Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Next Stage: Tagging all my Sketches

Now that the basic structure of my sketching book is sorted, I have to go back to all the piles of sketchbooks which John and I waded through when I first got started on the project in the summer. Of course, there are a few new ones now too.

Back then, I had a rough idea of the categories I was trying to illustrate, and used colour-coded bookmarks to help with that. Now the book's structure has been fine-tuned, I'm ready to make the selections, but I have to find a way of shortlisting from the hundreds of possible sketches, buried in nearly 90 books. 

The plan we hatched was to work through the images we bookmarked last time, taking quick snaps on my phone, so I can see them all together. I used post-it notes to tag drawings against the sections of the book I had in mind. Trouble is, the tags needed transferring to the photos I'd taken, or I'd just end up with a bucketful of meaningless snaps, which wouldn't be much better than the piles of sketchbooks! Then there was the complication that most sketches could potentially work in various sections of the book. Oh dear...

There were so many images in play, I had to find a system that would be efficient, without being too time-consuming. John came to the rescue and downloaded Picasa: photo-album software, which lets you tag your images. 

I have been working through the sketchbooks, numbering each sketch as I photograph it and logging it in a book, along with the number of the sketchbook (so we can find the sketch again when it comes to scanning), and any tags which might apply. The photos are then uploaded to the computer in batches and quickly renamed with the two reference numbers. 

While I am snapping the next batch and scribbling in my book, poor John has the unenviable task of adding all the tags in Picasa. I'm still using the post-it notes, to speed up finding specific sketches if they make the grade and we need to scan them in:

The system is not as time-consuming as it sounds and we did the lot in a few days (though an emergency-dash to Staples had to be made half way through, for more post-its).

The tagging system is brilliant, as I can now pull together all the sketches of noses, or contour-drawing, or speed-sketching at the touch of a button. It's going to make the next stage much, much easier. Phew.


Carol Beckx said...

I've used Picasa for simple photo-editing but can see the tagging system is a clever thing to add. I need to look into this.

Lynne the Pencil said...

It's very easy to use. I have limited patience with these things, so it must be :-D

Katherine Tyrrell said...

So Flatplan finished?

One of the best pieces of advice I got at the beginning was not to underestimate the time it takes to assemble the images - and then to get 300 dpi versions logged.

Plus what a big difference it was doing 350+ images for a book compared to a few for a project or exhibition catalogue or whatever.

I don't know which bit of software you're using for transferring images to your Editor but I had multiple sub-folders set up in Dropbox for all sections - and even pages - within a mega Chapter folder (for each Chapter) and then had very precise file names for all the images.

All very structured - it meant I didn't have to do detailed explanations every time I my Editor via Dropbox that there was another set of images in Dropbox.

Plus I had a good way to find out which ones had gone and which were still to do. As opposed to which ones I thought had been done!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Yes, I am thinking Dropbox, but concerned that the high res files will take me over my storage limit quite quickly.

I am trying to do as much as I can as soon as I can, before other projects kick in come February. At least I have John to help with the scanning while I am writing. All a tad daunting at this early stage. Luckily, I am obsessively organised (a great list maker!), which has got to help.