Dragon Coloring Book

ninjas-attack-coloing-book-cover“If the sky could dream, it would dream of dragons.” -Ilona Andrews, Fate’s Edge

Get ready to color some dragons! 30 original designs with quotes about dragons from top fantasy authors, including Ilona Andrews, Ursula K. Le Guin, J. R. R. Tolkien, Patricia Briggs, C.S. Lewis, Terry Pratchett And More!

BONUS PAGES INCLUDED: 2 test pages and 3 coloring pages from my Ninja Attacks! coloring book.

(c) 2017 Bruce Herwig. All Rights Reserved.

ONLY $9.99. Available for purchase on Amazon.com:

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Dragon Coloring Book Bruce HerwigBonus Coloring Pages

No reason to wait to start coloring…here are some free images you can print at home to get you going. Feel free to share with your friends!

Dragon Coloring Book Bruce Herwig Bonus Page 1ninjas-attack-bonus-coloring-page-3Dragon Coloring Book Bruce Herwig Bonus Page 2

Also available: 

Color Me Redlands Coloring Book
25 Unique Images Celebrating Redlands, CA…a great American City!

redlands-coloring-bookamazon-logo_black

redlands-coloring-bookamazon-logo_black

Ninjas Attack: Adventure Coloring Book

Nninjas-attack-coloing-book-coverINJA: “a member of a feudal Japanese society of mercenaries who were highly trained in martial arts and stealth.”

Get ready for some NINJA Adventure as you color! 25 original designs by Redlands, CA artist Bruce Herwig. Single sided print so marker pens won’t go through onto the other images.

“Inspired by the Zentangle® method of pattern drawing.” (c) 2017 Bruce Herwig. All Rights Reserved.

Only $9.95. Available for purchase on Amazon.com:

amazon-logo_black    createspace-buy-button-no-shadow4-300x158

Bonus Coloring Pages

No reason to wait to start coloring…here are some free images you can print at home to get you going. Feel free to share with your friends!

 

ninjas-attack-bonus-coloring-page-1https://bruceherwig.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/ninjas-attack-bonus-coloring-page-2.pdfninjas-attack-bonus-coloring-page-3

Also available: Color Me Redlands Coloring Book

25 Unique Images Celebrating Our City!

amazon-logo_blackredlands-coloring-book

 

How To Make A Zentangle Adult Coloring Page (Part 2)

Turn A Photograph Into A Coloring Book (Part 2)

This past year I had a lot of fun creating the Color Me Redlands coloring book. Learning how to create the coloring pages was a 12-month journey. I hope to save you the learning curve and show you step-by-step how to make your own. For the foundational concepts, please read Part 1.

* Zentangle is a specific method of pattern drawing that has been adopted to describe a certain type of “Zen” coloring book design.

I found that the best images for coloring pages are simple silhouettes. This eliminated several of the photos I had considered using.

This is what I used: iPad with the Adobe Draw App, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, digital stylus optional (I use the pencil from FiftyThree). You’ll also need a “Zentangle” type image for the background. Click Here to download sample Adobe Stock #130780658.

Adobe Draw

  1. Place a photo onto the image Layer of Adobe Draw.
    bird-1
  2. Bring the opacity of the Image Layer down to about 50%
    bird-2
  3. Using the stylus (or your finger), manually trace the image* on the “draw layer.” One of the nice things about this app is that you can zoom in on the part of the image you want to trace.
    bird-3

    * If your original is something more architectural, the app has a full set of tools to make straight lines and curves. It may be easier to use these than hand tracing with a stylus.

    img_0550
  4. You don’t want too many details when you trace, as they will only get lost in your final image. When you’re done, the image will look something like this. You can completely hide the picture to see the final trace.

