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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Where I've Been and TN Store and Freebie

It feels like ages since my last post...I know it really hasn't been "ages" but I've been taking a small beach vacation with family!! Here is my favorite picture so far....this is just beautiful to me!!

 We've been enjoying the Carolina coast and soaking up a lot of sun before we head back home. So of course being here at the beach has my artistic wheels turning for some new sets, ideas, and is just bursting my creativity! I can't wait to get back home and work!! HA!!! I know....I'm going to enjoy these last few days and I am not going to think about work....maybe...:)

I wanted to also just give a shout out to my TN Store! I want to thank all of my new followers for choosing my shop as one of their favorites!! If you're not following me there, I hope you do! 

I also wanted to thank Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Graphics for her guest post this week! 
She has this amazing freebie that you must check out! Isn't she so sweet to share her talent with all of us!!!

I hope every one is either enjoying there first few days of summer vacation or enjoying those last few days with your students!!!!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Guest Blogger: Whimsy Workshop Graphics

I would like to welcome Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Graphics. 

Whimsy Workshop

She is sharing how she creates her graphics!

Creating Clip Art From Scratch

I am quite often asked about the process of making clip art. Although it is a lot of work, for me there's nothing quite as fun and rewarding as seeing a little drawing I've made pop up in another teacher's fantastic educational product. It must be similar to how musicians feel when they hear their song on the radio for the first time!  

I began making clip art for my own classroom activities. As a teacher who makes my own lessons, it was so frustrating to be unable to find images that helped convey the idea I was trying to put across to students. Since my background was in visual arts before I began teaching, I naturally began to just use my own drawings. Back in the old days before the internet, that meant drawing pictures right on the page and then photocopying! Now the process is so much more professional looking and so much more gratifying.  

Since this is a clip art blog, I thought I'd share with you the basic process I use for creating my clip art for my own products, and for requests from other teachers.

Step 1

I start with a basic sketch. It is very rough and messy since I don't want to spend too much time on details. I know very well I'll be obsessed with fine details later! Sketching can be done on an ipad using a drawing app (such as Brushes, Art Studio or ProCreate), or it can be done the old fashioned way in my sketchbook before scanning it. Either way it has to be exported to my computer or scanned. In this example, however, I started sketching right into photoshop using a wacom tablet. 

Step 2

I create a document that is 8.5x11 inches and set the dpi at 300. This gives me a large blank document that can be enlarged without losing resolution once the image is drawn. Next, I start my sketch, or drag my sketch into the page if it's being imported. Either way the sketch remains a separate layer and is only there for reference. In the example below, I was using an owl to represent the different holidays in a school year.

Step 3

I choose just one image to work on at a time, since whoever purchases this set will want to use just one  image at a time in their product. Essentially I am tracing over my sketch with clean black lines. 

Step 4

Because my drawings are quite stylized, I go over the lines many times to smooth them out. When I zoom in I can see that lines seeming fine are actually quite jagged! I spend a lot of time going over them to smooth them out. Although it might not be noticeable in a worksheet, if someone purchases my clip art and wants to enlarge it for a bulletin board decoration, those messy lines won't look good if I don't fix them.  This takes a very long time for a perfectionist!  
Below you can see the enlargement before and after I've cleaned it up. If I am looking for something that is completely clean, then I can use a different tool in photoshop, or even a different program such as Illustrator. However, my style looks clean, but still hand-drawn. That is all personal preference.

Step 5

Once I am happy with the drawing, I delete the sketch layer and compress all layers together. With the magic wand tool, I highlight the background and delete it. 
I save the file as a png, and it's ready to use as a black and white image. Now that the background is gone, there will be no white box around the image when it's used in a document.

Step 6

To add color, I use either the paintbrush tool or the paint bucket tool. I usually spend a lot of time choosing colors until I have it the way I like it. When I'm satisfied, I save it with the name indicating that it's the color version. 

