Showing posts with label photoshop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photoshop. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Experimenting with Gouache, a not quite tutorial

I've recently started using gouache. I'm still calling it experimental even though I've used it for client work. No matter what I do, I always end up using a variety of media. It's usually some combination of paint, acrylic inks, Caran d'ache Supracolor pencils, and Photoshop or Manga Studio, with a side of collage of some sort. In other words, I use whatever works to get the job done.

In this first photo I first printed out a colorized sketch onto my Fabriano hot press watercolor paper (reddish sketch). Then I painted in the shadows with a mix of blue gouache and purple acrylic ink.

Underpainting of acrylic ink mixed with gouache.

Here I've laid in the basic colors in gouache on the figures. There's not much detail, yet.

Basic colors laid in.

Now I'm starting to define details and add more modeling to the figures with color pencil. I use Caran d'ache Supracolor pencils.

Adding details with color pencil.

I decided the yellow background wasn't working so I took this old watercolor and salt painting into Photoshop to colorize and lighten it.

Watercolor with salt painting.

Colorizing the background.


I added a vignette border to the background for the final piece. At Renee's suggestion, I also painted some glare on the ice in Photoshop.
The final piece.


I hope you find this helpful. I'm still learning to use the gouache, but I'm loving it so far.

This piece came from my sketching while watching the Olympics. If you're following me on Instagram, you'll recognize them.

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Transition from Photoshop to Manga Studio 5

Hello everyone! It's been quite a while since I posted here! For the past few months I've been knee-deep in illustrating a new picture book set to come out in the Fall.

I've had my head down illustrating pretty much every spare moment I had since September, but I've finally emerged from my art coma and want to tell you all about my experience with Manga Studio 5!

I transitioned over from Photoshop to Manga Studio with this latest project, so I got four months of serious on-the-job training with the program. I went from ZERO knowledge of the program to it becoming second nature.

I have to admit that I had tinkered around with the program for a while last summer, but gave up because I just wasn't feeling comfortable with it. Then right before I started this last project, I fiddled with Manga Studio some more. At the same time, Photoshop started becoming finicky and began feeling super clunky. I went back to Manga Studio (with some nudging from fellow SMA illustrator Tracy Bishop) and gave it another try because I was just getting too frustrated with Photoshop feeling like it was laggy and slow.

When this last picture book project came along in September, I bit the bullet and decided to go for it--to try and complete a painting in Manga Studio. The cover was due first and I figured I could attempt the cover in Manga Studio and switch back over to Photoshop if things didn't pan out.

Well, let's just say I fell in love with Manga Studio and never looked back.

Here are a few of the main reasons Manga Studio is the clear winner for me:

  • The brush engine is a million times better than Photoshop's. There are way more options to finesse your brushes in terms of pressure and color blending, etc. Manga Studio also allows for creating brushes using multiple images at once which is something I have always wished that Photoshop could do.
  • The perspective guide/ruler is AMAZING. It came in handy SO MUCH. Manga Studio allows for your pencil/brush lines to snap to the perspective ruler which takes a lot of fuss out of drawing cityscapes (or anything in perspective, really).
  • The ability to create models of people in different poses and angles really helped for my latest project. I painted scenes where there were many, MANY people in them and my husband would only model for me for so long, so I had to build poses in Manga Studio (which is supremely easy to do).
  • You can set the fill bucket to close gaps in your line drawing, making laying on the first layer of color so much quicker than attempting that in Photoshop. 

Just one window of the MANY different brush options Manga Studio 5 has.

The poseable 3D models are an amazing feature. It isn't a memory hog and never slowed my computer down at all.

In all, I worked 100% in Manga Studio with this latest book project and just figured it out as I went. I have to say that my fellow Simply Messing About blogger, Tracy Bishop really, really helped me out if I found myself stuck. She's been using Manga Studio for a while and had the answer to pretty much all my questions! ;) Check out her wonderful Manga Studio tour video!

In case you're wondering, I never had to take any of my images back to Photoshop for any retouching or post-painting work. I suppose everyone paints differently, so there is a chance you might need to go back and forth for certain things, but I didn't have to. I pretty much found a solution to anything I needed to do in Manga Studio. However, if you do need to switch back and forth, Manga Studio makes it easy to export or even save your file as a Photoshop file!

