Welcome to the YJStudios illustration blog. I am Yoel Judowitz, a professional illustrator specializing in books, products, packaging, and educational programs. I will use this blog to share my insight and knowledge on the subjects of art and illustration. For more info see my website www.yjstudios.com
Category Archives: Cartoon and Character Design
It was obviously very important for the title of this picture to be in French. It means “A most plucky fellow” according to the 1878 NYT article on French colloquialisms that I found. Perfect. My 3 year old son now has a copy proudly hanging right next to his pillow. “It’s not a monster tatty, it’s only a picture of a monster.” This next generation is so much smarter than we are, we’ll never keep up.
Tonight’s custom illustrated bedtime story was about this character ( Big Boris) who lives in the castle from the previous blog entry (which hangs over my daughters bed) as an assistant (“like your morah has an assistant,”) to the king.
At this point the letter that Big Boris was supposed to deliver together with the prince /protagonist ( “like your morah has a protagonist,”) has been lost on the journey to the land of islands while they were struggling to push the royal carriage up the mountain (“not that type of carriage, Shlomo, actually, yes, definitely yes, Boris and the prince were being pushed in a big royal baby carriage up the mountain, much better”)
As my kids know already – “and then, just like that, it was GONE,” is right before the good part, so stay tuned…
Beth Medrash Govoha is the largest Rabbinical Seminary in the world outside of Israel, with over 6,500 students. I am a graduate of BMG.
The cartoon “family” that appears in the ad was originally created by the renowned Israeli artist Gadi Pollack.
Some of the art in this illustration is based on my memories of studying at the Mir Yeshiva in Israel.
In particular I remember a cleaners called “Whitesheep” next to the Mir Yeshiva. In this illustration I changed it to “Whitefish” which is the word sheep backward in Hebrew. There are some other references as well if you look closely.
I choose the theme of a Meah Shearim Hachnasas Sefer Torah because it encapsulates for me the experience of Israel.
The sky turns shades of pink and gold and the torches glow light up the smiling faces of the children. The music rises and falls, winding through the narrow streets ahead of the swaying dancers - there is a deep sense of peace and joyous closeness with G-d.
* Trivia Question: What time of the year does this must this picture depict?
I had a great time making a series of cartoons depicting different types of Jewish dads for the cover and feature father’s day article of this week’s The Jewish Home - a newspaper servicing the greater New York area.
See page 78 for the full article.
Step 1- Line art on it’s own layer. (I used Denis Zilbers pencil brush see my post here on all types of great brushes.*see the end of post for screenshot of my layers)
Step 2 – Add a flat mid tone beneath the line art ( Use magic wand to select negative space with contiguous checked, than select inverse, than go to select/modify/contract by 2 pixels- than fill with desired color – this prevents space between fill and line)
Step 3 – Add a new monotone values layer above the mid tone layer defining the light source/s and forms ( I used 4 values for this picture the mid grey plus 2 darker and 1 light. Be sure to alt + click between the flat layer and the value layer above it to auto mask to the flat layer – now you don’t have to worry about going out of the lines)
Step 4 - Add a color gradient layer over the value layer to define the key color/s (Use the same alt + click trick as before. I used a complimentary color combo here. For a great Corel Painter like color wheel to add to photoshop see me post here)
Step 5 – Add some paint strokes for reflected lighting/rim lighting on another layer above ( Look beneath the nose and chin – I used a saturation layer – you can use a different color/source to make it more interesting)
Step 6 - Add a background beneath all the layers ( I used a gradient plus some interesting texture brushes see the links above for brushes and texture resources)Step 7 – Final step -Add an adjustment “levels” layer above all the layers to bring out the dark and lights of the picture and make it richer.
This method separates value painting from color painting. It is a classic approach and is used by many pro artist.
A popular alternative method is to paint the local colors first and than the values in color on top of them.
A middle ground might be to fill the canvas with the key color/s and than paint the middle/dark values and darks in a more or less “monotone” of the key colors and finally add more diverse colors and color accents toward the end along with the light/middle and highlights. I think this final method might be the fastest for many pictures while still making it easier to separate value from color.
One step that many digital artists add to this process is adding textures in the form of photos or brushes on an adjustment layer like overlay or soft light set to a mid or low level transparency.