I decided to see if I could squeeze in one more drawing this month. [caption width="360" align="alignnone"] I think I will call this "The Fly of Time."[/caption] I think this was kind of sort of inspired by the latest trailer for "Alice Through The Looking Glass," but I wasn't really consciously thinking of it when I started drawing. I was just thinking about what it would be like to have one really big giant eye. A really big giant clock for an eye. I did the pencil sketch in Sketch Club on my iPad, then imported that into Concepts. I love Sketch Club for sketching quick pieces but also for more involved digital painting. I'm thinking that sometime in the next couple months I may do a painting challenge. Meanwhile I'm looking ahead to next month's challenge. I've decided that for December the challenge will be "Krampus." I want to do a series of projects related to Krampus - drawings, Krampus cards, ornaments for my personal Krampus tree, and maybe a few Krampus related gifts. I'll be crocheting, doing computer graphics, sewing, and who knows what else. We'll find out next month!
I did it!! I managed to clean up the Victorian Mermaiden this morning! [caption id="attachment_3622" align="alignnone" width="400"] Oooooh, so cleaned up and pretty![/caption] It took a few hours of work, but I think I managed to make this look really nice! I created a custom brush stroke to use on the inking lines, and then had to fiddle with the settings for a while to get a stroke that wasn't too thick. It helped that I scaled the drawing up by 250%, but was able to keep the stroke width of the inking from scaling up with it! See the difference between the before and after images! [caption id="attachment_3623" align="alignnone" width="400"] No line variation, just thick heavy clunky lines![/caption] [caption id="attachment_3624" align="alignnone" width="400"] MUCH better! The lines look like ink strokes, and the colors look nicer too![/caption] I spent a lot of time playing with the colors. The background frame really gave me trouble. The original colors were way too dark, but I wanted to have a strong contrast between the frame and the mermaiden. So when the dark colors weren't working, I went in the opposite direction. Lightening up the frame made a huge difference! I still want to add a few touches to the background frame, but this one is pretty close to done. Yay!
I had really hoped to show you all a final cleaned up version of the Victorian Mermaiden I've been working on. I exported it as an SVG file from Concepts last night, and opened it up in Corel Draw this morning to work on it. It was definitely an SVG file, and I was happy to see that all my layers had made the transfer with the names I gave them intact (it makes it so much easier to sort through all the vector objects in the drawing to find that one line or fill that needs a bit of tweaking. I spent about an hour working on it before I realized a couple things. First, the airbrush dots I had drawn on the tentacles were now hard-edged circles. Fuzzy edge all gone! And second, the variation in the ink lines was gone too! [caption id="attachment_3619" align="alignnone" width="400"] DAGNABBIT! Where did all my pretty inking go?![/caption] As you can see from this snippet, the lines are now all regular width. Some lines are thinner than others, but I can't adjust the width on any of the lines to get a variable width. Unless... Corel Draw does have "natural media" tools. These are vector brushes that use a vector shape to stretch along a path. If you create a vector shape of a lopsided circle, for example, then turn that into a brush shape, when you apply that brush shape to a vector path, the lopsided circle will be stretched along the entire length of the path, giving the path the appearance of a variable width. You can use all sorts of shapes, with all sorts of colors, to make natural media brushes for Corel Draw. I played with a few of the brushes that come with Corel Draw's library, but couldn't find one that worked exactly the way I wanted it to. They were all either too fat in the center (which won't work for the shorter line segments), or too squared off at the ends (I want tapered ends, like I had when I originally inked this this drawing in Concepts). So what I plan to do tomorrow is spend some time playing with Corel Draw to see if I can make a custom brush that will work for ALL the ink lines. Like I said earlier, the SVG of this drawing opened up in Corel Draw with all the layers intact as I had set them up. So there's one layer that has all the ink lines in it. If I can set up a brush that will work, it will then just be a simple matter of selecting all the ink lines in that layer and applying the brush to them. Quick and easy! I may contact Top Hatch (the company that makes the Concepts app) as well, and see what they say. Mayber there's another update in the works that will fix this. But for now, I'm going to bed. We'll see if I can solve this issue tomorrow.
