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Posts tagged ‘Photoshop’

A Slight Tint

blLeah

This portrait was created with thin layers of oil on watercolor paper.  It was monochromatic (green hues). Later I tinted slightly in Photoshop.

Happy Graduation L!

Watercolor Wednesday

breach

A very simple little watercolor with a small Photoshop tweak, (the angle of the hair drips;)

 

Feeling Blueish

blandscapedesat copy

*This post was written long before the events in Boston however, “feeling blueish”  is an apt title for today.

Photoshop has a very cool feature found under Image>Adjustments>Variations.  I’ve clearly been experimenting with Variations.

Since color can dramatically change the way a piece is viewed; the way it feels, Variations helped me decide how to convert my black and white bird-children to a more eye-catching color to prepare for sale on Blue Canvas.  Since then, I’ve gone conversion wild,  playing with several new pieces.

Which one do you prefer?

blandscape3-30psd copy

blandscape copy

Bird-Child Series

bnewbirds

This is the second birdie child-vison influenced image.

Most of the elements in this piece began as really loose watercolor paintings. I brought them into Photoshop and digitally placed and painted.

I almost always put in a little more work after I show you what I’m up too. This piece is no exception, but I need a little time to know just what I want to do.

Digital Doubles

origwind

A wild wind blew through my neighbor’s yard, causing a very long piece of packing plastic to take to the sky and dance.  Naturally, I shot many photos of the performance. Later, I pulled the images into Photoshop and positioned them one atop the other to create the image below. Then, I sampled areas of the image that I found pleasing.

windoverlay

Overlay

Vision

bVisionfinishsmprint

I woke up with an image reflected on my retinas. I had an overwhelming urge to realize the vision.  It had to be dreamy-loose but also had to adhere to my vision.

I began with a watercolor sketch, but the color was too vibrant.  It needed to be somber. I took a photo of the watercolor and opened it up in Photoshop, then decided to desaturate it.  I painted a very simple back round so the bird-girl takes the spotlight.  A new series is born.

The watercolor sketch:

bbird

Fall Portrait

bfall

Here is Fall, just as we come to the official close of the season. You many recall my  Winter  and  Spring  portraits. I’ve only Summer to go, and the Four Seasons will be available as prints.

Below you can see the progression of the face. Nothing fancy, just using the brush tool in Photoshop to act as a real brush, accomplished with layers and changes in opacity.   You can see that I was playing with the idea of birds, but decided to keep the portrait very simple. I may fuss with Fall a little bit more.    Thank you to my beautiful model.

fallprogression

Watercolor Wed.13

Watercolor Landscape my way.

I became so frustrated working traditionally with watercolor landscape, that I decided to make the experience mine and make peace with the fact that I don’t have the time/energy/interest in making it work.

You can see the progression below including a quick and dirty Photoshop intervention.   Still no masterpiece, but decidedly more me.

Sketch Distortions

Quick sketches with a twist of Photoshop distortion to push them just a little further.

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Fifteen Minute Hair

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I love to render thick manes of long hair.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’m familiar with them.  From age fourteen to thirty, I dragged around my own head of long heavy hair that reached nearly to my ankles.  Why, you may ask?  Couldn’t really tell you. I just…grew it.

It’s much more fun to saddle my characters with outrageous tresses than to actually wear them myself.  There is not however, any real secret to confide about how to render quick and easy digital Photoshop hair. There is however, a bit of a shortcut.  In a word, it’s a brush. A “hair” brush. Make a few of them. They’re really useful for getting the strands going, after you’ve laid in the values that forecast the shapes of the curls or bunches of hair.

I always work at least five times bigger than the print size.  *First -I lay in the shapes of the darks and lights *Second-I use my “hair” brushes or make more to fit the tresses. This creates many quick layers of hairs to build dimension.   *Third-I use a big round soft brush with low opacity and a cool color to “glaze” areas I want to push back  *Fourth-I use my “hair” brushes where appropriate, usually with a lighter warmer color  *Fifth-I use a small round brush and begin to draw each hair.  Sometimes I repeat steps 3 through 5 many many times until I achieve a messy organized chaos.  For me, that’s the look that works.

G- rated Steampunk Mermaids

Very recently two illustrators whom I admire, inspired me to paint a steampunk piece for kids.  Now, I really dislike painting mechanical symmetrical elements, but I do enjoy the look of  shiny geometric details. So I decided to simplify, take it slowly, and allow Photoshop’s filters to do the heavy lifting. I also relied heavily upon layer style to lend me an outer glow and to bevel and emboss.

I did mention that I was taking this slowly. I’m clearly missing both overt Victorian and punk flavor here, but the only creatures not propelled by steam are the wind-up angelfish and the starfish.  I’ll get a little more hardcore next time.

Summer Bug Series #2

A little different approach here, but this piece is also inspired by Microcosmos.  The color in the film is glorious, but  I wanted to concentrate on one element at a time, so I went with black and white.  The textures take over here.  I’ve allowed the tree to define the texture.  I made a rubbing with a charcoal pencil over the stone blocks that make up my patio.  The result is the grungy almost embossed feel of the trees juxtaposed with the flat smooth insects.  More to come.

Another New Digital Painting

“The Rescue” also employs a scanned textural item. Obviously it’s the net.  The oranges that came wrapped in it were delicious.

