Sunday, May 20, 2007

learning curve

hummingbird

I am on a steep learning curve and keep falling off into the abyss. Serves me right for trying to make art like all the cool kids. It took everything I had not to break something expensive, electronic and indispensible into a thousand pieces this morning.

While my laptop was in surgery I drew five pen-and-ink drawings of birds. I was trying to develop a line-drawing style that relates stylistically to my work in other media. The above is the least successful of the five drawings so the perfect one to experiment with after scanning. The outcome was many hours of intensive labour colouring it in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet. I like the result, but it took more time and effort than it would have taken to produce two small paintings. Maybe I just need more practice.

Digital artists HELP! Send your Photoshop-savvy friends over here to help me figure out a better way to do this. I'm still hopelessly ignorant in digital art media.

25 Comments:

Blogger dinahmow said...

I emailed!

20/5/07 3:04 PM  
Blogger Caty said...

Yes...I am fighting with photoshop...my hands can not draw with a laptop....difficult!!! any tricks? I love your bird!

21/5/07 1:05 AM  
Blogger Merisi said...

Andrea, I am of no help with technology (I am intuisionist, meaning what I cannot figure out without reading an instructions booklet, I will go bugger my kids about), but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this new style of yours (am I allowed to call it this? Should I try to acquire some art critic's vocabulary? *chuckle*). And the colours, too. I am all for you continue your search for perfection in any which way you may want to.
Hug from sunny Vienna
(darn, I am cloistered here, starting out early morning and doing pretty good work,
and now I am blog surfing *ripmyhairout*),
Merisi

21/5/07 3:14 AM  
Blogger Merisi said...

Intuitionist? *óhdear*

21/5/07 3:14 AM  
Blogger Alda said...

I asked EPI and he said something about a program called 'Paint'. More I don't know.

Will email too, though. Good luck!

21/5/07 6:43 AM  
Blogger david santos said...

Please, it puts fhoto of Madeleine in your Bloggue

Missing Madeleine!
Madeleine, MeCann was abduted from Praia da Luz, Portugal on 03/03/07.

If you have any information, please contact Crimestoppers on
0800 555 111

Please Help

21/5/07 6:44 AM  
Blogger kj said...

oh andrea, i really like this.

i can't help you a damn with digital anything but i can tell you this is very very sweet.

:

21/5/07 7:42 AM  
Blogger susan said...

illustrator. works well or freehand..
photoshop for altering photos. the above is better for illustrating.
it is all practice. you know, like piano, painting and skiing...
argh!

21/5/07 11:15 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I purchased the Adobe Suite 1 1/2 yrs ago and am proficient in Photoshop, but still just playing around with Illustrator. I think I pulled a few chuncks of hair out teaching myself!

I had to laugh about your "cool kids" moniker. I'm trying to figure that out myself.

I think you were rather successful with this little birdie.

21/5/07 12:21 PM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

chunks...

21/5/07 12:22 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Having a decent WACOM tablet is a real help!

21/5/07 12:39 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

I use Corel Painter and Wacom.
Your line drawing is great. I like that you have kept the twigs.

21/5/07 3:23 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

I may be coming a bit late here but I find if I work in layers it is a lot easier. I can get up to ten layers sometimes then flatten them when i am done.
I use illustrator for line and photoshop for painting.

If you have questions email me and I'll see if I can help.

I do like this new look! great for cards.

21/5/07 3:29 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Dinah and Alda: Got'em -- thanks.

Caty: I was getting better with practice so maybe that's all I need to do.

Merisi: Looking for distraction are we? (remind you of an earlier post?) Thanks for the positive feedback. I'm eager to colour my other drawings now but have to set aside a large chunk of (mostly unavailable) time.

KJ: You're a peach.

Susan: I'm not illustrating I'm COLOURING. I'll stick with traditional media for illustration, thanks.

Cynthia: All I want to do is fill space with colour. Is Illustrator any better for that than Photoshop? I am using a Wacom tablet; I'm just clumsy and inexperienced.

Caroline: Are you insulting the one I've got? :)

Cream: Same question as Cynthia: is Corel Painter any better at just colouring space than Adobe Photoshop? -- using a Wacom tablet of course.

