Tag: tutorial

5-Step Drawing Walkthrough!

Today is many things: Daniel Boone Day, National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, and National VCR Day.

It is also the day I got around to a walk-through of the illustration below.

 

^ Here’s the final drawing. Click to make it bigger.

If you’re interested in reading and playing along, grab some paper, ballpoints, cheap watercolors, crayons/colored pencils, a Sharpie, and white acrylic paint.

Or you can just read, which is totally easier and involves practically zero effort. It’s what I typically do with other people’s tutorials. I toss cool ideas in the junk drawer of my skull. (Sometimes they even find their way back out.)

Here we go.

^ Optional prep work: Find a reference. You can draw from your imagination if you want, but I often use Flickr Commons (copyright-free images), Sktchy (a phone app, more info here), or Reddit Gets Drawn for starting points.

^ 1. Ballpoint. I used the girl’s face as a reference. Once I was done with the face, the page felt empty, so I drew some other crap. A Minnie Mouse thing happened.

^ 2. Watercolor. I used the source portrait to choose face colors. Afterward, I tried to carry those colors into the rest of the page.

I use a cheap-ass palette like this. It’s quick, easy, and under $5. I guess if I ever grow up, I’ll use the nice ones people have given me.

^ 3. Highlights & lowlights. The watercolor mushed everything into a mid-tone. I added white acrylic touches for highlights. A permanent marker delineated the blackest areas.

^ 4. Screw around. I felt like I needed to make the image more “interesting.” Sometimes doing this irrevocably fucks everything up.

I tried some color-changing crayons I bought on a whim at Target, and they were total trash. They were too waxy and kept snapping. They are dead to me now. After abandoning those crayons, I switched to tri-tone colored pencils my brother got me. They’re a million times better.

You can use anything you want for this part, or skip it altogether.

 ^ 5. Final touches. I went back in with white acrylic and dialed the background back. The “hero” of the piece was mouse-girl, not all that psychedelic dicking around.

You could argue that doing all that work in the background, then painting over it, is pointless. However, I think that the light variation in the background makes it much more interesting than just nothingness.

In Photoshop, I touched up the dark spots in the dress and on her cheek. They’re two small area tweaks, but this isn’t quite the drawing in my physical sketchbook. (See digression below).

I also made the image square so it’d turn out correctly in Instagram and back in Sktchy. (Gotta share it, especially with the girl who was the source material!)

Done!

Thanks for following along! Feel free to join me for a discussion below.

And now for a digression: Is Photoshop “cheating”? Should drawings be presented online exactly as they are in real life? Is the drawing I’ve presented here a “lie”?

When I was in college, a professor told us that our work would be seen online 99% of the time.

Most people are going to catch your latest creations on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, whatever. They’re never going to know you flubbed that line or fucked over your color scheme unless you tell them. The original work can be like me in middle school — untouched, unseen, unneeded. (I went through a really prolonged Ugly Duckling stage.)

I think that the most important thing is to show everyone whatever your vision is. If your materials or your hands betray you, that shouldn’t stop you from expression. So sure, fix those colors. Erase bits. Rearrange things. Split it apart and smash it back together. You aren’t entering the “I Did This By Hand And No Photoshop Came Into Play” contest.

Or are you? If so, ignore this part, you Cheaty McCheat-Pants. You’re a horrid person.

Illustration Tutorial: Peeper, Part Two

If you missed the first part of this ride-along, click here!

Where we left off was a choppy bunch of shapes with some shading. Now it’s time to add some lines back in — but only the most important ones.

HowItsMade04

I took the blobs and added in details to make the image more understandable. (You can see what I did isolated on the right.)

Examples: I enhanced his hair. I clarified the shape of the leaves. I defined the drape sashes.

HowItsMade05

What’s next is a bunch of color-fiddling and texture-adding. I use a bunch of brushes and colors and filters to add oodles of layers on top. Each is subtle. It’s a trial-and-error thing.

A few examples of things I did here:
– I dialed back the orange of the walls. This allowed the pink and red of the pots and curtains to pop more.
– I added some cool tones to the shadows of the curtains and room to enrich their color spectrum.
– I made the plants in the foreground more blue. This helps separate them from the lime green background.
– I added my LL16 chop/date thing.

Aaaand….

ITSOVER

Here’s the finished product! I hope you enjoyed our journey.

Illustration Tutorial: Peeper, Part One

Today we’re going to do Part One of How I Illustrate! This process is spontaneous, fun, and colorful. You can try it at home!

Step 1: Inspiration. For this piece, my source material/idea is this image from RedditGetsDrawn. There’s something fascinating about the fact that the author calls this “my very cute boyfriend and our plants.” In any other context, this image looks like a screen grab from a horror movie.

HowItsMade-01

Step 2: Line art. I draw hella-simple line art. It can be smudgy or messy. This is where the composition is figured out. I moved the face to the other window to balance it out. I made the pots fun. I added in curtains.

Step 3: Basic colors. I locked the line art screen and set it to “multiply.” Then I added in shapes underneath. I used the Pen tool, but you could use the manual lasso or polygonal lasso and dump colors in places. When adding in colors, I make everything basically mid-toned.

Because I can’t quite see what I’m doing, the lines aren’t precisely matching up down there. I do not, under any circumstances, remove the line art screen at this point. Because I will begin to fuss. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

HowItsMade-02

Step 4: Highlights/shadows. I take the polygonal lasso tool, make a fresh layer, and start adding in highlights using a textured brush. Then I make another fresh layer and start adding in shadows using a textured brush.

Step 4 detail: Here’s how the highlight and shadow layers look on their own.

HowItsMade-03

Step 5: The Reveal: Completely delete the line layer. It is not coming back. (Bye, Felicia.) You’ll be left with something sort of funky. Stuff won’t line up. Nothing will be straight. You will notice your mistakes. You will despair. Too late.

Step 6: Levels and touches. Here’s the part where you add in some contrast and add in a few details to the spots that look weird. (I realized, for example, that the curtains didn’t have any shading.)

Click here for the final steps: adding in some line work, highlights, definition, and color adjustments.

How To Make A Terrarium!

My friend Dana hosts parties that double as educational workshops. I don’t know how she has the energy or finances for this practice… but I’m grateful she does it.

Today’s lesson was moss terrariums!

Here’s how they’re made:

Moss-Terrarium-How-To

You can get a glass container with a lid at your Goodwill for $5 or less. The fun object can be plastic, or one of those ceramic miniatures. Thrift or antiques stores have tons of options.

The pebble area holds the water. The charcoal keeps excess fungus from growing (stinky!). The Spanish moss keeps the dirt from drifting downward. The dirt gives nutrients to the regular moss.

On top of the moss are your Fun Things. Figurines, bigger plants, seashells, decorative stones, etc. Go fun or go home. 

Once you’re done, this site has excellent care instructions.

Here are our babies:

Montage

Examine closely this Yoda terrarium, you must:

IMG_4251

I’ll write a follow-up post when my terrarium dies.

Probably next week sometime.