So today I realized I had done as much as I coud with the Victorian Mermaiden drawing on my iPad... [caption width="640" align="alignnone"] Looks good! But it needs some cleaning up.[/caption] I know I've done as much as I can because I hit the point where all I was doing today was playing around with the colors on the background frame. I honestly don't feel like I need to add anything at this point, but I do want to clean it up bit. There are some spots where the lines overlap a bit, and some spots where a line or bit of colored area needs to be nudged just a bit to one side or the other. And I want to play with the colors just a little bit more. Maybe make the background colors darker, or much lighter, or add a bit of gradient. Very little things, really. So at the end of this evening, I exported the image as an SVG file and emailed it to myself. I haven't opened that up yet, because I know once I do that, I'm going to want to spend hours on it, and hours on the Pirate Queen image as well. Since I don't have to be anywhere or do anything over the Thanksgiving holidays, I'll have plenty of time to play with both images then. But for right now, this image is as done as I can get it. Hopefully tomorrow night I'll have one image or the other cleaned up and can show you something final. But right now, I'm going to bed!
[caption width="640" align="alignnone"] It's amazing what a spot of color can do![/caption] I had fun with this one today. I got the tentacles colored in and then I decided to add spots, similar to the ones on the images of octopi that I looked at for my color references. I used Concepts airbrush tool to make the blue spots first. The airbrush tool gives a fuzzy faded edge to the stroke, which I liked. I just dabbed on the spots here and there, changing the stroke size as I went to get some variety. Then I went back with the filled stroke tool again and drew in the dark pinkish spots over the blue ones. That pink is actually the hot orange I've been using, but with the opacity set to about 35%. Everything else in the drawing is so crisp with flat colors, I wanted the spots to be a little different. After working on this mermaid for a while, I switched back to work on this one... [caption width="640" align="alignnone"] Still not finished with the hair yet![/caption] No, I still havent finished her hair yet, but I have spent a lot of time on it. Each one of those dark red swirls is drawn by hand, all of them carefully fitted together to give the hair what I hope is a sense of motion. I expect it's going to be another couple of days before I get this hair done, and then I have to think about what I'm going to do with the dress//tentacles! I really haven't thought about that one. I do want it to have some decoration, but I'm not sure I'll have the energy left to do anything with the dress/tentacles after finishing the hair. I'll figure something out, though. This is coming along too nicely for me to not give that dress/tentacles some love and affection :)
[caption width="640" align="alignnone"] Just keep coloring, just keep coloring...[/caption] Slowly but surely, inch by bloody inch, this piece is getting done. And that's how it is with every piece of art - every drawing, every painting, every crochet project, every story, every novel... They all get done a little at a time until suddenly you're done. And then you look around and go, "Now what?" It's the "Now what?" part that always gets me. I made a beautiful drawing. Now what do I do with it? Seriously, I need to do something with all this artwork, just like I need to do something with all the crochet I did last month, and all the polymer clay charms I did last summer. I know I could open an Etsy shop, or post stuff on Society 6 or Zazzle, but for some reason, I never get around to it. Maybe that should be January's creative challenge. "Now what? Sell it!" What do you think?
