Friday, February 1, 2008

Setting Up

It's been a frustrating few evenings for me at Studio Jamieson. I am changing my mode of operation, from painting on illustration board to painting on paper. Here is the reason why. I work for a large publishing company, and many artists send in illustrations on illustration board, which is not a problem for us, because we have our own camera room in-house where we can shoot these pieces for final production. Works done on paper are usually sent overseas (usually China), where they are wrapped around a drum scanner for high-quality scans. It has only embarrassingly recently come to my attention that oh, most publishers (especially smaller houses) do NOT have their own camera room at the ready! Things are much, much simpler if the art is on a flexible background.

So, as my mantra as an illustrator is "Make things easy for the publisher", I've decided to make the switch to painting on paper. I thought I remembered the basics of paper preparation from school, but it turns out I needed a little refresher course.


First I made a trip to Home Depot, and bought a composite board that can be stapled into. Homasote is best, but since the Manhattan Home Depot is not a "regular Home Depot" (as an associate told me), they don't sell homasote. Also as it is not a "regular Home Depot", they couldn't cut the board for me at the store, which made for an interesting subway ride home.


Luckily, my wonderful boyfriend was able to cut the board in our bathroom/slash/woodworking studio. Ah, how I daydream of having a garage.

I took the watercolor paper I had bought during lunch that day, and stapled that puppy to the board with my trusty staple gun. I got out my gesso, and put down the first layer. Almost immediately, things started to go awry....

Warping. After working on board for so long, I had forgotten how fickle paper can be. Rrrrrrh. I turned to my next course of action: Phone a Friend. Luckily, I have many talented and generous friends who were willing to share their paper expertise with me (in this case, the talented Theresa Bloise and Amy Ryan).

So I listened to their words of wisdom, and hightailed it to New York Central art supply the next day over lunch (If you're ever in the mood for service with amusing hipster attitude, this is the place to go!). But they have a great paper selection, and I bought a heavier stock of paper (300 lb, as opposed to the 140 lb I was using earlier). I did some experimentation when I got home, and with a little pre-wetting and a litttle patience, I achieved this beauty:


Smooth as can be, and ready to go! I cannot wait to start painting!!

5 comments:

Scott said...

Crescent brand illustration boards strip easily for laser scanning. Would that work for your publishers?

Vicki said...

I used Crescent brand boards... but even just peeling up a little corner sends shockwaves of fear through me! I'm scared it will rip or bend out of shape if I strip it off! Have you done this? Does the top layer stay perfectly flat? I think I might be too much of a chicken to mess with the final illustrations!

Scott said...

I haven't done this, I'm just going off of their product description. It just sounded easier than what you described above. Good luck.

Christina E. Rodriguez said...

You know, I think I'll be switching to 300 lbs. watercolor paper now, too. I've been using 140 lbs. for ages, and it does warp a little, even though I don't treat it with gesso first and just work with watercolor. Maybe it's time for a change.

Does the 300 lbs. come in a hotpress watercolor block, or do you have to buy the sheets individually?

Vicki said...

I really like the 300 lb.- I bought all of the sheets individually- I'm not sure if they come in a block...