Shark Week – Recap

Well another shark week has come and gone. I sure hope everyone had a good one and Sharkaclaus brought you lots of gifts this year. If he didn’t don’t worry Bob Ostrom Studio has you covered. Here is a little recap of all my posts from Shark Week 2015 plus a few extra goodies thrown in just for fun. Enjoy!

Working with Textures in Adobe Illustrator

texture art by Bob Ostrom

Hamburger illustration showing texturesMost people point their cameras up when there taking photos. Lately I’ve been pointing mine down. I find the best textures live on or near the ground. I’m sure my neighbors think I’ve lost it when they see me taking pictures of my driveway but I don’t care because I know it’s going to make an excellent texture for my next piece of art.

There are lots of different ways to add visual interest to a digital file.  I’ve been inspired by the some of the unique art I’ve been seeing on Instagram lately. Lots of textures and lots of originality. It seems as though the pendulum has begun to swing in the direction of a more organic look these days. Adding texture is a great way to great way to add visual interest and create a unique signature.  The trick is figuring out how some of it is done and that’s the focus right now.

I’ve worked with adding simple textures in the past but I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface when I look at some of the artists I’ve been following. This month I plan to dig in a little deeper and see if I can come up with some solutions of my own. At the same time I’ll be attempting to solve some of the problems I ran into earlier with my textures. I noticed some of the blending modes I used earlier made my art skew a little darker than I would have liked. I’d also like to see if I can find a way to add more vibrant colors to my textures at the same time.

My early attempts focused mainly on Photoshop but now I’m looking into Illustrator. The technique is slightly more complicated with Illustrator because, as you know, Photoshop offers the ease of using clipping masks where Illustrator does not. The art shown here involves two different textures placed on top of the original art using different blending mode for each. I’m pretty happy with whats going on in this illustration but for my next attempt I’d like to try and push the envelope a little further. Stay tuned for more updates.

 

chameleon texture art by bob ostrom
This art was created in Adobe Illustrator using two different texture placed on top of the original image each with a different blending mode.

 

If you’d like to see a demo of the Photoshop techniques I use just check out this video:

 

 

Rugrats and Other Things from my Attic

rugrats back off bully boys art by bob ostrom 4

Every once and a while I climb up into the attic and grab a bunch of stuff to haul off to the Goodwill store or the recycling bin. Sometimes I get lost up there and start dragging out old boxes full of memories (think Chevy Chase, Christmas vacation). Today I found one full of old disks and drives. Most of them were CD’s or DVD’s but I found a couple Zip Drives in there too. Why I save those I have no idea, it’s not like technology is suddenly going to reverse itself. Anyhow this pile of disks was from many years ago right after I bought my second MAC. I think it was a Power Mac G3… one of those blue/green ones. It was about the coolest thing since sliced bread and I was right on the cutting edge when I got it. Leafing through the disks I found one labeled Rugrats. I had almost completely forgotten about this project but it was a huge milestone in my career.

 

I had only been using Photoshop for only a couple on months when the Rugrats book Back Off, Bully Boys came into the studio. Up until then it had pretty much been just Illustrator or by hand. If I remember correctly the publisher was specifically requesting digital artists. There weren’t a lot of artists offering digital at the time so it left a big opportunity those of us who were. Wow, have things changed since then but I think if there’s one thing to be learned it’s that there is always opportunity for those willing to put themselves out in front. I certainly wasn’t the first to offer digital illustration by any means but I was ahead most other artists at my agency and many others outside as well.

 

Digital art is pretty much required these days and if you had told me back then I would be teaching Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign now I would have told you that you were crazy. Digital has gone through quite a few changes over the years. Things have gotten much easier for users but at the same time the competition has grown very intense as well. Artists who don’t know digital art find themselves a tremendous disadvantage with the gap widening every year. The odd thing is that the industry, always looking for something new, seems to have come full circle and what’s old is whats new. In other words the slick highly polished look that comes so easily to digital art is less in demand today. Publishers seem to be leaning toward things that are digital but don’t look digital. So how does an artist find that look? Textures, brushes, combining digital with traditional, all of the above, none of the above?… it’s all out there for those willing to jump out in front and make it happen and lead the way.

