Thursday, April 20, 2006

EDM challenge no. 63

"Go on a nature walk, pick up items, draw what you find." That´s a nice challenge. My dear M´s son found these on a little walk the other day. They are very small (about 1,5 cm), looking like mushrooms but are probably some kind of moss or lichen (don´t know their name even in Swedish). You see those everywhere in the forests here, but never with that red thingy on top. What in the world is that? Do these things bloom? Do you know?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Old sketchbook

I filled my old sketchbook last week, it´s up in the sketchbook section of my site, if you´d like to take a look.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Life drawing no. 2

I went to a life drawing session tonight and finally managed to draw a human lying down. Drawing people is always a challenge, but in a horizontal position I find human proportions even harder to recognize. I guess it´s because we all move around in a vertical position, always seeing each other that way - it´s easier to draw things you feel familiar with.

Anyway, this drawing was made towards the end of the session, which is typical for me. That´s when I start relaxing a bit, not being so tense about getting it right. And that´s when it´s time to go home...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

EDM challenge no. 61

Last week´s challenge over at Everyday Matters was to draw a grouping of two or more similar objects. I found this strange little grouping behind one of the houses in the street where I live. The landlord is renovating all the apartments here, and every now and then you run into some very odd stuff around here…

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Photoshop play

I went shopping for a new keyboard for the computer today (bought a Logitech with a really nice feel to it) and had a coffee afterwards in a café nearby. I made this quick (about ten minutes) line drawing of a part of the café, feeling really stressed because people were walking right by my chair looking down into my sketchbook. Of course I didn´t give myself the time to do any crosshatching or details and I wasn´t particularly happy with the result.

When I came home I thought I should still try to save that little drawing somehow, so I scanned it and tried a few things with it in Photoshop. I often feel that drawings colored in Photoshop – or even worse, Illustrator – often feel a little “dead”, if you know what I mean. It can look really cool sometimes if you do it properly and find your own style with it but with my own drawings I mostly just feel like “oops, it died”. So what I do is I add textures.

I´m a real geek when it comes to digital photography, I go around taking snapshots of surfaces like wood, metal, textiles, paper grain, rust, dust, scratches, colorstains and other general signs of decay that you can always find everywhere. I have a whole lot of those textures by now, and I use them a lot when I work in Photoshop. They add a bit of extra spice to images with a lot of flat colour in them. Now, I´m not used to explaining my way of working in Photoshop in English, but I´ll give it a try…

I start out with the drawing, getting rid of the white in it so that I have the lines against a transparent background. To colour the drawing I make selections for every area that I want to colour and then fill it with whatever colour I want, in a layer beneath the line drawing. I make sure to save the selections, that way they can be used again. When I´m done colouring (the second image above), I start adding textures. I drag and drop a texture photo onto the drawing so that the photo gets it´s own layer and then I make sure I´m happy with the size and placement of the texture. I then load one of the selections I previously saved, in this case for example the tables, invert the selection and erase. Now the texture photo is left only in the shapes of the tables. I then choose a suitable blending mode for that texture layer – often multiply – and there you are! The tables have both colour and texture! I then go on to the next texture with the same procedure.

I like this way of colouring my drawings, I think it gives them a bit more life than just plain flat digital colour. And believe me, once you start collecting textures, if you haven´t already, you will see the world around you differently. Every little rust stain is a potential image enhancer, so you´d better keep your digital camera ready!