If you have the opportunity to try out Manga Studio, I highly, highly recommend it. It's like Manga Studio's creators took everything illustrators and painters love from Photoshop, made them a million times better and then added more awesome stuff on top! All without having to deal with the bogged down feeling that Photoshop can bring. I must also mention that Manga Studio is a mere fraction of the cost of Photoshop. Yay!

In the weeks to come, I will be doing tutorials based on some of my favorite things about Manga Studio....keep an eye out for them! Until then, do yourself a favor and at least download a trial version of Manga Studio 5 if you can!

'Til next time!

~christina



Monday, November 18, 2013

Experimenting with pencil and coloring in Photoshop

I've been experimenting in my work this week. I really love working in black and white, but I wanted to try my hand at combining the black pencil on coquille or pebble board with coloring in Photoshop.
Black Caran d'ache Pencil on Coquille Board

Colorized version of the Black pencil drawing
I scanned in the black pencil drawing and brought it into Photoshop where I colorized it using the Hue/Saturation menu. I then set this layer to Multiply.
Finished piece.
I painted on a layer underneath the drawing and added a few highlights on a layer above it. I'm really pleased with the results!



Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Prickly Postcard Process

A lot of time is spent looking at what we call "final art," but so much work goes into a piece before we can call it that! The following is the process I went through to with my fall postcard mailer, starting from sketch...to final!

First, I had to decide on which image to use. I had my soggy, prickly, porcupine character, but should I show him arriving at the fox hole, or walking past a squirrel family collecting acorns for winter? 

Option 1

Option 2

I almost immediately decided on the following image for the black and white postcard back.


After choosing my story (Option 1), it was all about working out the composition:

1. Adding color to my original sketch.

2. Playing with cropping and zooming.

3. Figuring out my light source and finishing the quill detail.

4. And finally adding an indoor shadow for drama! 

These are my final postcards, printed fabulously by Moo.com. I highly recommend them, but do pay attention for sales because they can run a bit more pricey. I decided to pay a little bit more for quality after my last postcard batch from Overnightprints.com got ruined in a rainstorm. It's really embarrassing to think that all my artwork arrived smudged with torn edges to an Editor or Art Director's desk. Never again!



Cheers and happy self promoting!
~Renee



*For those of you using Overnight Prints, here's a handy Coupon Link:  http://verified.codes/Overnight-Prints

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pushing a New Style: Photoshop Process GIF

When it comes to creating art for deadlines, my current weapon of choice is my Wacom Cintiq. But last week, I had a serious urge to grab a (real) pencil and put it to (real) paper beyond a simple sketch.

I decided to do a piece that will hopefully become one in a series of paintings based on classic fairy tales. 

I cracked open my sketchbook, cranked up some Henry Jackman music for some dramatic ambience, and got to sketching!

I got the drawing pretty far along and completed in my sketchbook, then scanned it into photoshop for some minimal refining. My goal was to remind myself that I can draw and that I don't have to rely on the Undo button to create my art. I'm really focusing on trying to create portfolio pieces that incorporate more traditional media.

So, a quick rundown of how I did it (it's very basic):

The cleaned up drawing was set to a multiply layer on the top of the others and the coloring was done using flat blocks of color on subsequent layers. Being that I tried to get all the darks and lights figured out in the pencil drawing itself, only minimal highlights were added to the color. After that, some glows were added on top of all the layers, and that’s it!

I had amazing fun doing this and can’t wait to sink my teeth into more!

Until later!

~christina

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Digital Collage Illustration in Photoshop Tutorial

After much trial and lots of error, I finally have some videos of my process. I made a three part tutorial of my entry for the Tomie dePaola Award. This was an experiment of a style I've wanted to try. I'm really happy with how it turned out and can't wait to do more like it.



Elements used in this tutorial
For this piece, I worked in Photoshop CS6. Most of the elements in it were scanned in textures, art, and collages. I only painted a little bit of it in Photoshop.

The first video focusses on the background elements.


In the second video, I did a little painting on the pig.


In the last video, I created the swirling leaves and petals out of a background painted on canvas paper.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Photoshop Layer Mask Video

In the past year or so I realized that I use layer masks in Photoshop a lot. I thought I'd do a video tutorial on how and why I use it since for years I had no clue what it was and avoided using it.

I hope it's helpful!

How I use Photoshop Layer Masks from Tracy Bishop on Vimeo.


P.S. After looking at the video I realized that I should have said this approach of separating out a character from the background is for those people who paint using transparent brushes like I do.  If you painted with flat opaque colors, then you can just move your layer around with no extra special preparation.

