Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sharpie Meets Photoshop

It is raining right now and it makes me want to write something with a lit candle on my table. But there is no room on my desk for anything else. There are layers of other things for me to do but I must write. All I can hear is the water splashing down from the scuppers and some Vivaldi.  This week I did some more drawing on the buff paper at the light table. Can't really say what I am working on yet but I can talk about process.

This process is evolving.  I always like to start off tracing the basic buildings and layout by hand first on the light table. Once I have architectural improvements nailed down in pencil, I take out a thick sharpie and hand trace very slowly.  See how the corners are perfectly 90 degrees?  Some like to over cross the corners to make it look sketchier but it is just too fussy for me.  The basic outline of anything is called profiling.  The lines inside the profile should be drawn with a lighter pen weight. See the parallel parking space how nice they look with a thinner weight.

I leave out text and arrows on purpose.  Writing the text by hand is like wearing a linen suit for an interview. It will look rumpled and too casual.  Digital text on top of a hand drawn sketch is pretty close to Nirvana for me.  You dump a bucket of paint on a canvas and underneath add a digital font it is suddenly substantial.

This is my black metal flat file.  See how thin the drawers are? All my buff trace paper sketches live in here.  I have a lot of artwork from my babies in there too.  I need another flat file soon.  The rest of my outfit is pretty much turquoise, blue and green. No, I am not going out today.

To make the buildings really pop I tape on white paper to the back side.  I can't believe I am telling you these secrets!  For the street I taped on the cut out blackened street from the xerox I was tracing over.  Alas, I want the street to be darker than anything else.  A final treatment before I scan it into the computer is overlay the trace paper with chip board BEFORE photo copying.  Just before I photocopy I run out to the garage where I keep lots of card stock in 8 1/2x11 sheets and then I skip to the copier and lay them side by side on top of the buff trace paper.

My flat file and paint samples.

A little blow up to show you my latest evolution.  So you see the hand drawn that I scanned right?  After I scan the drawing I bring it into Photoshop.  I add the final make up to the drawing.  Make up is shadows and  like bright green accents to the trees.  I like how the shadows came out kind of not perfect here. I love how it came out Eric Carle style.  I needed to show vehicle flow and I didn't want to get arrows on google as clip art.  Clip art is a bad word.  So I totally free handed the red arrows in Photoshop.  I need to organize the layers though, I think I must have a million layers for each segment of arrow. Also, shadows need to be crisp and a little transparent, just like in the real world.

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