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Melissa Iwai

Children's Book Illustrator and Author



Boy Pirate

I decided to take this class because I wanted to learn more about Illustrator and Photoshop and ways of creating a faster work flow in a hands on way  Also, when I saw that the process involved masks, I was intrigued, because I use masks a lot in my work.

Watching the tutorials, I did learn a lot of great tips that I hadn't been employing, so that was very helpful.  It was also inspiring to see Matt use the brushes. I never or rarely use Photoshop brushes (mainly because I don't really like the ones I have... need to explore this more!)

My pinterest boards are at:

I decided to create a boy pirate, something I could possibly use in my portfolio. So I didn't stray too far from my "style".  

I brainstormed a bit on what kind of kid he is.  Also I came up with this idea of him having a hamster "matey".  Who doesn't love hamsters, I ask you?

Here are some roughs:

I decided to use some elements of all to create a more finalized version. Not sure if I'll stick with it though. I was inspired to add the bandaid on his face -- helps the movement and composition, and I liked it on his leg in an earlier sketch. Originally I had him in regular kid clothes, like he was pretending to be a pirate, but I decided it would be more fun if he was in all pirate garb.  

I also decided he is rather pleased with himself, so I chose that stance, and added in the treasure chest, because I liked that in another sketch.

After a long hiatus in which I had massive amounts of work, I finally came back to this.  This is what I have so far.  Just the Illustrator shapes.  I really liked learning about exporting layers into Photoshop from Illustrator -- I never knew you could do that before.  I don't really like drawing in Illustrator though... very tedious!  So I'm happy that part is over, and I can work in Photoshop now!


I finally finished my pirate!  I was a bit resistant at first because I can't stand drawing in Illustrator. But I really like this method of working. I love that you can import all the layers into Photoshop and work from there. I never thought to just use auto select as a way to find the layers -- I'm usually very anal about it, grouping everything and labeling every single layer. I usually have over 100 layers.  For this one I had about 171 layers.  So it was nice not to worry about labeling everything!!

As for the color palette, I decided to go a more traditional route and stick with blue, red, white, yellow,  brown, and black and white and grey.  

I was so inspired by this little guy, I did a full illustration to be used as a sample for a mailing, since the theme (it is a group mailing with my rep) is "nautical".  I used a lot of the techniques I learned in this class to complete it -- though in this case, I didn't draw all the shapes in Illustrator... lol.  

Loved this class!  Was really pleasantly surprised at how much I learned.  I would highly recommend it! :)


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