A Page From My Sketchbook

*Update: A fellow artist mentioned that she would like to see the original sketchbook entry without the influence of Photoshop.  Great idea, so..here it is.  Oh, I should probably say that the deep blue is acrylic paint smudged onto a blue watercolor wash with an old (worn out 😉 credit card).  The “drawing” is simply herding shapes into figurative images with a black sharpie and a white Prismacolor pencil.

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I don’t sketch enough.  I draw just about every day, but it’s always with a project in mind.  So, I decided to stretch the creative muscles and sign myself up for The Sketchbook Project.  I didn’t let myself think about the theme, but picked a theme on impulse.  I chose “in ten minutes”, figuring that this theme was about as open to interpretation as I could hope for.

The sketchbook has arrived but I haven’t actually started yet.  It looks a little scary.  It’s absolutely  pristine.  Kind of funny that I picked up my old sketchbook to plan the new one.  I enjoyed looking back on some of the old pages so I’ll be posting many of them.  This one I played with just a tiny bit in good old Photoshop.

Remaining Marketable

This isn’t easy to admit.  My work is well, sort of old-fashioned.  At least, it’s not HOT.  Not a big deal, I can change, except I really don’t want to.  Let me back up a bit.  What I love to do, is not as marketable as it could be, and I am really not at all good at what seems to be winning the children’s illustration awards in 2011. The style is spacial, heavily designed, and far less realistic than mine.  Some of it is stunning.  I simply gape.  Some of it in my humble opinion, is boring.  The work that I’m not crazy about is lacking the charm, emotion, and magic that I look for in a children’s book or app or magazine.

I enjoy working digitally. Photoshop has become a great friend.  And, I’m open to working in any kind of medium, so no problem there.  I do not want to be left behind, and I want to grow while remaining true to what I love. So, I’ll be posting some new work with a more inclusive age range, a little distortion, a different color palette, and a lot more space.  I’ll also be experimenting with texture and line drawings.

I’ve no idea what will evolve.  Please let me know what you think, especially if  you are a young person (five to about forty:>).  Seriously, all of your comments are always helpful and appreciated.

Emmadroid:A Partial Tutorial

As promised, a tutorial covering the basics.  In evidence are the magic Photoshop conveniences of gradients, filters, and made to order brushes.  I do not have time this week to cover the alchemy of making the hardware, which is simply a Photoshop enhancement via filters, that takes ordinary lines and turns them to silver and gold.   Though I am obviously enamored by  the wonders of Photoshop, don’t for a moment believe that I leave the traditional drawing and painting skills in my messy old studio.  It’s still all about the  concept, composition, drawing, and painting.

I’d like to acknowledge two digital master artists whose skills and generosity astound me.   It was one year ago that I discovered them.  They taught me through their tutorials, to beam my  traditional skills up into the digital world.    Thank you Linda Bergkvist http://www.furiae.com    and Marta Dalig     http://dahlig.blogspot.com      Check out their amazing work and detailed tutorials.  A very big heartfelt thank you to you both.

Afraid of the Dark

Creeping closer and closer to Halloween night, we are.  What’s out there?  What’s in the closet?  What’s in the basement?  Darkness.

Happy Halloween!

Below is a quick digital painting tutorial at it’s most basic.  Quite traditional, were it not for the Wacom stylus and tablet.  This piece could just as easily been created with acrylic or oil paint on canvas.  All I’ve  done here is transfer traditional painting skills into Photoshop via my Mac.  Digital work need not appear slick and shiny. You maintain control over the medium.  Do not be afraid to give it a try.

Masquerade

If you permit, Photoshop will surprise you.  This goblin-like creature is mysteriously materializing from a pedestrian plan for a masquerade themed piece.

It’s energy is quite assertive, so I’m getting out of the way and allowing the image to evolve via the Paint Daub filter.  The result is a little scary, so I think I will take back control, and hault the process.

Who knows what might happen if I allow it to mature?   Could this be a Trick… a Treat?

Dragons Lurking?

Peril for me, is the looming threat of painting architecture; my least favorite element to paint.  Photoshop to my rescue.  I’ve inserted a detail of  photo reference into my digital painting to completely avoid painting the building.  I use this trick sparingly but on rare occasions, this fix saves time, energy, and the project.

Hope the very general tutorial below inspires you to get past the dragons and to revel in the creative process.

Back To School:How’s it going?

Most students are back at school. The September phase that I like to call “transition” is in place.  It’s the settling in period- for parents, college students, and K-12’s alike.  Teachers must experience this too.  It’s about becoming comfortable with new terrain.  In my experience, “transition” seems to last approximately  two weeks.

I’ve  played with a couple of visual translations of the “transition” state. They are all digital illustrations, and I’ve included the steps in the process of making them.

I’d love to illustrate your “transition” stories throughout the month of September. So, leave me a comment describing how you’re feeling about going back to school. How was the first day?  Do you find yourself lodging with a particularly interesting new roommate?  Will the first day of middle school vividly reside in your memory forever?  Have you recently graduated, but still feel the pull of this back to school passage?  Parents, teachers, you count too.  How are you feeling about this annual autumnal migration?

Sketches brought to you by the glories of Photoshop and Wacom tablets:

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