February 13, 2019

Night is Nigh by Galen Longstreth

In my last post I talked about how I first learned to use textured photoshop brushes while coloring Vera Brosgol's Be Prepared.  After finishing that project, I was very excited to try out these new techniques on my next full color project, Night is Nigh, a picture book written by my sister Galen which I illustrated.

The main thing I used the textured brushes for was highlights on various surfaces (for instance the face of the boy holding the flashlight shown below).  To help highlight this technique, I also decided to use the same textured brush to create a rough edge around each illustration in the book:

Since the entire book takes place at night, I also experimented with putting a multiplied layer of blue over the entire image and then using different values in the layer mask to show or hide the blue to varying degrees. Wherever these "lighting" highlights/shadows appeared, I also used the textured brush which gave a nice soft edge to these effects.  Here you can see an illustration next to its layer mask information (on the characters only - backgrounds were on their own layer). The darker the gray, the less blue is applied, the lighter the gray, the more blue is applied: 

One last area of experimentation for me on this book was setting up my print files using a higher resolution Black plate (in this case 600 dpi) with lower resolution Cyan, Magenta and Yellow plates (300 dpi), and then combining them in InDesign.  The final printed book had really nice, crisp lineart!  This was all a good test run for the first Isle of Elsi book which I will be laying out soon.

As you can tell, I learned a lot by coloring this book!  Below are some of my favorite spreads:
You can find ordering information for Night is Nigh on this page, including a link to a free eBook version!  It's a fun bedtime story about camp.

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