Tuesday, May 19, 2009

SCBWI, wonderful peoples, and working digitally

This past weekend I was at the Western Washington SCBWI conference in Redmond, near Seattle. I had a great time, and got some very good notes from Grace Lin's breakout session on being a full time children's book illustrator.

Had a chance to meet some old friends and make some new ones: Deb Lund, Richard Jesse Watson, Dana Sullivan, Jim Di Bartolo, Michael Stearns, and Kevan Atteberry to name just a few of the wonderful people that I was able to talk to and hang out with.

From an illustrator's perspective, one of things that I was surprised by about the conference was the number of people that I spoke to who are interested in working digitally, or are working digitally, but are having challenges working in Adobe Photoshop, or are working only with a mouse. This is a bit of a multifaceted issue, in that many people (including some of the presenters) were only vaguely aware of Corel's Painter program. I don't want this to get into one is better than the other, but more of a "here's another option" post. I've been working in Adobe Photoshop since version 2, but for me, I find Painter to be far more intuitive and easy to use when painting digitally. Also, Painter is much less expensive than Photoshop.

The other thing that I was struck by was how many people are attempting to work digitally with a mouse. You *need* to get a Wacom Tablet at the very least. Corel and Wacom occaisionally do promotions where you can get Painter with a tablet. It makes life *so* much easier.

Ok, that's it for now. Time to go draw!


  1. I agree about the graphics tablet being a must-have. Sadly, mine isn't pressure-sensitive - it's more of a digital sketchpad, so the stylus is either on or off depending whether you're hovering over the surface of the tablet or actually making contact. The neat thing about mine is that it's portable, and if I load the stylus with an ink cartridge, I can sketch pen on paper, and save a digital version at the same time, then d/l it when I get home.

    Still jonesing for a Wacom, though.

  2. Interesting.
    Maybe a session on working digitally would be helpful next year?
    Thanks for coming to the conference, Shane!

  3. Dave - that's pretty cool that you load an ink cartridge in your stylus. Most wacom pads are portable to one degree or another - especially handy if you've got a laptop like I do.

    Kim - I think something like that would be great. Nuts & Bolts type break out sessions, where you actually have people working on and with stuff, would also be fantastic. I wouldn't be surprised if you could get some sort of sponsorship form Adobe, Corel, and Wacom for the SCBWI as well.