In my case, I paint using very transparent brushes. If I didn't use the mask with the white background, then the background will just show through the entire character.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Creating a Photoshop Brush Using Scanned Textures (Video)

I originally began painting with Photoshop about seven years ago. Back then, I really tried to mimic the look of painting with oils (my true art love), but lately I feel my work has gotten away from that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as I have a newer style I really love, but I do miss creating work that looks and feels more traditional.

I recently discovered an artist named Paolo Domeniconi while scrolling through Pinterest. I was blown away to discover that his work is created in Photoshop! His textures are beautiful and painterly and it’s hard to believe they are painted digitally.

After seeing Paolo’s work, I was inspired to take another stab at making my own texture brushes.  When I first began figuring out how to paint using Photoshop (back in 2006), I found this tutorial by Scott E. Franson. The artwork resulting from his custom brushes is gorgeous. I've kept his blog post bookmarked and his method has always stuck with me. As I went back to experiment with my own texture brushes a few weeks ago, I referred back to his post for help. I’m happy that after lots of experimentation, I finally figured out a great method for painting in Photoshop with results I really love.

At the bottom of this post, I’ve included links to download the gesso texture file and the chalk brush for you to get started creating your own gesso texture brushes! Feel free to download and experiment!



Download:
Gesso Texture

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quick Photoshop Painting Demo (with music)!

There are many different ways I paint in Photoshop, but this video demonstrates the technique I've used to paint FAST. I recently finished a project on a super tight deadline and I knew I had to figure out a way to paint faster in order to get everything done on time. So, I went back to basics: employing line, value and local color!

The video below started with a random sketch on a random piece of paper floating around on my desk. In real time, the painting took about 15 minutes but it's been condensed down to about four minutes here!


Since the video goes by at lightning speed, here are some useful tips for the basic layer setup I used:

  • The final line layer is set to MULTIPLY and is on top of everything else
  • The value layer comes next and is also set to MULTIPLY. It is important that you work out your values here in order to eliminate worrying about that in your color layer
  • The next layer is your local color layer set to NORMAL. Since your values are worked out in the above layer, all you have to do here is paint your flat (or local) colors in. Your values already show through!
  • Lastly, you can do a layer above everything else with your highlights.
  • I left my line visible, but if you push your value layer and really work out your lights and darks, you can completely get rid of the line layer.

That's it! Set it and forget it! Here's a piece I did using this technique. Until next time! :)

From "Goodnight Baseball" (Capstone, 2013)


Monday, April 29, 2013

From Sketchbook to Screen: Color

In my last post, I detailed how to get your scanned sketch to a workable level in Photoshop. This will be sort of a continuation of that, but in color

I recorded a demo of myself painting the sketch below and, though it was intended to be only 10 minutes long, I ended up going on and on for about a half hour! I don't expect that everyone would want to watch that, so I sped it up to 3 minutes and added a Huey Lewis tune! WIN.

In the long version of the demo, I show how to use levels, multiply layers, and use brushes to get a softer look. In this shorter version, you really just see some color decisions fly by!


Sketchbook Painting Demo (3min) from Renee Kurilla on Vimeo.


Here are some of the brushes I use:

Useful tips mentioned in the long version:

  • To quickly change the line color of your sketch, select the line and hit CMD+U (Hue/Saturation), check the "colorize box"
  • If you paint with the pencil tool instead of the brush tool, the autofill is MUCH better.
  • Layer Lock: Lock Transparent Pixels is AWESOME. 
  • You can also use Blending Modes on a layer above your sketch to colorize your line, but it effects all colors underneath the layer as well. 

Learning Curve:
Even though the long version is 30 minutes, if I were painting this for a paying job I'd definitely spend another few hours finessing details. I think spending those few minutes ahead of time colorizing your lines is worthwhile.
If I had known I'd end up colorizing this sketch, I might reconsider how much pencil shading I add. I found as I was coloring that it was very difficult to select sections to "colorize" because of the thick shadows. The shading also makes some parts of the piece very dark (her shirt, hair, the little bear nook).

Noteworthy: Someone who really has this technique down is UK based illustrator, Alex T. Smith. His work is phenomenal and lively, so talented! His latest blog post actually shows a before and after pencil sketch turned color.

You know what the real secret ingredient to all of this is... (drumroll please)

Patience.

