Digital painting

Hello and Happy New Year (a few days late)! It's been a while since I've written a post, mainly because I've been so busy and finding the time has been difficult. But I get really excited about learning new things, which is what I'm going to talk about today!

I've been trying my hand at digital painting. I've always been more of an analog artist so it was definitely an interesting (and somewhat daunting) thing to try. I used some very handy tools; the Astropad app (used with my iPad Air 2 and iMac) and the FiftyThree Pencil

First of all, the Astropad app is amazing. No one is paying me to say that; it genuinely is. I've tried to use Wacom tablets and there has always been a disconnect for me. This app lets me see what I'm drawing right there on the screen and it feels so much more natural to me. 

This whole thing kind of started when I wanted to make a cute little Valentine's Day card with otters. I always sketch by hand before any project, so that's where I started. Then I traced my drawing in Illustrator and that's when I decided to try to paint in Photoshop, for a new feel. Here's my sketch, my Illustrator drawing, and then my Photoshop painting:

I actually really like the Illustrator otters, but there is something warm and fuzzy about the Photoshop otters. 

Then I started painting vegetables! That is totally random, but you gotta start somewhere. I painted 12 veggies in total. I started by doing Google image searches for the veggies and sketching by hand, then taking the drawing into Photoshop to use as a guide. Here are some drawings of an artichoke, followed by a time-lapse of an avocado painting:

So basically, I'm really enjoying painting this way! I've never considered myself a strong painter, but digital painting is much more forgiving. Maybe I should do pastries next...

Cheers!
Leslie

Behind the scenes: "Adventure is Out There"

This piece is inspired by the movie "Up". This wasn't made for anyone in particular, I just wanted to do it :) I'll have the artwork available as art prints and greeting cards (and possibly other goodies) in my Etsy shop soon; I'll include a direct link when it's ready!

I did a LOT of sketching for this piece, because I was having a hard time coming up with something that made me go "this is it!" I found myself becoming easily intimidated by the balloons. I just wasn't sure how to go about them, and depending on the option I chose...well, I could end up with hundreds of balloons. And then I had an internal debate over the house. Do I make it look like the house in "Up"? Or just any house? Or a really simple stylized house? After considering all of my options, I decided on a very stylized version of the house and balloons. 

 Winner winner chicken dinner!

Winner winner chicken dinner!

I originally had something completely different in mind for the lettering, but I decided the style was too "safe" and that I could push myself further. It just didn't have a lot of feeling of adventure.

 Here are loads of initial thumbnail sketches, and my original thought for the lettering. It's pretty but also kind of blah, which is why I pushed myself to make....

Here are loads of initial thumbnail sketches, and my original thought for the lettering. It's pretty but also kind of blah, which is why I pushed myself to make....

 THIS! I really like this lettering treatment. It's much more dynamic, and it's unique and screams ADVENTURE! And I incorporated some birds to further integrate the sky theme.

THIS! I really like this lettering treatment. It's much more dynamic, and it's unique and screams ADVENTURE! And I incorporated some birds to further integrate the sky theme.

Once I had my styles figured out, and a thumbnail that I liked (it's the right-most thumbnail in the above photo), it was time to work on the final pencil drawing! Since I enjoyed making my first video so much, I decided to get some upgrades for my "photo studio" (read: dining room). I bought a fancy tripod with a reversible center column so that I can shoot from directly above the drawing board. I also got a soft box light to help even out the lighting situation. Of course I'm learning things as I go, which is part of the fun!

 I've gone SUPER PRO! Fancy.

I've gone SUPER PRO! Fancy.

Time to draw! I set my remote shutter release to snap a photo every 3 seconds. I ended up with about 1500 photos. Here's a shot of the finished pencil drawing:

Next I traced the drawing with ink (oh, I also upgraded my light box! Woot woot!) and got everything scanned into the computer. I like for my drawings to have a hand-drawn quality, but I also want them to be clean. More clean than the semi-wobbly lines I end up with ;)

 Doing some clean-up in Illustrator. Whoa, lines!

Doing some clean-up in Illustrator. Whoa, lines!

I set my computer to take a screenshot every 5 seconds, and I got just about 2000 by the time I was finished. Then it was time to compile my bajillion images (ok, 3500) into a video!

 Sitting back and letting Photoshop do a batch edit on my drawing photos. The lighting was originally kind of cool, so I did a quick warming filter across the board.

Sitting back and letting Photoshop do a batch edit on my drawing photos. The lighting was originally kind of cool, so I did a quick warming filter across the board.

And I present the finished piece! 

 What a fun adventure that was!

What a fun adventure that was!

Cheers!
Leslie