Posts Tagged ‘Photoshop’

I will start writing again next month. I’ve found myself some time by stopping counselling young people and running drug and alcohol group work. All really fulfilling activities and worthwhile in terms of outcomes, which I’ve done for the last 13 years. But I don’t believe in an afterlife and there are only so many hours in this one! So I really want to spend more time writing and illustrating and that is what I shall be doing with the time I’ve freed up.

I’ve sold many articles, stories, novels (and puzzles and brochures) over the years. It’s something I can do. It just got pushed out by the editing and proofreading, both of which bring in a more reliable income. So, encouraged by last year’s win in a short story competition and the knowledge that I know how to write and sell, I’m embarking on bringing together some threads. I shall write about or for children and young people – perhaps articles to pitch to magazines and newspapers, as before (but specialising in my more recent experiences professionally) or stories that are either real or fantastic but contain an emotional or mental health truth. As indeed all stories must. These will also be inspired by the needs of young people I’ve met over the years.

It feels like a plan. But in this month of ‘not working much’ (by intention – some people have foreign holidays!), I’ve designed two book covers for two slightly updated fairy tales. One goat is a girl, so no “Billy” in the title! And the Pied Piper is a girl – plus the person refusing to pay her is a business man. I enjoyed drawing and painting the components in watercolour, and also used Procreate App and Photoshop to assemble them. Maybe I’ll write the stories too!

two fairy tale covers

 

Thought I’d illustrate a hypothetical article about circuses! A sort of circle image with alterations. I did basic pen work first and scanned that in to finish off in colour digitally in Photoshop.

Then I went back to the pen version, which is on Bristol board, and finished it off with more pen. Still toying with the idea of adding watercolour on top for a third version, but maybe not… not enough hours in the day as it is! So here are just two versions.

Not sure which I prefer. It would be interesting to know if you have a preference. But I don’t suppose you have enough hours in your day either!

circus colour

pen circus

 

I really love reading articles. I just so wish I still had time to write and submit. I used to really enjoy the challenges and the successes – and learn from the defeats. Now I am bogged down in editing and proofreading. I enjoy that in a different way. It probably appeals to the little bit of OCD in me 🙂

Anyway, I’ve read a lot this year about the organisation called Birthrights. They seem to have been featured in may publications, probably because there is always a story about a woman who has been poorly treated in pregnancy. (You do seem to lose a lot of control and a lot of basic human rights when pregnant.) And perhaps also because their CEO, Rebecca Schiller, is a good writer and passionate about the cause.

Anyway, I was inspired to create an image that for me sums up the facts of often being sidelined or even completely shut out of the decision-making process when pregnant.

I sketched my own pregnant lady, stylising her and patterning her in both pink and blue (how trad!) in Illustrator including indicating the baby. I imagined the relevant human rights being showered down – so for this I used one of my own photos of a fountain at a famous garden I had visited.  I then drew a maze in graphite and coloured it digitally, and added some sea for it to float on, from another of my own photos. The chain is one of the brushes in Clip Studio Paint. Add a common or garden padlock and that bit was done. (I passed the image into CSP for the chain, but otherwise worked in Photoshop.) I hope you like it.

human-rights-matter-for-pregnant-women

 

I often try to draw the same character doing different things. Keeping the style, keeping the character recognisable: it’s all grist to the mill in children’s illustration.

I thought of these two kids last week and drew the first image out in ink. I used permanent ink for the characters and soluble ink for the background – I wanted to keep the focus on the characters, who would be coloured, and leave the background as monotone after some moving around of the soluble ink for shading. The digital work was done in Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint – I just love the blending brush in CSP and often choose to colour there too, leaving any initial cleaning up of scanned line work and the post-processing manipulation for PS.

When I had done both images, as an afterthought, I made the background of the first one look cooler as it was outside, and the background of the other look warmer as it was inside. And I double-checked they were dressed in the same clothes here – although in the course of a book this might not be so.

I think probably they go better in reverse order actually – they have a lovely shared natter and then he bids her farewell on the doorstep and goes home! The third image shows the sequence all together: ringing to ask to come round, sharing together in the warmth, and saying goodbye.

friends

friends-sequence

Lots of illustrators’ sites have a few pieces labelled ‘personal project’ and I suppose everything I have ever done has been that. I mean, we all choose what to write, what to draw, what to paint – until someone commissions us to do it for a price, that is!

Well, while waiting for that lucky break, I decided to do a set of images in the same style. Just because. I suppose I had in mind that I wanted to pitch an article to a particular magazine. I still intend doing so, and they won’t want my images because they’re not in their house style. But it did set me off thinking how I might illustrate such an article if the style choice were mine. And this is the result.

active-kids

I drew in HB on cartridge paper in my sketch book, scanned in the images, locked the unused pixels and painted the lines whichever colour I wanted, and then added some colouring and some photo-image backgrounds blended in. Do they look like a set? I gave them all a light source and something coming out of the frame, plus the frame in a frame as if watching. And the hand-drawn look, of course.

I chose air, water and fire as my topics: taking one’s children out to a dark place to inspect the stars; investigating how quickly a hot drink cools (I decided against adding a graph into the image but you would record the results over time); and cooking dampers on a campfire in the garden (not on a modern barbecue!) for which they had gathered the twigs and wood to do so. These are not things many urban kids do these days.

Yes, I know I should be editing. Or writing. Or cleaning. Or exercising. But I have done all those things today and wanted to invent something nice.

I found a print of a tree I shot many years ago. It was a photo, developed in my dark room cellar and later photocopied on an ancient mono machine.This gave it the texture you see here and I brought it into Photoshop and added the green background one day recently when I was playing around.

After that, it sat on my hard drive till this week, when I added some pelicans. I grabbed the image from a seascape photo by Yair Hazout at www.unsplash.com (where you can get and use hi-res photos free of charge). I cut out his pelican and made three of them, layering each of them once or twice with different blend modes.

Then I brought in a guy I found in the support materials of Manga Studio 5 – now called Clip Studio Paint – and layered him in too. The moon I pulled in from a children’s illustration I did a few weeks ago (you can find it in my portfolio here) because I hate to waste a good bit of art! And then I used a KyleTWebster splatter brush to fling a bit of paint around!

But I’m a writer, you say? OK, so I invented a haiku to go with it while doing the aforesaid exercise (a drippy walk in the rain). It’s a pretty naff poem but I hope you like the image!

screenshot pelicans

sharp eyes

 

 

 

Don’t worry, I’m still doing children’s art and writing. It’s just that I recently shot my lovely spelter statue of Waverley and, since someone in days of yore painted it black to look more posh (spelter was apparently for poor people!), it made a nice silhouette, complete with dust. Who needs to add noise to a photo when they don’t dust their ornaments??

So I collaged and grunged it a bit and this is the result. Hope you like it. The first version didn’t have a window, but I think it now has more depth and perhaps a story.

This collage/layering business – art-ing up your photos – is very enticing, although, as a former keen photographer, I do know it doesn’t mean you stop trying to take decent photos. Just that you have another purpose in mind when shooting. Like silhouetting my beloved Waverley and his dusty coat to revamp him in a mysterious place!

waverley grunge v4