[caption width="640" align="alignnone"] How would you color a Victorian Mermaiden?[/caption] When I first started working on this drawing in Adobe Illustrator Draw, I went with a very different color scheme - muted pinks and greens. But I've been using those colors a lot lately, so I decided to change things up for the second go around. For inspiration, I looked at images of octopi. A lot of the images I saw had a lot of oranges, hot blues, maroons and purples, and occasionally some bright golden yellows. I played with that for a while and came up with a color scheme I think will work - dark reddish browns, primrose yellows, bright aquas, and dark oranges. I think it works, but I'm still working out how I'll use those colors throughout the entire drawing. One thing that will help is Concepts color wheel. Concepts uses Copic colors. When you select a color, it will also show a list of different shades or tints of that color. In the image above, you can see the all the shades and tints for the dark reddish brown I chose. I'm using the lightest shade of thatfor the ruffled trim on the dress, and I used two other shades of that for the top hat. I'm doing the same with the other colors as well, and it seems to be working out. So I'll keep working at the colors on this one. I'm still working on the other mermaid, the one with all the long flowing red hair. That hair is just killing me, but I'm determined to get it done. And I've got the Pirate Queen set up as an SVG file, so I think the last week of this month, I'm going to take that drawing and any others I've finished and clean them up then post them someplace where people can get prints. I'm thinking maybe Society 6 for these, although I could also set them up as shirts on Threadless or cards and other items on Zazzle. I don't really know yet. I'll figure it out, and let you know.
Ta-daa! Patricia colored my beat up old robot not once, but twice! First, there's this guy... [caption width="348" align="alignnone"] "But how do you KNOW you're not the droid we're looking for?"[/caption] And then there's this guy! [caption width="363" align="alignnone"] It's a robot on acid![/caption] I can't decide which one I like better. I do know that I love the extra bits of drawing that Patricia added, and now I want her to color ALL my drawings! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ahem... Anyhoo, I did more work today on the Victorian Mermaiden, not to be confused with tthe other mermaids I've been working on. How many mermaids did I start this month? And at least one other is still in progress, but she has soooooooo much hair! But this is the Victorian Mermaiden, all inked. [caption width="640" align="alignnone"] What lovely inks you have, my dear![/caption] I love how the lines came out on this one. I used the snapping option and the arc tool in some places to draw parts of the tentacles. I love that I can easily switch back and forth between precision and free-hand drawing in Concepts. I plan to start coloring this one tomorrow. I have another potential coloring page in the works, but I'm not ready to share it just yet. It's going to be something a little more elaborate, but as soon as I have it ready, I'll let you all know!
One of the reasons I've spent so much time working with Concepts this month is because I've been looking for a replacement app for Adobe Ideas. Adobe replaced Adobe Ideas with Adobe Illustrator Draw, which is very nice for drawing with, but... I cannot export my work in any useable format. Adobe Ideas allowed users to export their drawings as a vector PDF, which could then be opened in Illustrator or almost any other desktop vector program. Adobe Illustrator Draw will only allow users to export drawings as low resolution PNGs. Unless you own a copy of Adobe Illustrator CC on your desktop. Then you can send Adobe Illustrator Draw images to CC and work on them there. Of course, that's assuming you have a copy of Adobe CC. Which I don't. The end result is that I have some drawings that were half-finished when Adobe made the switch from Ideas to Illustrator Draw. I wasn't worried initially about it, because Adobe said they would be adding the SVG or PDF export eventually. Well, it's been about a year since Adobe switched things over, and still no SVG/PDF export. So I am now exporting LOW RESOLUTION PNGS of my half-finished drawings in Adobe Illustrator Draw so I can re-start them (and FINISH them) in Concepts. And I have to say, the results are pretty good. [caption width="640" align="alignnone"] A lovely Victorian mermaiden![/caption] For this image, I was able to go back to the original sketch, done in Sketchbook Pro by Autodesk, and start from the beginning again with the inking and colors. And how does it compare with Adobe Illustrator Draw? Well, here's the unfinished drawing from that app. [caption width="640" align="alignnone"] Old Victorian Mermaiden[/caption] I actually think the inking looks better in the Concepts app. There's more line variation, and I have more control over each individual line. Plus Concepts has a text tool, which is a nice thing to have! I got back some images of the busted robot coloring page I did earlier this month. I should be posting those tomorrow. For now, I'm going to watch Doctor Who and relax for the rest of the evening.