03 September 2013

August flew by

Quick update of last month's activity with Pink Pig....

Main event was a 22 day stint exhibiting at the Wet End Fair in Edinburgh.
Hugely successful, and a definite annual event for me, the fair was the busiest I'd ever attended. 
It coincided with the Edinburgh Festival, so there were hundreds of tourists visiting, as well as locals, many who made a point of visiting the fair every year. The best thing was, the weather was fab! 
Here are a couple of pics of the build up-
 OOh er...a bare unit- where to start?!

Waiting at bus stop on first morning of fair..."I'm sure I've forgotten something" (Turns out we had!..the keys to the padlock for our unit!)
All set up and raring to go!..

24 April 2013

Gift Fairs, and more!

Spring is here, and at last we've had a glimpse of that big yellow thing in the sky here in Edinburgh!
I totally love this time of year, and feel it's the time to try new things, take on new challenges, and really go for it with illustration stuff!

I've been building up my new online shop PinkPigArt , which has thrown up lots of unexpected new challenges, both with the admin of the website, and the production of goodies which I sell from the shop.
I am determined to use only local (or at least UK) manufacturers, and use, where possible, companies I know and trust and have worked with before, and so far, this has been really successful.So it's onwards and upwards with that.
Next, I am continuing to upload new illustrations to all the royalty stock sites I contribute to (see last post) and this is a pretty time consuming business. I'm getting there though, so do please check out the sites and bookmark when you are next shopping for quality illustrations at low cost.

Thirdly, I am doing something completely new- Trading at local gift fairs!
This has been more fun than I can imagine, and I recommend to any illustrator, designer, artist who wants to spread their wings, get instant feedback on their designs, and hopefully make some extra cash into the bargain!
The best part is meeting new people, who (mostly!) give lovely feedback on my illustrations, and give me lots of ideas and motivation to keep going.

I sell my illustrations and gifts, promote my webshop, and Mr.Pink Pig helps me out too, so it's a lovely way to spend the day together doing something we're both interested in ( I love chatting to everyone and he loves taking in the cash!!!!)

Check out all Pink Pig's Gift Fair and Market days here

Ok- that's my Spring update- here's a couple of pictures from some of the recent fairs I've been to recently.

Lots more Gift Fairs planned this year, so please do come and say Hi! if you're in the Edinburgh area.
This weekend we're really excited to be exhibiting at the Livingston Shopping Centre. Will post pics soon.

19 December 2012

Great news!

I am now selling my royalty free illustrations through all these new stock sites!...

Shutterstock, Fotolia, Depositphotos, 123RF, Veer, Bigstock, Canstock, Dreamstime, Vectorstock, and Alamy.

I am in the process of uploading to these sites in batches, but as I have around 500 vector images to upload to 10 sites, and keyword, add descriptions, etc for each, it is going to take a little bit of time to complete!

On top of my other work, this has made for a very busy December.
I decided recently to drop my exclusivity status with my stock illustrations on istockphoto.com The site  has been amazing for me over the years, and, as well as giving me a residual income through selling stock images there, I've gained some fantastic illustrations directly from my istock portfolio.
However, I feel the time is right to expand onto other sites, and I am optimistic that the obvious loss of revenue from dropping exclusivity at  istock will be made up for by the combination of sales from all the other sites.
Time will tell!

I will still be selling illustrations at istock, of course, and adding to my folio there, so if you are one of my lovely customers-please keep buying!

I hope you'll come and check out my portfolio on the other sites and do let me know if there is a particular image from my from my istock portfolio which you'd like to see on one of your favourite stock sites, and I'll do my best to upload it there if possible.

As it's the Christmas week, enjoy these Christmas images that are available on many of the above sites.

Finally, to everyone who's visited my blog, a big 'thank you'!
Have a fantastic Christmas, and a joyous, peaceful New year wherever you are.
Thanks for taking time to read my posts and tutorials.
See you in 2013!

26 October 2012

Illustrators do actually 'draw'!

Every now and then, I feel the need to let everyone know (roughly) how digital vector illustrations are created. There is an assumption that if art has been created digitally, then it is not really 'art'.
I have had so many instances where someone is checking out my illustrations, and having initially liked the work in question, then asks that question ....."Do you create these digitally?"
The unspoken significance of the question being, of course, that if I did, then it cannot possibly be a real piece of illustration, or indeed 'proper art' !

This is the point where I blush shamefully down at my shuffling feet and confess in whispered tones, that 'yes, it was created digitally.... (Not really!...But you get the point)
Personally, I don't give a stuff if my work is considered 'art' or not. What I would like to clear up though, is that to create an illustration, I do not press a button on my 'pooter and illustrations just come flying out !..nae skill, nae input, nae artistic ability. I can draw actually.

