I thought I would screen capture some of the drawing process for the recent work I have been doing. Some people when you mention ‘digital’ or ‘photoshop’ get the wrong impression and seem to think that the work comes from someone else ( clip art?? yuk? ) or the computer does it, or something! So here I’ve tried to put up a bit of insight for Peopel who don’t use digital art programs/ apps . I’m sure photoshop regulars will find this all very crude, I’m self taught ( as are most of us in this field ) and am still learning new tricks every time.
So, my Eldest daughter has pet Ferrets, here she is from the recent festive trip home, pictured with ‘Fizzy’ who is getting on a bit now & rather tame & cuddly. I thought it would be nice to do a ferret design in the same style of the recent owls, foxes & skulls.
first step is to sketch the sort of shape i want, look at lots of ferret pictures and rough out some outlines – in photoshop. Some doodles are on the back of envelopes if i am not near the computer, but it is just easier to start digitally from the beginning.
You can see how sketchy and rough this is, the feathered lines is me pushing and pulling the shape where i want it. I wasn’t happy with the first one, so pluffed it up a bit.I then start a new layer, for non PS ( photoshop ) users, imagine drawing on layers of tracing paper, it saves you having to rub out the sketch lines you no longer need, you just make invisible whatever you are not using. In this new layer I start work on a single neat linear outline, over the green sketch. It starts quite rough. I sometimes use a circle tool to draw around to get nice curves. The one problem with drawing digitally, is that you cannot turn the paper to suit the flow of the wrist to draw curves.
I use some PS cleverness to smooth the lines once i have them where i want them. Basically I select the line art, create a ‘path’ and ‘fill path’ to save me manually zooming in and smoothing every edge.This Ferret took a few sessions, because everything was hectic with xmas preparations. I wanted a neutral flat background colour, so popped in a grey fill with only a small amount of shading. I will either use a different colour brush for shade & tone or the ‘dodge’ ( lightening ) and ‘burn’ ( darkening ) tool, depending on the colour & what i’m looking to achieve. The eye colour was on a top layer so any other effects of drawing won’t change them.
a few rough scribbles for the pattern to work out what overall shapes I want. in a separate layer, everything is always in a separate layer! so many disasters when i’ve ruined something by working in the wrong layer & have to start from scratch.
Next the fun part, a few hours doodling & pattern making. I’m not looking at references or patterns when i do this, i’ve done years of patterns & decorative development work in sketchbooks, so i just let them all out without too much thought for something like this. The colour palette also, is just what a fancy at the time, working it up one colour at a time. Having Fun.When this is all finished, i do some messing about with hue, saturation, & overlay colours to get some colour variations. Save in various formats & upload it to my facebook page, twitter & the redbubble shop– where it is turned into lovely products for people to buy. I then have a little artist wobble & think ” Oh no! what’s the point, nobody likes my work, no-one buys it, its all so hopeless”, then i remember to tell that part of the brain to shut up & start something new. Maybe a highland cow? or a Hare? or throw some pots? or some celtic tattoo designs or ? …the important thing is to just keep doing it & not get dragged into the sticky thought bog or why and what for ! Creating is always a leap of faith, worrying about paying the bills or if other people will like it is the fastest route to ‘artists block’ there is.