Some illustrations, created using Photoshop CS6 a combination of image composits and digital painting using Photoshop’s mixer brushes and pressure sensitive settings for Intuos 4 tablet. I also used Illustrator for some of the splatter effects.
The ocean spray was created using a simple custom-made Photoshop brush, set to scatter in brush settings. Both the tail and mane were hand painted using Photoshop mixer brushes, set to Wet: 1%, Load: between 50% – 100%, Mix: 3%, Flow: alternated between 10% – 100% by using the shortcut keys Shift 1 = 10%, Shift 5 = 50%, Shift 0 = 100%, etc.
For the detailing around the heart shape I used a custom scatter brush made in Illustrator, then imported into Photoshop where I then added various layer effects (bevel and emboss, outer glow). Much of the detailing in the water and on the swan are painted using mixer brushes.
The water droplets were created in Photoshop, hand painted, then applied layer effects: bevel/emboss, inner glow and inner shadows. I used the Liquify filter to smudge a few of the droplets to make them appear as though the water is dripping down.
Most of the dragon was painted in Photoshop, although the pattern on its back was made using a snake texture which I afterwards painted and colorized. The pattern around the text was made in Illustrator using vector shapes and pen tool, then imported back into the main Photoshop file. The sparkles are a simple custom-made Photoshop brush set to scatter, with outer glow applied.
The kelp, background plants and coral on the far left (behind kelp), and also the distant mountains were painted in Photoshop. The spray is a custom made Photoshop brush set to scatter. The dolphin is made with multiple composit pieces, then painted and distorted using Photoshop warp tool and Liquify filter.
Feather details painted using Photoshop mixer brushes, some of the details on the boat created using custom pattern brush made in Illustrator. The fine spray on water is a custom-made Photoshop brush set to scatter, then afterwards I added blur and outer glow effects.
Monkey compiled using multiple images, then altered using warp transform and Liquify filter. Afterwards the fur was hand painted using mixer brushes. Detailing around text is a custom-made Illustrator scatter brush, then imported back into Photoshop where I then added layer effects: gradient overlay, outer glow, etc.
Combination of composited images, then hand painted using an array of Photoshop mixer brushes. I also use the regular brush, but I find that the mixer brush is more subtle for mixing colors and when adding very small soft lines.
Much of the cat’s fur, especially around the edges are hand painted. When extracting images, fine fur details are lost. I used to try to replace these using Mask refinements and selective channel masking. But recently I find that painting back these details creates much better results. The sparks are custom brushes set to scatter, with outer glow effects added. Lighting effects are achieved using a combination of Blending modes and layer masking, and also selective dodging and burning.
I’ve been practicing my digital painting in Photoshop. Usually my art is made with bits and pieces of digital images but for this one I did the girl’s face, hair and body from scratch with painting. Afterwards I added some digital pieces to complete the background. But I’ve been wanting to spend more time mastering the brushes, especially all the new brushes in CS5. This one took about the same amount of time as the other method. I didn’t use any model or reference material so had to spend a lot of time really thinking about where the shadows, highlights and contours should be put down. But considering I haven’t spent a lot of time painting from scratch, I’m satisfied with this effort.
I created the hair by using a brush set to scatter and painted it using a Wacom tablet and the Art Pen that allows rotation, tilt and pen pressure. It would have been a lot more difficult or impossible to do it with a mouse. But I’m having a few problems with the stylus. When I set the brush to soft, it sometimes continues to lay down very sharp edged strokes. And with the mouse I can click and then shift / click to create a straight line, but when using the art pen the shift doesn’t respond the same way. A bit frustrating.
The reason I’m putting in the time is that I’m working on another children’s book that features a dragon. I’m used to doing single spreads of an animal / creature, but this is the first time that it will be repeated throughout all the pages, in different perspectives and poses. For some reason I ran into some difficulty creating one that I’d be able to recreate in all the varioius poses. I have to resort to a lot of painting from scratch, so I’ve been spending time practicing, trying to improve my skill level and get over the initial hurdle …
It’s been ages since I’ve created a piece of art for my myself. The joy of being able to allow the creation process to go in whatever direction it wants to take, not knowing what the end result will be is a very pleasant process. It is one of the most enjoyable things to do.
