I’ve got a book birthday coming up.
March 8th, to be exact. The book is Chuck and Woodchuck. I got a box of ’em last week.
The crazy thing is, Tom has a book birthday on the same day, for his book Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall. We’re gonna have a book party at Imaginations Toy & Furniture Co. (1531 South Main Street in Blacksburg, VA) on that very day, March 8th, at 6:00 pm. It’s gonna be fun.
But this post is actually a big ol’ thank-you note to the amazing Kyle T. Webster.
Kyle is an amazing, amazing illustrator. He is also the smartest and most creative designer of digital brushes for use with Photoshop on this planet, ever. Kyle sells these brushes and sometimes he even GIVES THEM AWAY. I am not kidding. They are astonishing in how right they feel when you use them in conjunction with a pressure-sensitive tablet, like Wacom’s Cintiq. Just amazing.
When I was studying illustration back in the 90s, I would scoff at the mere idea of using a computer to create an illustration. Ha! Only things completely made by hand were acceptable. What a stiff stickler I was.
Flash forward about 10 years. Fortunately, I had loosened up about the computer, and my first book, Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood, was done almost totally on the computer, with Freehand (remember that glorious program?) and Photoshop. I am as surprised as you are about this ironic twist regarding my career.
But there’s no way I could have foretold the impact that Kyle’s brushes would make on my work in the future. Need something that looks—and behaves—like ink? Like chalk? Like watercolor? Like screentones? Like oil paint? Like oil paints applied with a palette knife? Kyle has created brushes for ALL of this stuff, and more.
Which brings me back to Chuck and Woodchuck, the book that’s celebrating its birthday on Tuesday: It looks like watercolor. But it ain’t. It’s digital! Not only that…it’s KYLE T. WEBSTER DIGITAL!
Here’s a final illustration from Chuck and Woodchuck. I’ll show you a bit of what I did to create it. Very little of it would be possible without Kyle’s brushes. (BEWARE! What lies ahead is only for the folks who really, really dig the boring computer techno stuff!)
Check out this slide show that shows what a difference some extra line work in different colors can do for a bunch of blobby colors…
Hopefully that gives you a little sampling of what it was like to create this book. It took a lot of work, but it would have been a LOT more work without the assistance of the amazing KYLE T. WEBSTER!
And wanna hear something cool? When Tom was working on his book, Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall, he used Kyle’s brushes, too! Especially the screentones. Holy moly, those are amazing.
So, come March 8th, we’ll be celebrating not just our joint book birthdays, but we’re also going to take the time to acknowledge just how important Kyle T. is to us and for the work we do.
So…hop on over to his website and get yourself some awesome brushes NOW! And here’s a bit of great news: Kyle’s got his FIRST EVER picture book coming out in August. It looks like a BEAUTY! Congrats, sweet Kyle T.!
P.S. I’m working on another book, and I’m using Kyle’s Mr. Natural Brush (my all-time favorite), Chunky Charcoal, and Kyle’s Screentones 67!