-------

*If you'd like to watch the long version of my demo in which I say "Umm." 2,000,345 times and immediately go back on my promise to label all my layers, I've made it available on my Vimeo page, here. :)

Thanks for reading, and as always feel free to comment below and ask questions!

Cheers!
~Renee

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Planning your portfolio in InDesign

Conference season is in the air, so I thought I'd show you a quick way to plan out your physical portfolio using InDesign and Acrobat. I have to credit Tracy Bishop for this tip. I don't know about you, but I wasted a lot of ink and paper before I figured this method out. Doh!

In my last post I showed you how I organize my picture book dummies using InDesign. Planning a portfolio is pretty much the same process. I open a new document in InDesign creating pages the same size as my physical portfolio. For more details, check my last post here.


As you can see, I figured out how many pages I wanted and have placed my art already. It's really easy to click and drag the pages in the page menu to rearrange them. I can decide whether to leave blank pages or to group related pictures together. I can also figure out how big each image should be.


Once I have the art the size I want, I can click on each image to see what size it is and print it at that size in Photoshop. Easy peasy.



You can also export this as a pdf and load it on your iPad or other tablet. 

Here's my portfolio (for now). I'm using an 11x14 Kolo album. It's an inch too wide for the SCBWI National Conference this summer in Los Angeles, but I wanted my art as big as possible. I'll have to figure out something else soon.

With the Kolo album, you can get pages that you can print directly on. My printer doesn't cooperate, but maybe yours does. I print my images on Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster and mount it on the portfolio pages using StudioTac. Tracy also introduced me to StudioTac. I use the low tack version so that I am able to reposition things if necessary. It's so easy to use! You just put your image on it, burnish over the image, then adhere it to the page in your portfolio.


I wanted my name on the portfolio, so here's what I used as page one.



I consulted this post by Molly Idle to figure out the look of my portfolio. I like that she's creating a portfolio that feels like a real book.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nuts and Bolts: My Photoshop and Wacom Setup

Lately I've been doing a lot of experimenting with actual paints and brushes, but for the past six or so years, I've been completing all my projects using Photoshop CS4.

Over the years, I've figured out a system using Wacom's programmable ExpressKeys, Touch Strip and Radial Menu that helps me paint quickly and efficiently.  Using these programmable keys along with a specific Photoshop window arrangement allows for faster painting...get those deadlines done!

First things first, I'm working on a two or three year old iMac 23" and a Wacom Cintiq 12wx (the ExpressKeys are also available on the Wacom Intuos 3's, 4's and 5's too). Below the video, I've included diagrams of how I've set my Wacom Cintiq's programmable options. Remember, the programmable keys come on the Intuos tablets as well, so if you don't have a Cintiq, all is not lost!




Wacom's ExpressKeys
The Cintiq and Intuos tablets come with programmable keys located on both sides of the tablet. I've disabled the ExpressKeys on the left of my tablet being that I'm left-handed and it's just too much of an inconvenience to use while I'm trying to paint! There is a slight difference in how the keys are set up depending on how old your tablet is, and here is how mine are set up. The letters/symbols in parenthesis are the keyboard shortcuts I used to program the functions into the HotKeys in my Wacom preferences.



Wacom's Radial Menu
In Wacom's preferences menu (under Apple's System Preferences), you can find the options for customizing your Radial Menu. Here's a close-up version of how mine are programmed:



Screen Setup:
The most thing for me here is to have a smaller version of my current painting file open so that I can see  the image as a whole. To do this, go to 'Window' on the menu bar, drop down to 'Arrange' and then select 'New window for ....". Having this smaller window open is a huge help and is very similar to stepping away from your canvas or squinting so that you can see how your painting is coming together in terms of warms/cools, lights/darks, etc.

I hope you enjoyed! By the way, I'm sure we'd all love to hear some cool tips and tricks that you've put into place regarding your tablet and Photoshop! Let us know your favorites!

~christina





Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's not about the brush: Digital Watercolor in Photoshop

What I've been messing around with the most for the past 3 years is with Photoshop. I've been researching, experimenting, and trying to figure out ways to get a watercolor-ish looking method to paint that was fun for me and not so processor intensive for my computer.

I eventually came across Zoe Piel's video tutorial series about how she approached digital watercolor painting. It was a revelation to me. It looked good and it was simple. It wasn't about the brush at all. After that I found Tony Cliff's tutorial about using an overlay texture layer.