    Samples from my Color Me Redlands coloring book.
    sample

  5. Transfer the traced image to Illustrator.img_0549

Adobe Illustrator

  1. Once the file is in Illustrator, If you need to “thicken” the tracing line, it’s easiest if you do it now. Select All and select a stroke.
    screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-29-31-pm
  2. The idea of this next part is to create a mask and remove only the parts of the image where the “Zentangle” graphic will show through. The easiest way I found to do this is to export the image, insert the image back into Adobe Illustrator and let the computer trace it.
    screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-17-48-pm
    I use a 600 “PPI” (pixels per inch) for a high-resolution export.
    screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-18-54-pm
  3. Personally, I find working in Adobe Illustrator confusing and it’s sometimes easier to “clean up” the image in Photoshop and remove any unintended lines. Also, check that that there are no “open ends.”  If you find one, manually close it.
    close-end
  4. Open up a blank 8.5×11 Illustrator Document and place the finished .jpg onto the page. Scale the image proportionally (by holding the shift key) so it is centered on the page.
    place-the-picture-into-illustrator
  5. Use the “Image Trace” with the “Sketched Art” option.
    sketched-art
  6. * VERY IMPORTANT * Find the “Image Trace” options and look at the “Advanced Settings.” Make sure the box “Ignore White” option is NOT checked.
    trace
  7. When the computer is finished tracing, select the “Expand” button.
    expand
  8. Even out the edges by using the white arrow and drag each handle to the corner of the page.
    clean-edges
  9. Place the “Zentangle” image into the document, resize it to the full page and send it to the back. If you haven’t already, save the file.
    place-zen
  10. Use the white arrow to select and delete the parts of the image you don’t need. Resize and move the background image around till you have an image you’re happy with.
    delete

If you delete too many parts, you have the saved version to revert to.

That’s it! Save the file, Export and you’re done.

artboard-12x

How To Make A Zentangle Adult Coloring Book (Part 1)

How To Make A Zentangle Adult Coloring Book (Part 1)

This past year I had a lot of fun turning my photos into the Color Me Redlands coloring book. I’m super-pleased with how it turned out. But learning how to the create the coloring pages was a 12-month journey. I hope to save you the learning curve, and show you step-by-step how to make your own. Some background first:

To start, I tried over a dozen iPhone Apps, computer programs, services, and read several blog articles that would show how to turn a photograph into a coloring page. I even hired several artists from Fiver.com to create my coloring pages. While there are many talented artists, I wasn’t able to get the quality, consistency or the “look” that I was after. Plus, at $25-$30 an illustration, with the 25 images I wanted to include, it was going to cost a lot of money to have this project outsourced.

I then tried creating my own iPad App and Illustrator workflow. I was happy with it, but after getting some feedback from a friend and actually trying to color the images, I found that most of the ends did not “close”, which is a MUST for a coloring book. I found myself going back to the drawing board.

In researching the adult coloring pages, I was trying to describe the “look” that I liked and came to discover it was called Zentangle. * Zentangle is a specific method of pattern drawing that has been adopted to describe a certain type of “Zen” coloring book design. I’m not an illustrator and I can’t draw…but I knew I could purchase the images on Shutterstock or Adobe Stock.

Months had gone by with no progress and I was getting frustrated. Thinking I would never figure out how to turn my photos into a coloring page I happened to be visit to my parents, thumbing through my mother’s Food Network Magazine when I had a “lightbulb” moment.

All I needed to do was create the outline of a picture (silhouette shapes work best), then insert the zentagle image behind it.

squashOnce I had the concept, I was off to the races. I’m going to demonstrate this technique twice…once using a simple shape to show you the concept, and again with the exact method and tools I used to turn a photograph into a Zentangle adult coloring book.

Example 1 – A Simple Shape Coloring Page.

Needed: Adobe Illustrator, background image. (Click Here to download sample Adobe Stock #130780658)

    1. Draw A Star
      star gif.gif
    2. Draw a Rectangle covering the entire page.
      create-rectangle
    3. Make sure the rectangle is filled white, then send it to the back, behind the star.
      send to back.png
    4. You want the page to be a mask and the star to be “see-through” with the Zentagle image showing through the star. (ie. subtract the star shape from the larger rectangle.) “Select All” to make sure you have both shapes selected, then use the Pathfinder option in Adobe Illustrator and select “minus front.”
      minus-front
    5. Give the selected image a stroke of 5 pts. If you move the newly created shape, you will see that you now have a rectangle with a star shape missing in the middle.
      Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 6.29.17 PM.png
    6. Place the Zentangle image into your Illustrator file and send it to the back.
      place-zentangle-gif
    7. You can now move and/or resize the background image until you are happy with how it looks.
      resize-gif

That’s it! You now have a coloring page of a simple image. This technique also works great with text that has been converted to outlines.

color-me-redlands-free-coloring-pages2

Click Here to read my next blog post where I’ll show how to turn a photograph into a coloring page.

Color Me Redlands Coloring Book

25 Unique Images Celebrating Our City!

redlands-coloring-bookColoring book art by award winning Redlands photographer Bruce Herwig.

