Thursday, October 21, 2010

Process, Part 4

Part 1 here.
Part 2 here.
Part 3 here.
Part 5 here.

The Photoshop portion of today's post will be...brushes! Brushes are your best friend if you're using a tablet.

This is the brush palette in Photshop where you can select your brush and set all kinds of options for it. The different brushes simulate different types of media, like paint, chalk, markers, etc, and even if they aren't always terribly realistic they can still create really cool effects. The main option I use is to set the size of my brush stroke to change with the pressure of my tablet pen. What that means is: the harder I press down with the pen, the thicker the line.

Here you can see where I have made a couple dark lines and varied their width by pressing harder or lighter as I drew them. At first I wasn't sure if I could get comfortable with this feature or would even have a use for it, but it has made line work so much easier and now I can't live without it. You can set tons of additional variables, such as changing the color of your line as you tilt the pen or roll it in your hand, but I find that one effect is enough to keep track of.

Now, back to the Mothman drawing!

What I've done here is to take my pencil drawings and put them on a single layer above my background, then alter the opacity of that layer so that I can see the background underneath. This helps me make sure that the characters are placed properly on the background, and from here I essentially just trace my pencil lines with the brush tool, putting the new lines on their own layer.

You can see how I just trace the image. Typically I do line work first, but I decided to do this drawing in a way that uses as little outlines as possible; sort of a Samurai Jack style. So instead of the dark outline you see above, I'll be drawing colored shapes and then filling them in. So just to emphasize, the black outlines you see here are to demonstrate how I outline shapes with the brush tool and are not part of the final drawing.

In this image I have most of the Mothman's body drawn in, and you can see how it's basically just a big coloring book. I used the pencil drawings as guides to draw all the shapes in, and I picked the color of each shape as I came to it. The Mothman's flannel shirt I created by drawing horizontal and vertical stripes on different layers, then making the layers slightly transparent.

I like to mess around with my colors until I get them exactly how I want them, so let's say that as I'm filling in the red of Mothman's eye I decide that the color is too dark. I would then just select that shape and lighten or darken it, change its hue, etc, until I'm happy with it.

Once I completed all the colored shapes for the entire drawing, I created a new layer and added in minimal line work to help distinguish certain shapes and make the drawing less confusing.

Here's a portion of the drawing before and after line work. Another thing you might notice here is that I lightened the part of the girl's dress where there is no body underneath, which silhouettes her legs and makes it seem as if light is shining through the fabric.

Again, this drawing is a special case because of the style it's in, and when I do "normal" pieces where everything is outlined I do the line work first and then the coloring second, on a layer below the lines.

This is a full view of the piece after all the colors and line work are completed. You can also see that I have some text in there, which I created by using the text tool and then distorting it so that it conforms to the truck door. The text on the "Welocme to West Virginia" sign I drew by hand because that was easier and more accurate than trying to match the font!



dylanio21 said...

Wow, Samurai Jack being mentioned made this post.
I could have got Season 1 on DVD and didn't last month and now live in regret.
It's okay though.
I love this piece and the instructions.
Can't wait to hit the board after part 5.

Osvaldo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Osvaldo said...

It's so interesting to me. I think you would make a video about the use of the tablet for an Artwork.
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