Monday, April 19, 2010

Back to Work...Well, Sort of

This weekend was full of Little League Baseball games, cleaning up the yard, rain (not a good combination), and a little bit of drawing. I took my sketchpad to the ball field (Usually when it's my own kid's game, my husband is the coach and I'm official scorekeeper. This Saturday, my kid was pool-playing for another team because they were short.) and started in on this idea I had after being inspired by some other people's work. My husband accused me of making this little creature to resemble someone from Little League, but if I did, it was subconsciously influenced only.
He was only about half-way finished by the time that game was over, and a brief jaunt to Taco Cabana later, I was back at our home field acting as Field Monitor (exactly as interesting as it sounds). After finally getting to consume my Taco Cabana burrito, I was sitting on the bleachers at a girls' softball game, finishing him up. Despite the home team's designated Chihuahua's best attempt to pose as my model, I finished him all up and put the book away to avoid any damage or criticism.

Yesterday morning, I scanned him in and got him all digitally gussied up. I switched up his colors, started with some color in his main body, then thought better of it and just left his main body white. Overall, I really like the way it turned out!
I guess it's time for me to get back to all of my other work, now. I have quite the list of responsibilities I've got to take care of today.

"Mister Softee" is now available for sale as a 6" x 8" archival print here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Digitally Enhancing Sub-Par Drawings Works!

I was never a huge proponent of digital manipulation in and of itself, but I've been using it more and more to clean up drawings and, better yet, to add color to them! My last blog entry about Eric and the Fake Beard was an example of one that I never would have wanted to add the color with a brush, and it turned out to be a great combination of natural-looking drawn lines and the crisp perfection of digital color.

I did a similar thing a couple weeks ago with "The Frog Princess." She was a relatively simple ink drawing who simply needed a little polish by way of digital color. For that one, I even got a regular laser mouse to use left-handed, as opposed to the track ball mouse, which must be used right-handed and has less control (to me in my hands). Here she is:

I like how you can give something a subtle gradient from one color to another, or just one color to white.

So as I was perusing some of my Etsy Favorites, I came across a pen and ink artist who puts different colored backgrounds behind her botanical drawings, and even lets her customers choose which color they prefer. Her name is Jodi Davies, and she goes by jodidoodles, if you would care to check her out. (Since everyone's tastes in art are different and every artist has a different style, I don't really feel all that competitive about pointing out other awesome artists.) I thought that the different colored backgrounds with a black and white foreground was a cool idea, so I tried it on one of the drawings I finished this week (okay, the only drawing I finished this week, shhhh!).

Not only did I add the colored background, but this was the first drawing I can honestly say that I completely altered on the computer. While I was fairly happy with the flowers and leaves around the face in the middle, the face itself just looked awful. And awful in ink is a fairly permanent type of awful. But not letting a little temporary lack of drawing talent hold me back, I scanned it in and proceeded to rip the face to shreds on the computer. There was much too much crosshatching on the eyelids and the face itself was not in the middle of the circle where it should have been. I was just having an off day. It happens. But through the wonders of the digital age, I fixed most of what I disliked about it, tried not to go completely crazy fixing blemishes (kind of like putting your makeup on in the magnifying mirror, cleaning up images on the computer can get a little OCD). Then I added a square of color behind it, and picked three colors to start with as the background. Here is the result:

Clicking on the image above will take you to the listing for the green one, but I made a listing for each of the three colors, in case one caught someone's eye more than the others. Also noted in each listing, if any of my readers would like it in another color, all you have to do is ask! I'm not sure if I will do any more like these, but it was certainly fun and a good exercise in digital manipulation. Please let me know what you think!