I have completed eighteen pieces of work to date with the nineteenth well on the way, and so I am near to the final twenty I require for a comprehensive overview portfolio, for my upcoming website. With this in mind I have now begun to finalise my work one by one. I am doing this in two ways, the first is to put my work through digital editing software to enable the best viewing for the web. I use two packages, the first is Picasa I use this to crop and fine tune the individual pieces, to ensure utmost clarity, colour, and exposure, This is very minimal, but it is necessary, mainly to make up for the inadequacies of photography. I photograph my work myself after a few misfortunate episodes with a few photographers and the poor results they offered me. Now the daylight isn't as good as in the warmer months, it is more difficult to get it right. waiting for a sunny day in the UK in the winter lol. The second digital software I use is Gimp. I have found this an excellent package, in a lot of ways better than photoshop, and it certainly has the majority of functionality of photoshop. Again I use this software to fine tune the images, and in some cases I do use a tablet and pen to touch up areas that may require it. However, this is largely unnecessary. I am trying to produce beautiful artwork , I have worked hard on my technique with traditional media, to perfect the techniques to enable the right 'feel' I am trying to create. That of a warm depth, that only traditional media offers.however as soon as it is introduced to the digital format, things change, not only for the artwork, but also the way others may view it, with regards to differing computer screens and resolutions etc. And so because the process of trying to arrive at the correct visual dynamics as in reality a certain amount of adjustment is required to replace what is lost going from reality to digital and trying to achieve a solid grounding by which everyone will 'see' the work. I have experimented widely with digital methods, to achieve this and now I have a standard application I stick to. like I say, its minimal intervention but it is necessary. I have also begun to position my work within the context that the work was intended for, namely I have begun to introduce text as mock ups . This serves the purpose of enabling the viewer to see the illustration as was intended, ie in a book/page layout. I believe this is good for two reasons, it shows the context of the work to the original story/text it was made to illustrate. And it further supplies the viewer with the reality of the story, and potentially bringing a more pronounced enjoyment of the illustration. It is also good for prospective agents,publishers, and commissioners to see the work in context. And so I have been adding text to each of my illustrations, I have also digitally drawn around the work to strengthen the white page, enabling a more pronounced professional bias. The process would in fact be used by the graphic designer, before going to print. amongst other manipulations, and so I am preempting this, to a degree also. Obviously there are a number of ways to add text to images within a book format, and so what I have achieved is an indication of what could be done and how the work would look within a text context. There are hundreds of fonts, sizes and layouts possible, I am just offering an alternative an indication. I have designed my illustrations variously to encompass all the relevant formats , for example I have produced some for Insets within a page or possibly a rap around text option., some for half pages and others for full pages, I am also aware of the potential bleed an image may have for a prospective publication and this would be a requirement from the commissioner.
I am very pleased that my new website dedicated to children's book illustration is near to completion, by the end of November I should be in the position to finally publish it. I researched extensively to find a web designer that would offer the kind of website I was looking for, essentially a portfolio website, that also offered extensive SEO optimisation. I eventually came across a husband and wife partnership, who were also professionally qualified in Marketing. The website designers are :https://www.red-website-design.co.uk/ and the host is wordpress. My domain name is certified and will be johnhoganchildrensbookillustration.com. I am now in the process of adding text and images to the website. I have also designed and produced my Logo and avatar, below:
Below are a selection of the final images that have undergone the process as described above, I am a perfectionist and so I hope they are complete now , the first three are actually part of a book I am writing and illustrating in my spare time. Little Jack's big adventure.