Step 7

In the case of the Holiday Owls, I used the same original image repeatedly for consistency, but changed the outer details as needed for each holiday. Once they were all completed, I compressed them together in a zip file for uploading to TPT. 
This cover shows all of the owls; the cover page was made by dragging all the images into Powerpoint and adding text.

If you'd like to know more about how I create clip art, you can contact me over at Whimsy Workshop, where I talk about clip art and other daily happenings in my class and my life. You can also find me on Facebook and at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I look forward to hearing from you!

I'd also like to say a big thank you to Tammy for inviting me as a guest on her fantastic blog! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Sets and Back to School Set Requests

Hi everyone!!! I know some of you have already done that happy dance down the hall as you leave school for summer vacation:) And others are getting ready...either way...can you believe another year has come and gone!!!!

As a school year is ending, my mind is thinking "Back to School"!!! 

I have posted a new set all about reading. 
Click on any picture to take you to my TpT store:)
(Be sure to "follow me" for sales and updates)

As you can see from the previews, the children come in all styles so it's perfect for any classroom:)

I hope to work on a math set as well...science too:)

I have a lot of ideas brewing around in my brain that trying to tell myself....one thing at a time....is a hard thing to follow!! 

I would love to hear your needs for back to school clip art!! Comment below and share:)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five for Friday!

I'm joining Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday Link Up!

Yay for Fridays!!! For me, it means movie night with my kids, but it's way to pretty outside to stay indoors....so everyone is out playing...but me....:) Here I am blogging away:)

So here are my 5 random happenings for this week:)

I have been drilling our phone number and address into my son's head this week. EVERY DAY he has been writing it and reciting it for us. He finally has it!!! YAY!!! So I made him this little award...he was very excited:)

I'm in charge of my son's PreK class End of Year party, so I have been gathering all kinds of goodies to help them celebrate. I made the cute little tags for their beach bags:) I hope they like them!

My daughter has been working on patterns this week so I took some old scrap booking papers and cut out shapes for her to glue down. She LOVES glue...not quite sure what it is about it, but she could use a whole bottle in one sitting.

My son's class when to the strawberry patch and we loaded up on some strawberries...Then I was thinking, what am I going to do with all of these strawberries.....I made this....it was SO SO SO SO Good!!!

And finally, some nice changes are happening to our house here...we are finally getting an office!!!!! YAY!!! My hubby is very excited about it...we are half way there...

I hope everyone had a great week!!!! Have a great weekend!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Freebie Set!

Quick post tonight....I know everyone is anxiously waiting for the TpT Sale to begin:) How many of you are staying up a little late tonight posting some last minute items or making sure you have your wishlist prepared?? Yup...me too!!!

Here is a little freebie set to celebrate...click on the picture to download. Be sure to leave some feedback after commenting...I always love reading how you're going to use my graphics:)

I have been updating a couple of my sets....I'm not completely finished but the new images have been added to these files. 

My Weather Set is one of the first sets I ever made...so it was definitely time for some updating...here are the new images. 

Also my Sea Creatures have been updated. I have added more color options:)

I hope you have fun shopping!!!! Don't stay up too late:)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Sale!!!

I hope you're ready!!! There are some AMAZING sales happening this week in honor of all of you AMAZING teachers!!! I'm having sales on ALL of my sets so I hope you'll head on over and check them out!

First over at TpT on May 7-8th, all of my sets will be discounted!! So if you have sets on your wish list, be sure to grab them now for a great price.

Over at my Teacher's Notebook Shop, my sets will be on sale ALL WEEK LONG!!!  From May 4-10, you can grab some great items for a great price!!

Oriental Trading is also helping out by throwing in a $100 Gift Card every day! While you're stopping by my TN Shop, be sure to mark my shop as one of your favorites! I just opened this shop not long ago and it needs some love:) Thank you!!

Be sure to enter!!! There are so many chances to get some great products for a great price!

Here are 2 newer sets that I just posted that will be on sale!

Enjoy Everyone!!!!