The way I now paint, as seen in the video demo, combines both methods. The video is about 11 minutes but you can stop watching half way through. After the half way mark I'm done explaining how I do things and just ramble on while I'm finishing up the sketch. I hope it's helpful to you!

TracyBishop-WatercolorDigitalPainting from Tracy Bishop on Vimeo.

Here are the brushes that I use in the demo for you to download: I know the point of the demo was that the specific brush was kind of secondary, but it's still fun to try out new brushes. Here are some of my favorite brushes:

Free:

Paid Brushes:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

From Sketchbook to Screen: Black and White

My last post was about how I've been trying to get back to my painting roots and become less of a digital artist. Besides attempting watercolor, there are other ways I go about trying to accomplish this: One of them is by using scanned a page from my sketchbook in a finished piece. To explain how I go about this very tricky business, I'm going to show you the scary inner workings of my Photoshop layers for this illustration:

Jody from The Yearling is REALLY just crying about how messy my Photoshop layers are.

*I can go into more depth, but to keep it simple I'll start with just black and white art. Next time, I'll go into the beast that is color. 

This particular assignment was for the most recent SCBWI Tomie dePaola contest in which he asked for a black and white piece. I had just read this interview with Jon Klassen (author/illustrator/Caldecott winner) over on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. The way he describes his own process is very much an organic blend of making shapes and positioning them together digitally. I thought this would be a great way to practice combining both traditional and digital media in my own work.

So, to get started, I read The Yearling... SOBBED my eyes out, composed myself, chose a moment, and finally then started sketching. My ideas came out in pieces: Jody, the bitterns, the forest, ducks, the pond, grass, plants, weeds, etc. Here are some pages directly from my sketchbook, in which I used both a pencil and ink brush pen:





I scanned all of these images at 600 dpi, a nice, adjustable size for my tiny sketches. I knew I wanted to be able to make those inked plants really big and put them in the foreground as silhouettes. That being said, once your image ends up in Photoshop, it'll probably still need some help. Here's what I do:

Adjusting Levels

1. Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels:



2. Move the middle triangle to the right to make increase contrast (making your lines darker):


3. Move the right triangle to the left to brighten the whites:


Now you can copy and paste the pieces into a new file and set the layer to multiply to see only the line. And now I'm ready to show you my monstrosity of a 75 layer Photoshop file (I've had up to 400 layers in one file, btw). This image shows less than half of the layers I used, but you can sort of see (with some layers turned off ) how it works. I positioned the ducks together, overlapped the plant in the foreground, and arranged the wildflowers and rocks into a scene. I normally label my layers, but I must have been in a hurry this time. 

*TIP: If you have a messy unlabeled file like me, you can press "V" for the Move Tool and right click on any object to find the layer it's on. It works better than turning layers on and off until you find the right one. You'll be pulling your hair out by the time you find it. 


Here's a closeup of Jody, who's entire self exists on just 4 nicely labeled layers (sketch, multiple shadow layers, and a white underpainting):


When it comes to the background, one helpful thing to help you fill in details like tree leaves, is knowing how to make a Photoshop brush. It's SO easy. Specifically, here's how I made a leaf stamp for the above image:

How to Make a Photoshop Brush:

1. Create a new file at 300 dpi - good dimensions are somewhere between 200-500 pixels (mine is a weird dimension because I cropped the file when I finished drawing leaves):


2. Make a new layer over the background white and start drawing what you want your brush to look like, in this case - leaves!

3. Once you have your image, delete that white background (by default this layer is locked, unlock it by  OPT+double click):


4. Press CMD+A to "Select All" then go to Edit  > Define Brush Preset...


5. Name your new brush.


6. Find your brush in your brushes palette, select it, and use it!!

 


*TIP: If you click on Brush Tip Shape in the Brushes Window, you can change things like rotation and size, which help to aid the variance and organic quality of your brush. 

7. Make sure to save your original Photoshop file so you can make the brush again easily if you happen to lose it!



And that's a wrap on how to combine sketches with your digital art. I hope this was a helpful resource for some folks, but if you have any questions please feel free to post in the comments. Next time I'll elaborate more on what I do for color images! 

In other news: 
Recently, I was interviewed by the awesome Bill Turner over on his blog, The Tools Artists Use: A fine resource to learn more about many illustrators, cartoonists, comic artists, etc.  

Thanks for reading!

Cheers!
~Renee