I haven't done a tutorial in a long time so I thought I'd share some of the newer Photoshop tricks and techniques that I've learned lately. Here's a piece that I did for the Illustration for Kids February promotional mailer.
For this image, I knew I wanted to make two love birds so I downloaded a bunch of reference photos of love birds and created a rough pencil drawing.
It was pretty messy, so I redrew it on tracing paper.
I scanned the pencil drawing of the birds into Photoshop and cut and pasted it into a new photoshop document, making sure this new file was the size of the final artwork and in RGB color mode. I made sure I included all the necessary bleeds, so there weren't any surprises later.
Then I created the heart shape in Adobe Illustrator and cut and pasted (paste as pixels) into the Photoshop file. Then I erased the parts of the heart that should be hidden by the birds. I also sketched in the rest of the leaves on the end of the branch.
For this illustration, I wanted everything in the image outlined in a grainy pencil line. To do that I could have created a new layer in Photoshop and traced the image using the brush tool, but I haven't found a pencil brush in Photoshop that I'm completely happy with. So I decided to print the image out on drawing paper and trace it with a soft graphite pencil. But before I did that, I made some modifications to the image.
I selected the layer with the birds and clicked on Image->Adjustment->Levels. I then adjusted the level sliders in order to make the whites whiter and the pencil lines darker.
Next, I wanted to make the whole image a pale blue color, sort of like a non-photo blue pencil. To do this I made sure I was on the topmost layer of the file and I created a new "Hue/Saturation" adjustment layer. In the Adjustments window I checked the "Colorize" check box and moved the hue slider to a cyan blue color and increased the Saturation and Lightness until I was happy with the results.
Next I stuck a sheet of Strathmore drawing paper in my inkjet printer and printed the image. I then traced over it with at 4B pencil.
Then I scanned it back into Photoshop, adjusting the Levels as needed to make the whites white and the darks dark. It wasn't bad, but I had a few places where I didn't follow the lines exactly so I had some light blue lines showing through.
In order to get rid of these blue lines I went the the "Channels" window. By default Photoshop makes all three color channels visible (red, green and blue) By clicking on the little eyeballs next to each channel I could turn each one on and off. I could see that the blue lines show up much more on the red channel but not so much on the green and blue channels. I took advantage of that to get rid of those pesky blue lines.
To do so, I clicked on the blue channel while holding down the CTRL key. This selected everything in the blue channel, actually this selected all the white areas in the blue channel. By clicking on Select->Inverse I was able to select all the dark parts. Then I created a new layer in my file, made sure my foreground color was black and press ALT-Backspace to fill the selection. Tada! now I have a new layer that is just my pencils lines an nothing else.
Phew! I think this is a good place to stop for now. Next time I'll go over how I colored the artwork.
Because everyone and their brother makes a New Year's resolution to read more (yours truly included), here's something to help you out: a bookmark tutorial.
You'll need cardboard (I used a leftover mailer), paint, a paintbrush, a pen and scissors.
Trace the template onto your cardboard (full size = about 1 3/4 by 4 inches). Cut out, then carefully make a slit for both arms, slightly rounding out the hands once free. After you've cut out the figure, fill in features with a pen and add accents with paint. Let dry.
To use, place arms over the page you want to mark, slipping the body a few pages behind. Happy Reading!
I am in a lull.
A quiet spot.
No deadlines. Yet. Oh, they are coming, just as soon as contracts get signed and I could start acting like I have a deadline. But I know the deadlines are fake and can’t quite commit to them.
So, I am in a lull.
What am I doing?
- Build Platform. I am doing the behind the scenes work on my blog, and enjoying the luxury of reading other blogs and commenting on them. It’s always good to participate in the online community of writers, but deadlines mean it is more restricted. So–point me to one of your best blog posts in the last 30 days and I’ll read it!
- Read or study tutorials.
On the topic of Facebook, I’ve been fascinated by THE LIKE ECONOMY: How Businesses Make Money with Facebook by Brian Carter. Did you know that there’s such a thing as the EdgeRank Algorithm? When you have a Fan Page, only about 17% of your fans see your posts because of this Algorithm. Basically, Facebook decides how to prioritize what a person sees on FB by using a complicated math formula that takes into account the type of post (text, photo, video), the frequency of interactions with that page or person before (you see your BFF’s posts on top always, but others drop off because you don’t care about them as much) and how long it’s been since you interacted with them on Facebook. See more from Brian Carter about EdgeRanks here. After reading through his book, I am thinking and evaluating where to put my efforts for the next year.
- Plan Ahead. I am trying to read the crystal ball and decide where to put efforts right now. There are always blog posts to write, new manuscripts to write. What should I be doing TODAY? By anticipating deadlines, I can work now to get blog posts written, formatted and scheduled for publishing. So often, planning events, school visits, etc. mean lots of emailing, calling, reading material and making decisions, etc.–trying to take care of the details of future events.
- Try something new. It’s also important for me to try something new and fresh and different during this time period. I want to visit the local art center, try some online advertising, visit a friend who just needs a warm body to listen.
Bug those involved with the forthcoming projects with endless emails demanding attention.. Work on my work and Be Patient. Work on projects that I like, whether they have commercial possibilities or not. And check my email every other minute for emails about those forthcoming projects. And wait patiently for the forthcoming projects to mature.