Only $12. Available for purchase at the:

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/bruceherwigamazon-logo_black

Share Your Finished Creations On Instagram
#ColorMeRedlands

Inspired by the Zentangle® method of pattern drawing.

(c) 2016 Bruce Herwig. All Rights Reserved.

Bonus Coloring Pages

No reason to wait to start coloring…here are some free images you can print at home to get you going. Feel free to share with your friends!

color-me-redlands-free-coloring-pagescolor-me-redlands-free-coloring-pages3color-me-redlands-free-coloring-pages2

Also available 2017 Redlands Calendar

2017-redlands-calendar15

Shifting Focus

Lately, I’ve been at a loss on what to do with my blog.

For the last five years, this was my place to write about the “Nuts and Bolts of Church Communications.”  With over 240 posts, it’s been a tremendous creative outlet and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. While I still have many thoughts on the subject, I’m no longer working full time in a church context and feel I’m lacking “in the trenches” credibility that I so enjoyed writing about.

After much internal wrangling, as part of my letting go and moving on strategy, I’ve decided to stop writing on the subject. As I wrote in a book review a few years ago, this is a Necessary Ending.

I’ve had thoughts of shifting my focus on bigger picture theological and church topics, moving to writing about what I’m learning in marketing at my current job or to simply concentrate on showcasing my photography.

At this point, I’m really not sure…but I’m looking forward to finding out : )

9 Lessons From Visiting 10 Churches

For those of us that work in the church world, for obvious reasons, don’t get to visit very many other churches, especially on a Sunday. Since November, I’ve had the unique privilege of visiting 10 local churches in our area and got to experience what it was like to be the “new person” visiting a church for the very first time. Much of what I learned surprised me.

  1. Visiting a new church can be a little nerve-wracking. You don’t know exactly where you’re going, how long it’s going to take to get there, or what you’re going to expect. You have to prep the entire family for “something new”…and everybody may not be on board. Don’t take your guests for granted. Just getting there can be an adventure.
  2. Make your church service times and address easy to find on your website. I was amazed how difficult something so basic was to find. For some, it was hidden in the “about us” section, for others, in a section cryptically titled “worship” or tucked away in a sub-menu. Put it on the homepage, above the fold, and make it obvious…something like “Service Times and Directions.”
  3. Ministry starts in the parking lot. While the first impression someone gets online is your website, the first impression someone gets in person is your parking lot. Nothing says we expect visitors like parking lot greeters. Someone who is easy to identify (colored vest, “ASK ME” tag or matching t-shirts), with a smile, pointing you in the right direction (or better yet, walking with you) can help make your first visit  much more  enjoyable.
  4. Directional signage can point the way. Clear signage is an easy way to help make sure your guests feel welcome. Where is the children’s check-in? Which way to the main sanctuary? Bathrooms? Coffee and Donuts? If you don’t have a place to put a sign, a friendly greeter, clearly identified and strategically placed can help.
  5. Be careful of “insider” language. While it may be true that the Bubble Bunnies are meeting in the Cat House and that Caleo has their Krave meeting tonight, as a new person I don’t know what you just said. Make sure you bulletin and announcements can be understood by someone who is new. Another issue I saw a lot was the person speaking didn’t introduce themselves or say what they did. I often left wondering “is that one of the pastors?”
  6. A friendly face is a welcome sight. Seeing someone you know, who warmly greets you, offers to sit with you and show you around, is a great blessing.
  7. Preaching still matters. Singing and teaching is still the central purpose of why Christians gather on a Sunday. I saw a wide variety of styles and approaches, from stained glass to fog machines. Some I liked, some I didn’t. A good communicator + meaty content is a harder to find than I would have imagined.
  8. Your church may not be a good fit for everyone. It’s easy to get in the mindset that “my church is the best” and someone is dumb for leaving to go to another church. There are a variety of reasons people pick one church over another…friends, musical preference, theology, location and more. Treat everyone like they are going stay forever but work and minister with the ones that you have.
  9. God is working in many places. It was encouraging to see fellow believers gather all around our city. I pray that God will preserve his church and that his people will grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus and be salt and light in a needy and dying world.

If it’s possible, I would highly encourage everyone, staff and lay people to intentionally visit a new church at least once a year. You’ll be reminded what it’s like to be a new person, you may pick-up some new ideas and you’ll see your church with fresh eyes.

Star Trail Photography 101

This past year I’ve been learning how to take and make star trail images. Watching the stars move across the sky has intrigued me for some time. To fan the flame, I have a friend that is heavily involved with astronomy and we’ve spent many hours looking through his telescope. With my love of photography and my growing interest in astronomy, I thought I would attempt taking some images.

