Friday, February 24, 2012

Finding Your Images on the Web

Recently an artist friend of mine had an image of his artwork stolen from the web and then entered into a competition under the thief's own name. Luckily my friend was onto this quite quickly and filed a complaint with the competition organisers who withdrew the thief's entry.

But how do you know when or where an image or photo you created and uploaded to your blog, website or social media page is then taken and re-used by someone else? There are millions of sites out there. Your images could be anywhere, masquerading as someone else's creative talent, or simply used without any reference to you as the creator and copyright holder.

The answer is simple. Google has introduced 'Search by Image'. You can easily drag and drop an image from your computer into the 'Search Box' or upload one from your computer and then search the entire web for every website where your image appears. Just like magic!

The other handy use for 'Search by Image' is if you find an image on the web and want to find out more about it. Perhaps you want to know who the artist or photographer is. Simply copy the image URL and go to, then right click on the camera icon and paste the URL; or if you have Chrome Extension or Firefox Extension you can just right click on any image on the web. Quite handy for research.

Of course I've tried this with one of my own illustrations, fully expecting to find my artwork on a heap of sites. It turned up on three: here on my blog, my website and the third was the blog of a friend of mine. That was fine with me, but she did forget to reference the image with my full name and a link to my website - online etiquette. If she had, it would've turned up on the Google Alert I have out on my own name and I would've been informed by email - another handy Google tool.

Have a go at searching for your own images and then come back and leave a comment on whether you found anything. Perhaps you'll uncover a following you didn't know you had or ... a den of online thieves!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Books for Children's Illustrators

I've been meaning to post about this for some time. As part of my Write and Illustrate a Picture Book workshop I lug around a pile of books, many of them on the art of the picture book and specifically aimed at Children's Book Illustrators.

Here is my list of delicious books to inspire, devour, own, borrow and pour over:

Writing with Pictures by Uri Schulevitz has been around for some time and is written in four parts: One - Telling the Story; Two - Planning the Book; Three - Creating the Pictures; Four - Preparing for Reproduction. This book is like attending a masterclass every time you open it.

Illustrating Children's Books- Creating Pictures for Publication by Martin Salisbury is a very popular reference. It's broken up into chapters on: History; Drawing; Media, Materials and Techniques; Character Development; The Picture Book; Illustration for Older Children; Non Fiction illustration; Design and Typography; Getting Published. I first discovered this one at the library and now have my own copy.

Making Picture Books by Libby Gleeson is for both writers and illustrators. Whichever you are, you need to read this book as picture books are a marriage of both crafts, and to do one well you must understand how they both work.

The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children's Books by Desdemona  McCannon, Sue Thornton and Yadzia Williams is well worth a read. It's a book I usually borrow from the library and is on my 'must buy' list.  

Creative Illustration Workshop for mixed media Artists by Katherine Dunn. Just delightful.

The Encyclopedia of Illustration Techniques by Catherine Slade

Below is an overview from Amazon.
* A fully illustrated, step-by-step guide to more than 50 illustration techniques, from watercolors and pen-and-ink to collage and wood engraving 

* Offers professional guidance on all aspects of illustration, from mastering basic techniques to developing an eye-catching personal style 

* Provides information on getting the best reproduction results for your illustrations and tips on time-saving methods 

A year ago I bought myself the most useful book ever called Facial Expressions - A Visual Reference for Artists by Mark Simon. 

Normally I have a mirror handy when drawing a variety of expressions, but sometimes my eyes are squeezed shut, depending on the emotion, and that's where this book comes in handy. The book is filled with facial shots of male and female adult models of all ages and sizes and a range of ethnicities. Their expressions show a variety of emotions and some pretty crazy face pulling as well. It's a great reference book for illustrators. I've just purchased the companion book which has photos of 'Babies to Teens'. Can't wait for it to arrive!

Mark Simon also has an E-Book companion to his Facial Expressions books, which you can download at his website.

Lastly, I have a selection of good cartooning books to add to the mix, which I often refer to for a few tricks of the trade.

What are your favourite illustration reference books? I look forward to your recommendations in the comments below. Now let's go draw!