Toni: I have no idea about layers yet but will ask you if I want to tackle that next. Meantime, I'm only going for the one flat colour next to another. Thanks for telling me that you use Photoshop for that -- it helps as I'm thinking I'm just being impatient. Like I said to Susan -- I think I'll stick to traditional line-drawing media and my scanner for now!

21/5/07 5:02 PM  
Blogger HildaRose said...

Hi there Andrea, long time. First off, are you sure this is something you want to bother with? If so then here are a couple of suggestions, if you have questions feel free to email me as I love answering questions:

•• I prefer other programs for colourizing images - Corel gives texture similar to different mediums and Illustrator has a marvelous trace/paint menu that is fast for flat colour.

•• Photoshop - if you want flat colour then use the lasso, select your areas and save each as a selection. You can put different colours on different layers to help along the way and then just select and fill. This will take a little time in selecting from then on in you are flying.

With selections you can select and then colour the area and know it will not paint outside the area. Example the green edge on the back of the bird - select the bird back selection area and then paint the green line along his back. This way it will not go anywhere except the bird's back. You could even scribble all over it and know that it will not go anywhere except what is selected.

** You could also use the magic wand to select areas but to really use this well you must close up all your lines in your drawing. Example-outline of the blue area would have to be closed up to each leaf. You also must then NOT use anti alias as this will give you a fuzzy edge.

Any questions, just email. Hope this helps.

22/5/07 4:39 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

When I use photoshop, I also use the magic wand to color in areas. If you double click on your scan which should be the very bottom most layer (which is called the background), it will unlock it and become layer 0. You can then work with that as a base image. The magic wand should recognize your ink outline which as hildarose mentioned - all lines that you want to color in must be closed. Using the magic want, click on the part you want to color, go to edit, then click on fill and it will bring up the fill menu, you can select a color or a pattern from the Adobe library. There's quite a range from which to choose. They've broken it down to several Pantone color families along with an assortment of patterns, such as art papers, textures, photographic backgrounds. Good luck! I don't use a Wacom tablet.

22/5/07 6:28 AM  
Blogger Sheri Burhoe said...

Love the green.I'm so into green this year.

22/5/07 7:09 AM  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

I wish that I could even pretend to help but I pfft!
I would love to be able to do anything on this machine other than cut, paste & scan-HEY look something SHINY!!

22/5/07 8:01 AM  
Blogger nadine said...

When I want to colour my little line drawings in Photoshop, I do the following:
- scan the drawing
- open it in photoshop
- change the layer name from "background" to "ink" and change the "Mode" to "Multiply" (this will allow you to make another layer for colouring and have the colour show under the ink layer)
- make a colour layer below the ink layer

Also:
- when you click on the brush tool, go up to mode, and you can choose whether you want "normal" which will place the new colour on top, or "behind" which will put the new brush work behind
Can give some nice effects when your brushes are set at less than 100% opacity.
Photoshop is such a huge monster of a program, it is overwhelming!

22/5/07 9:12 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

HildaRose, Cynthia and Nadine: I could hug you. This is just what I need. I do want to give this another go when I have a chunk of time (not for a few days yet) and will be re-reading your info very carefully. I'm feeling very pleased with myself that I decided to post my dilemma because this is exactly what I needed. I'm in love with what my kids call "the interwebs" right now. :)

Sheri: Me, too.

HE: We love you anyway. You have "other talents."

22/5/07 10:06 AM  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

Disregarding the time it took, it looks quite fabulous. I, of course, am a very biased fan of your art, Andrea.

Ian

22/5/07 10:19 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Thanks Ian!

22/5/07 11:48 AM  
Blogger Ces said...

I believe you. The time it takes to make these line drawings, no matter how simple, is enormous. Yours is beautiful. The details in the bird's feathers are fantastic. Do you know that as much as I love beautiful paintings, I am still agog over drawings that reveal hours upon hours of intensive labor. I love drawings.

23/5/07 4:56 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Only if its not very good! Its just that it is the thing that made the biggest difference for me when Jim bought me one that was miles better than the one I already had. The one I have now is a WACOM Intuos A5 I think the old one was also a WACOM but much cheaper.

Oh and I use loads and loads of layers too - very easy in painter... and I only ever flatten the output so can always work with one of the layers again if I want to.

23/5/07 7:44 AM  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

P.S. I love this illustration--the textures in the hummer are wonderful.

27/5/07 11:27 PM  

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