In started to do some research online, I found many knowledgeable people online that share their tips and techniques. Here are a few I found helpful.

PetaPixel – How to Create Dazzling Star Trail Photos, From Start to Finish
Light Stalking – How to Photograph Star Trails: The Ultimate Guide
DIY Photography – Your Complete Guide For Photographing Star Trails

Enjoy this glimpse into my journey and some of the things I learned along the way.

1. Get Inspired

There are plenty of star trail images that can inspire you. This was mine. Redland’s photographer Steve Wormser is a friend of mine and he posted this image. I knew if he could do it, I could learn it.

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.004

2. Start Small

…or would that be start large? When I was testing my gear, I wanted the biggest thing I could find in the sky…and that was a full moon.

5SecondsApp -moon

The next biggest thing I could think of was the big dipper. I set up in my backyard to try it out. You can see the big dipper moving across the California sky.

5SecondsApp - big dipper

I ran my photos through the star trail software (More in Step 5 below) and discovered I started and stopped the process, bumped the camera and flashed on the backlight. But I was on the right track. I was excited the stars had made a circle…but at the time  wasn’t sure how to replicate it in the future.

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.007

3. Find Dark Skys

One of the secrets of good star trail photography is finding dark skies, away from the light pollution of big cities. You also don’t want a full moon in the sky. Unless you are a real outdoorsman that knows their way around, one of the easiest way to find great spots is to connect with you local astronomy club and join them at their next star party. There is safety in numbers, and many knowledgeable people who can teach you about what you are seeing in the sky. I connected with the San Bernardino Valley Amateur Astronomers and headed out to the California desert.

4. Setup Your Camera

In addition to your DSLR camera, in order to take star trail photography, you’ll need a sturdy tripod, wide angle lens, intervalometer or some other method of automatically triggering your camera to take pictures. I am currently using a specialized cable and app for the iPhone called TriggerTrap. The have a great tutorial on how to the TriggerTrap App to take star trail photography. It’s definitely worth watching.

A 30-second exposure is needed to capture enough light. I put a 2-second delay in between shots so the camera has enough time to write the image to the camera’s storage card. Set the ISO fairly high (somewhere around 1600) the aperture as wide as possible (the lowest number you can get with your lens) to let in as much light and set the shutter speed to bulb. I suggest shooting in RAW format for the maximum flexibility in post processing. Check a sample shot or two before you start to make sure the image has proper exposure and your image is framed correctly. You can adjust the ISO, but be wary of adding too much noise into your photos. I set the maximum duration of 999, but stop the camera after 30-45 minutes of shooting. (If I know I’m going to be creating time lapse videos, I’ll shoot for 45 minutes. But most of the time I’m shooting closer to 30 minutes.)

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.028

To focus, set your lens to infinity, or if your lens does not have an infinity setting like mine, point your camera to the brightest star, then use the digital zoom to focus your camera. Here is a great blog post showing your how to focus your camera manually. Make sure your battery is fully charged and that you bring a spare. To help save battery life, turn your camera’s LCD brightness down and turn off the camera’s preview image. I use a Joby Gorilla type tripod to connect my iPhone to the tripod. I also have an extra USB battery to power the iPhone and use a few velcro cable ties to attach it to the tripod.

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.025

5. Setup Your Shot

For the most interesting star trail photographs, you’ll want something in front of the stars (tree building, rock formation, telescope, etc). I also prefer star trails that show the starts traveling in a circle or to show large star sweeps. To get these, aim your camera at the north star (also knows as Polaris). While there are many apps to choose from, I use the free Sky Map app. The stars will rotate in a counter-clockwise direction around the North Star. You can move your camera based on your desired composition.

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.026

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.017

There is not a lot to do when your shooting. Just make sure not to bump the tripod, and make sure that flashlight or cars light don’t unintentionally get into shots. Make sure you bring a chair…it’s a long time to stand! Since each final image takes 30-45 minutes each, take as many angles and compositions while you’re still awake.

6. Stacking Your Images

Once you’re home and you’ve transferred your images to your computer, there are several ways to stack your images to create your star trails. One method is to bring your images in as layers in Photoshop. PeachPit as a good tutorial on this method. The other way is with dedicated stacking software. The two most popular are both free:

Star Trails (PC only)
StarStax (Mac and PC).

