't, so I thought it would be nice to share it with anyone who might be interested.

Sorry if it somehow offended. :) :Thmbsup:

-----

P.S. I also acknowledged your suggestion in the same post (emphasis now added) so I think I understood what you were saying. ;)

The effect can be obtained digitally, either by hand, or by using a filter plug-in. Doing it by hand, as app suggested, is probably the better way to go if you want a unique look.


« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 10:28:53 AM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: Graphic Design question: Services and prices?
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2009, 10:54:40 AM »
40hz, thanks for the information about etching!  I knew that Dore did a lot of his work on wood engravings, but besides some basics, I didn't know about all those details.

The Photoshop plugins are cool.  Frankly, I'm a little annoyed by how good it looks simply by using a plugin.  But I have to admit, that is really cool.  I love that look.  However, if I go that route there are a couple of things I don't like.  First, I still have to shade the illustration properly so the plugin can do it's thing...and just that shading is going to be a lot of work.  Second, I don't really want the lines to be added so mechanically.  There's a certain touch to the drawing I did that I really like, and the same goes for Dore's.  Even though his illustrations are technically done the same way as the plugin...because he did it by hand, it has a certain touch to it.

I bought a book of Dore's illustrations and studied it pretty carefully this past weekend.  Even in his paper sketches, he utilizes the same technique.  And i really love that look.  It's exactly what I'm going for.  The plugin look, assuming I can even prep the drawing nicely enough, is a little too clean.

That being said, I may use the plugin to create references of images i want to draw.  Like I said, I'm not very good yet, so I need a lot of help to know how to shade things, so if I find a good photo of something I like, i can load it into photoshop, apply the plugin, and I can see kind of what I have to do.  Also, I really like the idea of using Illustrator.