Between teaching and working on art for another children’s book. Always so busy that I rarely get time to just immerse myself into free form digital art. This piece took about 100 hours to complete. It is a combination of compositing and painting in Photoshop.
Dragons of Asgard book cover design
Finished the book cover
There’s a great satisfaction finishing and delivering a piece of art. After labouring a long time then finally reaching the finish line, it’s like a marathon completed. I’m usually exhausted afterwards, needing time to replenish my creative energy. This book is currently being published and should be available to the public within 2 months. The author is Scott Waring, a writer and teacher currently living in Taiwan.
Combined with teaching and putting together the course lessons for an advanced combined Photoshop / Illustrator class that I’ll be teaching in April, and now overseeing student practicum placements and teaching Illustrator, I’ve had my hands full. But with computers come technical disruptions, which can waste huge chunks of valuable time and add a lot of stress worrying about lost data.
Computer Wouldn’t Boot
Today was one of those dreadful days. I’m not a techy person. This afternoon my computer suddenly wouldn’t boot. It gave me an error message “Reboot or Select Boot Device”, and even after numerous tries it wouldn’t reboot. For those of you who are tech savy you might be smiling, but for me this presented a major time-wasting hurdle. I searched pages of Google forums but could only find a few cryptic nuggets that addressed the issue.
I exhausted the few tricks in my limited arsenal, pressing F8 didn’t help, pressing Ctrl 4 no luck, then I finally saw some small “Del” in the bottom right hand corner of my screen, so tried pressing Delete. This took me to a Menu deep inside the bowels of my computer where I could only use the up and down arrows to scroll through unfriendly-looking tabs until I came to one that said “Boot”. I managed to reset the main Boot drive to my main hard drive. But that in itself was no easy feat because the main hard drive is referred to as PM-WDC WD1200 JB-00 in this menu. Now tell me people, who would have guessed that this number refers to a main hard drive?!! This set me back to Google, where I entered this string of numbers and finally saw something referring to it as a main hard drive.
I decided to live dangerously and try altering the settings to choose this as the main boot drive.
Thought I’d Lost My Data
During those 2 stressful hours I was making a mental note of all the data I’d lose if I couldn’t get the computer to reboot. Although I’d done a recent back up, I hadn’t backed up my Outlook emails where I have all my client and student correspondence including email addresses, correspondence with clients outlining job specs and criteria, plus a lot of other little gems that I’d stored, such as bookmarks to other artists’ websites, etc..
It was a huge relief when my computer finally booted properly. I’m telling this woeful story so that if another unfortunate soul googles those fateful keywords, they might stumble across my blog entry and find the solution. During my google search I saw many others pleading for help with the same issue.
Note to self … first thing tomorrow … must back up email and other miscellaneous gems 🙂
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Another In The Valentines Series
Valentines Card Project Continues
This is the second Valentines card, there will be one more in the series … at the moment it’s still a glimmer in my imagination. I will likely begin working on it today. Cards have been commissioned by Flattenme and will soon be available on their website http://www.flattenme.com, which is currently being revamped. Their personalized children’s books will soon be available in 7 different languages.
The cards are personalized and customers can upload a photo of their child’s face which will be inseerted into the card. A personalized message will be placed inside. Very sweet.
This one took several days to complete. I do both boy and girl versions of each card, plus design the inside. At first I submitted the version below, but a revision of the background was requested because the client thought it looked like “a slick West Palm Beach” and not warm hearted enough 🙂 Up here in Canada where I live, I guess I didn’t realize it would be interpreted this way. A good learning experience … after all, perception is everything. The client was also concerned that the face was at an angle which might confuse customers because the images of their child that they submit would usually be a straight on shot. It was interesting to compare both versions. Any comments welcome 🙂
Earlier Version – Revised Version Above