The facts are, if you can't draw, then no computer, or illustration software is going to disguise this.
You have to be able to DRAW. Simple as that.
I always start a project with a sketch, or more likely lots of sketches. They are sketched over in a layout pad, refined, and tweaked, and then scanned into Photoshop as a base for my vector illustration.
That is where the vector magic comes in, and I trace over my sketch with a digital pen, refining and colourising on the computer until I have an illustration which can be changed/re-coloured as much as I like at the click of a Wacom pen. It really is an incredible process, and one which can throw up loads of unexpected results and surprises, and I feel, every bit as creative as hand drawing everything traditionally with pen, pencil, or watercolour..whatever.

Below are some sketches and the final 'digital' versions of the artwork.

Not that I am anti  traditional methods, far from it.
It is fab to see hand drawn illustration featuring again so much right now in all areas of publishing, particularly editorial, and children's illustration. 
It's so weird because as a student back in the late 70's (yip..there are some of us around still) computers didn't exist! We set type with rub down transfer lettering called Letraset (does it still exist?) and hand set metal type on great big Heidelberg printing presses in the great big printing department in Edinburgh College of Art. That bit I do not miss one little bit.
Below  are some of my early commissions as an illustrator. They were for Floris Books, a lovely publisher in Edinburgh who published many of the Scottish history books which are now part of the school curriculum.
Here are some of my watercolour images for them.
I just think it's interesting to look back on how different my work was then to the images I now produce for clients.

11 October 2012

New online webstore!

 At last! Exciting news.... I've finally launched my own online shop, Pink Pig Art selling art prints, personalised art, kids art, and photography!
Several customers asked me last year for my artwork as prints or canvas so they could hang in their own homes. So I did, and one thing led to another, and here we are with a whole shop choc full of pink pig art.

There's loads of kids art here, all ready to personalise as gifts, but I've also included some of my more popular photographs as canvas art for interiors, and time will tell what's more popular, and what to concentrate on.

Early days, but I'm thrilled with response and first orders, so look out for more gifts coming to the store soon.
Here's a tiny selection of the gifts selling in the store..do check it out if you have time, and please do spread the word if you like it!

I know a lot of illustrators read my blog, and if you like the idea of having your artwork on canvas, then I can  totally recommend getmeinprint . 

27 September 2012

Christmas illustrations

I've noticed a big increase this week in Christmas illustration sales in my istock portfolio.
Designers must be getting a head start with their stuff.
 I know that, having worked a lot for card publishers, they would have been thinking about Christmas 2013 way back in summer! Anyway, thanks to all those customers who have bought my stuff recently. More are being added as we speak!
Here's a sneak peek at a couple of Santa designs.
UPDATE: Santa on Scooter is available to buy here now

13 August 2012

Canvas art

I've been selling canvas wall art recently.
It's difficult enough in the freelance illustration world, and for me, it's another way to generate more income through artwork I've already worked hard to create.

Here's a recent canvas which I've just sold, (and which I've had printed for my hubby who wanted it for his office wall!) This one is a lovely big 40 inches x 16 inches.

Update!: This whisky illustration canvas wall art is now ready to buy at www.pinkpigart.co.uk!

A wonderful local company, Southfield Stationery produced the canvas art from my illustrations. I recommend them highly!
They are a well established, local company who I know and trust very well, and the quality of the products they produce for artists is truly outstanding. The canvas is high quality and it's printed on with archival inks.
Go to their website getmeinprint.com if you want to find out more about printing your art on canvas, and other products in small quantities. Or email Derek here for more information.

Above is the original illustration that I used for my canvas print. It's had quite a bit of interest from whisky lovers already!
Look out for my new website coming soon with more canvas art, personalised art prints!
And feel free to email me if you want more details about buying my canvas art.

24 July 2012

New illustrations- Sucessful Women

These illustrations are now available to buy from my royalty free portfolio- check out the links below each.

Juggling Woman You can adapt this illustration to suit your own project/design etc by choosing the icons that best suit your needs. Do email me if you need help editing any of my royalty free illustrations. 

Money Woman  is a versatile illustration for all those power blogging successful business women out there!
Three different currency versions included with purchase of image. 

07 June 2012

June update

Lots happening in my illustration world just now, and thought a blog post was way overdue.
Firstly, and very exciting, is my new garden studio which was built a couple of weeks ago.
I love it! I still have to get shelves, pictures, etc organised, but I'm in there and I'm working, and I love it!
It's brilliant leaving all the mess in the house and having my own space. Here are the pics of shed being built and one of the interior. Betta Buildings built, delivered, and installed the building, and they were amazing. If you are in the UK, I recommend highly!

Now the excitement of the garden office being installed is over, I am getting down to illustrating again.

I have a really exciting new business venture happening now, and I'm working like crazy to get that off the ground- so look out for news of that in the next blog post hopefully.

