Wolf Howl – digital illustration

Wolf howling at the moon digital image
Wolf howl - digital illustration

Photoshop is getting a little easier. It helped to sit my 12-year-old daughter Clara down in front of it.

“What does this tool do?”

“Uh, I don’t know.”

“Why not? Oh, that’s cool.  How about this tool? What does that do?”

“Um, never tried that either.”

“How come? Oh, awesome, check this out…”

It was kind of embarrassing. I had really intended to show her some cool stuff but she ended up instructing me!  Just through sheer curiosity, Clara managed to introduce me to the burn tool, sponge tool and several other cool Photoshop toys.

I had already nearly finished this digital wolf illustration based on a watercolor painting from a couple years ago, so the new tools only got a mini workout here, but I’m definitely looking forward to trying them out more thoroughly next time!

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Wolf painting (digital image)

wolf digital image painting
Learning to manipulate the digital pen and work in layers in Photoshop...

I’ve painted this wolf in watercolor (based on a pencil sketch from a couple of years ago), so thought I’d give it a try in Photoshop.

It came out kind of looking like a piece done in oil pastels.  I do really enjoy the fact that overworking an area doesn’t mean I’m stuck with it! In this piece I learned how to use layers to build up an image…  very different than layering with physical paint because here one has the luxury of adding to or removing any layer at any time!  And of course adding another layer won’t muss up the ones beneath it.

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A brand new toy (and it’s not even Christmas!)

female potrait
Didn't know what the heck I was doing, but it was a blast...

Don’t you love having the excuse to buy something you’ve been lusting after?

I’ve been wanting a graphics tablet and digital pen ever since I realized there was such a thing. (About 2 years I think.  Yes, I’m from Mars.)

As I mentioned in my last couple posts I’ve been working on an illustration project for an animated video.  And scanning just isn’t going to cut it.  So, oh well (hee, hee, hee!) I’ve been forced to spend the bucks for my most coveted wish-list item.  (Talk about manifesting one’s own reality!)  🙂

I asked around and the consensus was pretty much that the only brand worth considering is a Wacom. I heard good things about their Bamboo model, but after reading a ton of reviews I decided that I probably wouldn’t be happy with anything less than a professional model.  A few more reviews  convinced me that a small Intuos3, while not the latest and greatest, would suit my needs to a T.

I actually ended up spending less than I thought I would have to.  I found a new one on Ebay for a reasonable price and after a few hours’ anxious hovering over the monitor, won the bid with no competition.  A few LONG days later my tablet arrived!

It didn’t take me long to realize that the software I had been using for graphic design, Adobe Illustrator, just didn’t seem to give me the results I wanted. Then my friend Lance suggested I try Photoshop.  Fortunately I already owned it since I have the Adobe Suite.  Of course there are plenty of challenges since I’d never really used Photoshop before.  But it wasn’t long before I realized that this tablet + Photoshop offered something beyond my wildest dreams…

…total fluidity of expression.  The possibilities are truly endless!  Right now I’m really enjoying the painterly qualities I can get with the smudge tool. But I expect this will be a visual love affair to last the rest of my life.  (Even my traditional paintings will, I’m sure, benefit from Photoshop as a compositional planning tool…)

The image here is one of my earliest attempts.  It’s no-one in particular, just a portrait that flowed out of my head through the pen onto the screen.  Perhaps she’s the muse of digital imagery?

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More hand drawings

Hands are always a challenge and a pleasure to draw and I certainly don’t consider it a waste of time to have done these. Who knows – they may find their way into a painting some day…

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Graphite drawing - male hand
Male hand drawing #1

More hand studies from the animation illustration project. The male hand is supposed to appear more forceful.  I drew these pencil studies from reference photos I took of my son Isaac’s hand.

However his hands are fairly small and delicate for a guy.  I think a more robust model would be more appropriate for this particular project so I will be redoing these studies very soon.  (I tease him that he’d make a good large animal vet, remembering James Herriot’s comments about small hands being an asset for delivering calves.  Isaac has an aversion to slime so he’s not amused.  But he does have beautiful hands and they were fun to draw.  Isaac – if you ever read this, thank you! )

Hands are always a challenge and a pleasure to draw and I certainly don’t consider it a waste of time to have done these.  Who knows – they may find their way into a painting some day…

Pencil drawing - male hand
Male hand drawing #2
Male hand drawing #3
Male hand study #3

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Hand studies

These are some preliminary sketches of female hands for one component of an animated video. It’s a pretty cool project – I can’t tell you much about it yet but I’ll reveal more as it reaches completion.

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Drawing of a female hand pointing up
Female hand sketch #1 - my left hand (from life)

Ask, and you shall receive!

I recently started asking the Universe to help me find a way to use my creative talents to support me financially. Not long after, Lance, a client for whose non-profit I had done a fair amount of editing in the past, asked me if I’d be interested in doing some illustration.

But of course! 🙂

These are some preliminary sketches for one component of an animated video.  It’s a pretty cool project – I can’t tell you much about it yet but I’ll reveal more as it reaches completion.

I did the drawings in graphite pencil on some old looseleaf stationary that we found in a building we own.  It is from the 50’s or 60’s and has this wonderful tooth and is a real pleasure to draw on.

 

Drawing of a woman's right hand
Drawing of my daughter's hand from a photo
Female hand drawing
This one was done from a photo of my daughter's right hand

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