Children’s book Illustrators of the past created artwork by hand and copied each version by hand. With the advent of the press, copies were able to be made by engraving plates. After that came digital reproduction and four color printing presses.
Today’s Children’s book Illustrator faces a lively and amazing digital world much different form the past. With e-books and smartphones the world for the average kids book artist has become hyper interactive. Where does a children’s book Illustrator fit into today’s digital age? What does he or she need to know to be able to create kids book art that in compliant with the demands of today’s fast paced interactive world?
First of all, lets explore the types of digital files vector and bitmap. Even traditional art becomes digital once it is scanned into the computer. That type of artis called bit-mapped art. Anything scanned in or created in Photoshop or Corel Painter is considered bit-mapped art, meaning that it is comprised of pixels. You can always scale this type of artwork down in size without loosing resolution but never up as the software will interpolate (guess and make up) the pixels in between the ones you are expanding. The solution to this problem is vector illustration.
Vector Children’s book artwork can be scaled to any size and not lose resolution as it is resolution in dependent. This is the same way that text is created for example, you can scale text up or down and it will always print sharp. Vector artwork is a mathematical type of art and programs like Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw as-well-as many other programs now widely available.
While the argument can be made that Vector artwork is more cartoony than the photo-realistic work of bit-mapped images, I would point out that there are many new features in the vector software that allow for the same realistic look as bit-mapped images but with the scalable features that only vector can create. If you do a Google search for photo-realistic vector you will find many examples. Tools like gradient mesh and different brush styles can give your vector artwork the same if not better look than that of bit-mapped.
As I mentioned earlier, Vector artwork is mathematically based. That means that you Children’s book art will load faster in interactive online content. The only Caveat to that point would be the photo-realistic with heavy meshing will be a large slow file to load.
When you create illustrations in Vector you are able to create groups and sub-groups. That allows you to group a particular character together so that you can move and scale it independently within your scene. You can also group the head within that groups and simple double click your character to move the head around and even sub features like eyes can be even small sub-groups. Proper organization of your grouping will go a long way in saving you time while maintaining a professional non-degrading piece of art, especially when scaling.
Lastly, while there are many more features in vector software that can help the Children’s book Illustrator realize a great potential for their work, I would like to mention the feature of select all same. Since this is all vector and mathematical, things work bit differently that pixel based art. If you are working on your whole book in one file on several art-bards and your client says that they want to change a red shirt to blue, you can select one instance of the shirt and choose select same fill and with all of the instances of the shirt selected change the color of them all, all at once, with a few clicks.
There are many more reasons to choose vector as your design preference than I can cover in this article but I challenge you to explore the world of vector art and discover more reasons to love this timeless art form in your Children’s book illustrations.Google+