I'm also building up my stock illustrations, and this is one I'm about to add to my craft/hobby range of royalty free images
Scrapbooking Girl should be in the portfolio in the next couple of days.

01 April 2012

Wacom Inkling -first impressions

I have been very excited waiting for delivery of my long overdue Christmas present of the new Wacom Inkling. It arrived on Friday and I have had the weekend to play and experiment with it. I really really wanted this to live up to the hype, as I thought it would be the ideal tool to make me sketch more, and save time in the process.
The idea behind the pen is that you can sketch directly onto paper and a sensor electronically records your pen strokes. When you plug the sensor in to to the computer, the sketch is automatically transformed to either vector line art or raster art for Photoshop or other raster editing software.
Magic!..or is it?
 'Live Trace' in Illustrator CS5 is useful for converting sketches to vector line art too, but I had hoped that the Inkling would add a new dimension to my illustrations - making the vector version closer to the original sketch and more authentic- more hand drawn.
My impressions are so far, disappointing.
Once all the green sensor light on the devices came on, and let me know all was well technically, I charged on and traced an old sketch to see how the Inkling would record my artwork.
Here are my first results:

Just look at the inkling rendition! Obviously no good- but since posting these images, I have discovered that I need to draw at a bigger scale to get good results.
(Read on below) 

2nd April 2012:
Update- Having read this review from macworld.com I can see that my original sketch is too small to record accurately. it seems that drawing on a bigger scale would give me better results. However, most of the sketches I want to make are doodles in my a4 sketchbook and they are always small- it's just how I work to begin with. I could scan the sketches, blow them up and re-trace the bigger size sketch with the Inkling to achieve more accurate results. But what would be the point? I might as well scan my sketch in and simply use Live Trace in Illustrator. So very disappointed with this device so far.
Will add to updates as I go along. Please do comment and advise if you have the Inkling and are happy with it- I would love to love it!

Ok I have tried drawing bigger, and the results are way better- I have to say.
It's not 100% accurate to my original (very quick) sketch-some tiny lines are missing or change a bit- but you have to look hard to find them- and it can all be edited in Illustrator anyway.
One thing I hadn't expected is the huge amount of points that the paths have- you can see what I mean in the comparison pictures below. 
It is fairly easy to correct this  in Illustrator though, by going to 'object-path-simplify' from the menu, and playing with the settings, and I don't have a problem with this really.

I'm much happier with these results from the Inkling, but I don't normally sketch ideas out in this scale, and not sure if I can work spontaneously this way.

You can see some comparisons below and I will post more updates throughout this month.
1. Above: My original sketch

2.Above: Sketch recorded via Inkling

You can see this is fairly accurate, but if you look at areas such as the girl on the right's bag, for instance, you can see the lines have actually altered, and some parts of her hair are in different places from original.
To be fair, this may be paper moving slightly, or my rushing the sketch so I could check this comparison out right away. I think from reading other reviews, it will take some time to get used to the pen and learn it's quirks.

3. Above: This is my sketch scanned and vectorised using 'Live trace' in Illustrator CS5
Personally- I prefer this as the strokes are nearer my original and nothing has moved.
It's still not 100% same as original sketch, but better, I think, than the Inkling version. This method does involve two more stages, (scanning and then tracing using Live Trace) but time doing this is minimal, and at this point, to me, worth the effort.

Above: These are the two vectorised illustrations in outline mode so you can see the points on the path.
The top one is the Inkling version, and bottom is my 'Live Trace' version.

I will carry on updating, and please, please do comment and help me out if you have an Inkling-thank you!

April 2nd- afternoon update:
I've been sketching on and off this afternoon, and still haven't decided whether this is a useful tool to me!
It's such fun drawing and then just plugging  in and scanning etc- but the results are unpredictable.

Some areas are perfect, others unusable.
I created a floral sketch repeat pattern using the pen which I enjoyed creating and didn't take me too long- this was fun, I have to say. However, I made sure the sketch was big- it covered about half of the A4 page.

*These have all been cleaned up in Illustrator, so although it doesn't show the inkling sketch- I can confirm it was very near the original. It took me about 25 minutes to clean up the sketch (which I would have done with a scanned drawing too):

So far so good then, and encouraged, I pressed on to do some quick ideas for a kids project I am working on.
I kept to the A4 page, but I found it impossible to draw naturally any bigger than the scale you see here.
Results, as I sort of expected, are not so good.
Especially the castle at the bottom left of image- it's very distorted.

I think the pen will suit fine if I have projects where I am comfortable drawing on a bigger scale- a bit limiting though. Disappointed, as I'd hoped to take the pen out and about with me /pretty much attach it to my sketchbook and sketch as I normally would. It doesn't look like this is going to be an option, unless I fill each page of my sketchbook with large sketches each time- which is not how I'd work naturally.

I will continue to experiment and publish my results!