The Magic School Bus

magic school bus illustration by bob ostrom

Early in my career I got a call from my rep (at that time) asking me if I had ever heard of the Magic School Bus and if I wanted to illustrate a Magic School Bus book. Having no idea what I was agreeing to of course I said yes. As it turned out the animation series was just about to be released on PBS and things were really heating up for the publisher. They were looking for several artists to help illustrate books that would hit the market to coincide with the release of the PBS television show. It was about to go from a very popular book series to a very popular TV show to an even more popular book series based on the very popular TV show. How do you say no to that?

Continue reading “The Magic School Bus”

Adobe InDesign Class – Raleigh NC Area

indesign classes - image

Wake Tech Adobe InDesign Class with Bob Ostrom

image of bob ostrom teaching indesign class at wake tech

I will be teaching an Adobe InDesign Class at Wake Tech in Cary on the Western campus starting Wednesday 1/28/2015. This class is a beginner level course. It runs Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30 until 9:30 PM. Class sign ups have been extended until the day the class begins 1/28/15. I have been teaching this program for a little over 5 years now and it’s definitely one of my favorites. Learning InDesign has been a total game changer for me. I highly recommend this class for anyone who is considering a career in design, layout or publishing. Many of the student I have taught have gone on to very promising careers as a result of having completed this course. A hand full have actually picked up jobs before the course was even finished. The general consensus among the students I stay in touch with is most wish they hadn’t waited so long to take the class.

 

Wondering if InDesign is right for you?

InDesign – For Layout and design, InDesign is king. This program is sometimes overlooked by artists who use Photoshop or Illustrator because those programs get them by. If you’re tired of just getting by InDesign is a must. This program is hands down the best layout program in the Adobe creative suite and it is the industry standard for layout and design. I highly recommend all artists learn this program so they can have a complete understanding of the design process. InDesign is used by most printers with very few exceptions.  If you are thinking about a career in design, layout, print or publishing this program is a must.

Here is a little snippet from the Wake Tech site describing the course:

Adobe InDesign CC is a versatile publishing application that gives you pixel-perfect control over design, layout, and typography. Learn how to create elegant and engaging pages for brochures, posters, magazines, newspapers, and eBooks. Use responsive design tools to easily develop layouts that look great on a variety of page sizes, medium orientations, and digital devices.

For questions please contact Dustin Gurley at dcgurley@waketech.edu or by phone at 919-866-5822. Check out our blog at http://ncce.waketech.edu

So there you have it. If you are interested in signing up you have until Wednesday January 28th.

[aio_button align=”center” animation=”pulse” color=”blue” size=”medium” icon=”none” text=”Sign Up For Adobe InDesign” relationship=”dofollow” url=”http://www.waketech.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/enhance-your-career/computer-technology”]

Wild Thornberrys – An Inside look at Illustrating Licensed Art for Picture Books.

wild thornberrys childrens book art by bob ostrom

A Wild Thornberrys Book Illustrated by Bob Ostrom

When I first started doing children’s books I focused mainly on licensed properties. I did work for all the big guys… Disney, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and lots of others. It was a pretty sweet gig with the exception of one thing. Illustrators who work in the world of licensed art can tell you that it’s kind of a lonely business. Your work is everywhere but you are rarely recognized for it unless of course you are the creator. Unfortunately even creators are sometimes not given the credit they deserve depending on how the art was developed.

This art was from a Wild Thornberry’s book I did. Most of the books I did for licensed properties were a little stingy with the credits but not Scholastic and the Wild Thornberry’s. The first time I saw the actual printed book was in at Barnes and Noble on display and my name was right on the front cover in big 20 pt type. I wanted to run around the store flinging copies into the air and dancing like a fool but I figured that would just be bad form. So instead I high-fived my son who was about 4 or 5 at the time and did the dad-dance. He thought it was pretty cool too. He used to love it when I got books from properties he knew from TV because they always came with a video that we would watch over and over as I tried to get the poses just right. He would often run around the house quoting lines from whatever series we had just watched. As he got older the fun kind of wore off and the cool factor faded a bit but every now and then we’ll spot one of my books in the book store or at the library and it’s cool all over again.

(To begin slide show click on any of the images below)