Hi all. I wanted to share a few experiments from the past weekend. There is always more to learn and practice to become a better illustrator or artist. I decided to take the weekend and play with some techniques that are out of my wheelhouse, but that I always wanted to learn. The first is the process of "inking" an illustration and the control of line weight. And second is how to "paint" in Photoshop.

I have a few comic book friends (like brent) and whenever I see their art I'm always completely amazed at how good their inking, or outlining, skills are. Every line starts and ends perfectly, moving from thin to thick and in a controlled way. The type of control that comes from 100s of hours of practice. I rediscovered the book, The Art Of Comic-Book Inking, on my shelf and decided to give it a read and start practicing. The first pic is my attempt at practicing line weight with my old Pigma Brush Pen. My lines are so wiggly! I have a long way to go, but it was nice to see after a while my lines getting a little more controlled. But, wow, what a difficult skill. Definitely something I want to work on though. The second pic is a kitty drawing attempt after practicing a bit.

The painting in Photoshop skill was always a bit of a mystery to me. I have an ancient 4"x5" Wacom tablet (that I think is over 10 years old, like this one) where I can control pen pressure when I'm in Photoshop. Controlling pen pressure always allowed me to make thick and thin lines in Photoshop, but not mix colors on the fly. So after some interweb searching and video watching I discovered that to mix the colors together really easily, I should set my Wacom brush tool so that the opacity changes with my pen pressure (and not the line weight). What a simple concept! After that it was super easy to blend colors. Just have a color already painted, then pick another color and paint on top of the first color. By controlling the opacity you can control the new color that's mixed from the first two. I decided to test this new painting method with a drawing of a jade plant that I drew (on actual paper with an actual pencil). I took a pic of the drawing with my phone and emailed it to myself (too lazy to scan it) then brought it into Photoshop. I also uploaded a piece of tan paper for my background layer. Next I picked a color palette to work with. I chose some pinks and greens. To make all the colors of the painting mesh well together I wanted every color in the painting to be made from mixing the pinks and greens together. You can see me mixing colors in the 4th pic on the right. When I was done painting I tweaked the colors a tiny bit so that everything was a little more pink. Then for fun I uploaded the finished piece to Society6. I think I just like seeing how things look on an iphone case. :-)

So that was my weekend of experimenting. It was so exciting and fulfilling to learn a couple of new-to-me techniques. I definitely want to keep going with both. I'd love to hear about any of your experiences in learning a new technique or experimenting with a new idea. Please share!


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