I thought now would be a good time to share some of my work as Binky McKee here, while I am developing new Binky illustration work for a project. I can’t show the actual project yet, but in the mean time I can share some of my process. I illustrate under the nom-de-plume of Binky McKee, McKee being my maternal family name, and Binky the name of every single cat, regardless of sex, my great-grandmother kept during her long life (about 40 in total, not all at the same time!) So in honour of the great McKee name and in fond memory of all the Binkies, my aim as Binky McKee is to create images which enchant, and help stories come to life through play.
In contrast to my Heather Eliza Walker drawings, which are made totally by hand, the work I do as an illustrator is mostly digital; composed, created and finished in Photoshop CC. I make lots of drawings the traditional way by hand on paper, usually using pencil and watercolour as in the example above, and scan them into a library. I keep libraries of images of every different kind to use in my illustrations: as well as watercolours and drawings, I collect photographs, antique engravings, textures, papers, patterns, home-made effects etc. I try and keep my cataloguing comprehensive so I can easily find anything I need at any given time. Recently I have also started to use a Wacom Bamboo tablet to trace drawings straight into Photoshop, so there is a lot of scope for working on drawings in a whole variety of ways. Using the layers in Photoshop I can compose, alter and tweak until I get my illustration just the way I want it to look.
The example shown here is a digital sketch for an idea, and is fairly typical of how my illustrations are built up and composed; I have used hand drawn watercolour trees scanned from my sketch book, a stained paper screen, birds traced on the Wacom from a vintage engraving, and floral wallpaper plus other effects I made myself.
I feel I only touch the tip of the iceberg of what Photoshop can do - it seems fairly limitless to me, there is literally something for everybody’s way of working, and countless artists work with Photoshop in so many unique ways.There is a wealth of information and tutorials on YouTube posted by artists who are exceptionally talented, and generously share their knowledge and experience of Photoshop; two of my favourites who work in different ways are KickthePJ, and channel of creative enchantment and invention, plus his side channel PJtheKick; and the incredibly talented Aaron Blaise who worked as an animator for Disney.
Images ©Binky McKee/Heather Eliza Walker 2017
Thank you for reading,
A big cheery wave and best wishes to you all!
Heather Eliza Walker
Artist in Edinburgh, Scotland