A positive attitude may not solve all your problems,
but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

[Herm Albright]

SunflowerI’ve been working on illustrations for a book that one of my clients is publishing — twelve pencil drawings of various flowers. They will be printed grayscale as pencil drawings, but I thought I’d experiment with one of them in Photoshop. After scanning it in and making it sharper and darker, I put its layer on “multiply.” On a new layer below, I eyedroppered the colors out of an actual photograph, and painted with a watercolor brush selection. This took me about ten minutes.

This is where the positive attitude thing comes in. I’ve been struggling with these illustrations. If I were doing the illustrations for a book of my own, they wouldn’t have been such a challenge. But, my client’s writing is so lovely, I wanted the drawings to be just right to go with his words. I kept redrawing flowers until I realized I was simply playing with my own mental blocks. It also didn’t help that I was trying to draw flowers while snow was falling past my window.

I knew I needed an attitude adjustment. I put away my knitting, and stacked my keyboard on top of my computer (I no longer own a drafting table). It was time to get serious. I also quit looking at sketches of old masters (da Vinci, et al) — there is as much difference between a No.2 pencil and a silver-point drawing tool as there is between me and a master. Then I gave myself my “you can do this” lecture. The flowers are finished and in the book layout. My attitude has improved and I’m sure this exercise had to have been character building.

Now, where did I put my knitting needles?