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.030

The process with the stacking software is pretty straight forward. Load your .jpg images and hit OK. There are plenty of options to play with. Just use the basics to get the process started to see what you are working with.

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.032

Each stack take 5-10 minutes to create. You will start to see the star trails forming as the software begins to blend each layer into a single composite image.

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.033

Final image render. STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.034

7. Cleaning Up The Sky

It’s very common to get airplane trails in your images. For some purposes, this can be a neat effect, but most of the time you’ll want to remove these from your final image.

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.036

I make a copy of the entire star trails folder, just in case I make a mistake and need to get back to the originals. Open up the images in your favorite photo editing software, and simply draw a black line over the airplane trail.

BEFORE:
STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.037

AFTER:
STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.038

You have to do this for every image that has an airplane trail. When you’re finished, run the new batch of corrected images through your stacking software. It’s very common to miss a few here or there. Take the time to go back and fix them. The results are worth it!

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.039

8. Meteor Or Satellite?

The darker the sky, the more airline and satellite trails you are going to capture. It’s common to mistake these for meteors. In fact, I was positive I had captured several during the Perseids meteor shower. But when I read the article Why Your Streak Is (Probably) Not A Meteor I started to take a closer look at my images to identify what WAS and what WAS NOT a meteor. The big tell is to look at several images…if the image continues in the second shot, it’s a satellite.

satellite trails

I was so pleased to find I did capture one shot a Perseids meteor. Notice both ends taper and the color shift in the middle.

STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY.047

9. Rookie Mistakes

“If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” This is especially true when it comes to star trail photography. With all photography, it takes thousands of shots to become proficient. Out of 100 shots, were lucky to get 2 or 3 we’re really proud of. With star trail photography, you’re limited to the number of completed images in an evening…6-10 would be considered great. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it the first couple times. Here are shots of my “learning experiences.”

If you can set up your equipment while there is still daylight, that is best.

10. Check Lists

It would be a real bummer to get all the way out to your destination and find out you left some vital piece of equipment back home. Here are a few checklists I’ve found helpful in prepping for your star trail journey.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE
[   ] Snacks
[   ] Caffeinated Drinks
[   ] Trash bag
[   ] Paper Towels / Hand Wipes
[   ] Directions (printed in case cell phone coverage is not available in remote areas)
[   ] If you are meeting someone, having their cell phone can be handy in case someone is delayed.
[   ] Appropriate Clothing
[   ] Flashlight (make sure you use red light and follow star party etiquette if you are shooting with astronomers)
[   ] Folding Chair
[   ] Sleeping Bag / Tent (if you are staying overnight)
[   ] Cash for incidentals

CAMERA EQUIPMENT
[   ] Camera
[   ] Fresh Batteries
[   ] Wide Angle Lens
[   ] Tripod
[   ] Intervalometer / Trigger Trap
[   ] USB Battery for iPad
[   ] Cables and Connectors

11. Results

As you may be able to tell from this video, I’ve really enjoyed this unique aspect of photography and look forward to my next star party!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1 ESV)

The One Thing More Important Than Your Communication Strategy

I’m a firm believer that all marketing is communications and all communications is marketing. As a professional with years of experience in these areas, it’s hard to admit that there might be something more important than a strategic marketing and communication strategy. But there is.

And what is this one thing?

The decisions you make that lead to the actions you take.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “What you DO speaks so loudly I can’t HEAR what you’re saying.”

No organization can outlast a constant barrage of dumb decisions. No matter how hip your logo is or how consistent your branding is, you can’t “out-communicate” what people see you actually doing.

  • You say you value diversity, but your leadership is homogeneous.
  • You say something is a priority, but it doesn’t get funded, you never hear about it and you don’t see any changes.
  • Your tagline says you’re creative, but you don’t take any risks and fail to try anything new.
  • Your slogan says you “value relationships” but you have an automated phone tree that makes it virtually impossible to talk to a real person.
  • You make a big splash about a “new strategy” or mission, but in practice, it’s business as usual.

Your brand is the combination of the decisions you make and the actions you take COMBINED with your chosen “look and feel” along with the stories you tell about your organization. Marketing encompasses everything that leaves an impression on your audience.

What you desire is alignment between what you do and what you say. “Authentic” communication happens when these two activities align. It’s not forced, it’s not contrived, it’s natural. It’s believable because it’s true.

Do you want to improve your marketing? Make better decisions on the front-end, so your communications team has something “real” to say on the back-end.