Hand-painted to Digital: The Process

I’m an old school paper, brushes, and paint gal. I’m pretty tech savvy and can hold my own with software, but digital art is a learning curve I’m still working to master. Imagine my delight when a client wanted a hand-painted header for her website! Be still my heart.

Everything was the same almost to the end when the header needed to be placed in its digital home. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at my process:

First, brainstorming ideas.

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Once we settled on an arrangement, I made the rough on vellum in pencil so we could move things around if needed. She wanted me to add ferns. 

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Then the fun stuff – choosing and mixing colors.

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Once the palette is approved the image is transferred onto paper, and I start painting. I like to work in small increments  – making a mistake means starting over, and I want to avoid that.

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When I’m not sure about an idea or stroke I’ll test it on the sidelines until I’m confident. I’ll play with a new idea and doodle with the paint until I find something I like. My clean palette looks like this by the end of the project.

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It’s exciting to see it come to life bit by bit! I work with like colors in the same sitting, if I can, for consistency.

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Sometimes things don’t go so smoothly.
See that extra piece of greenery top right? Directly below it I smudged the paint with my hand. Up top I re-recreated that section then used Photoshop magic to replace the smudged area with the clean version.

Once the original is finished, I erase all the pencil lines then scan it into the computer. My beast photographic scanner gives me super high resolution options to make sure details aren’t lost in the transfer. Then it’s time to remove the background paper in Photoshop. The aqua background is in place to illuminate any spots I might miss. (Yes, I am working upside down. I’ll also use my other hand when necessary to reach tight spots.)

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Once I’m happy it’s saved so we can add text.  And it’s a wrap!

Valentines 2013

When making last year’s Valentines I kept the theme “Love Letters” and had a nice surprise at the end. This year I had five Valentines to make instead of four, so it was time to come up with something new. I didn’t need to look far. As my friends and I gathered to make this year’s snippets of love, one of the gals showed up with cupcakes made by our friend, Alice. Alice’s cakes are famous and much sought-after here on the Peninsula. Not only are they works of art, they taste like Heaven in your mouth. True story.  🙂

With that inspiration, I baked up my own creations for the loves of my life in their favorite flavors: Cookies N’ Cream, Red Velvet, Lemon, Chocolate and Funfetti.

Designing and making my own Valentines is a tradition I started when the kids were little and just can’t seem to give up. As our family grows, I might need to start thinking about Valentines Day in July!

Animation Camp is a Wrap!

The past two weeks I had the opportunity to be a part of Regent’s Film Camp teaching the Animation track. What a blast!!  I had five campers, and we covered a lot of material in that short time. It was super exciting watching the lights come on in these young minds as I helped them draw their creativity to the surface.

My favorite part of camp was joint time we spent each morning with all the campers. Our theme for the week was Creation (God’s first act recorded in the bible) and our role as artists. We began the day with a film clip of some sort, and the instructors took turns presenting short devotionals that fit our theme.
This time was a watering hole of sorts for me.

It reminded me of how very much I love film and art and creating.  Even working with high-schoolers creating silly short films is magical. It also reignited my passion to change the perception of what people consider “Christian” art.

Leaping Creatively

There’s something super fun about a year with an extra day in it.

To celebrate, here’s a list of leaps you can take to create fearlessly:
~Try a new technique
~Try a new product
~Take a class to learn something you’ve said, “I could never do that” about
~Teach a friend a technique that’s new to him/her
~Pick a project from a book you bought but haven’t used yet and MAKE IT!
~Make art using a color you don’t like
~Don’t use your favorite color for a month. Pretend it doesn’t exist
~Sketch one item from each room in your home. Write a silly story that uses all of them as illustrations.
~Sign up for a challenge
~Take a favorite drawing from your sketchbook and paint it on a wall in your home
~Show your art to strangers
~Buy a pair of boots that you LOVE. Wear them when you try something scary and use them to kick fear out of the way!

Some of these ideas might seem easy-peasy to you. Don’t do those. Do the ones that scare you. That is the whole point of the exercise – pushing fear out of the way to free our creativity.

Valentines 2011

Every year I make home-made valentines for my family. Usually their valentines have something to do with their lives that year.

This year I did something new – a joint theme that linked all four valentines. I was wracking my brain for ideas, when a simple thought struck: Love letters. Literally. So I made these….
I make the envelopes to match, too!
I used a paper pack  I had which made it really easy to keep continuity. Add chalks, white acrylic, and pop dots. I use a small paint brush to apply the chalk… I feel like I have better control that way, and it blends real well with the fine bristles.

Pains of Creation

I’ve been working on some storyboards – which is no big deal unless your hands have forgotten how to interpret what’s in your head.  And that’s exactly what was happening to me. I couldn’t draw a stick man. There were wads of paper all over the floor. I wasn’t sure what I was battling, but I was sure I was losing miserably.
Now the storyboards are complete I can laugh about it, but still wonder why it had to be so. hard.
I was reminded that creating is a birthing process. Pulling something new out of ourselves hurts!!! But WOW the excitement when we look at what we’ve accomplished, right?
I love when I muscle my way through something that stretches every limit I thought I had, only to discover there is more to me than I knew. What if I were willing to voluntarily muscle my way through more in order to create more?

The Enemy Called Resistance

I’ve been working on some storyboards, which is no big deal unless your hands have forgotten how to interpret what’s in your head.  That’s exactly what was happening to me. I couldn’t draw a stick man. There were wads of paper all over the floor. I wasn’t sure what I was battling, but I was sure I was losing miserably.
Now that the storyboards are complete I can laugh about it, but still wonder why it had to be so. hard.
I discovered a powerful little book gives the answer –  “The War of Art”, by Steven Pressfield.
His thesis on what he calls Resistance can be life-changing. With straight-up clarity Pressfield exposes Resistance and its tactics to thwart our dreams, goals and growth.
The challenge comes in applying what you read, but the truth contained in this volume has the potential for being the kick in the pants you’ve been looking for, regardless the goal. It applies to everything from weight-loss to writer’s block.
Resistance is the enemy.
Creating is a birthing process. Pulling something new out of ourselves hurts!!! But WOW the excitement when we look at what we’ve accomplished, right?
 I love when I muscle my way through something that stretches every limit I thought I had, only to discover there is more to me than I knew. What if I were willing to voluntarily muscle my way through more in order to create more? Now that I have a better idea what I’m fighting, I’m determined to recognize Resistance and get on with the business of creating.

Valentines from the Heart

I love Valentines, which is pretty surprising considering how much anxiety they caused me as a kid.  It’s sad how early we begin comparing ourselves to others, wondering if we’ll fit the mold we think will buy acceptance. When I’m not careful, that same ridiculousness threatens my creativity now.

A few years ago a magazine article inspired me to make my own valentines, and every year I invite my girlfriends over to “play”.  It’s a lot of fun – seeing all the different ways we create is a good reminder to just be myself.

This is me working with what I have – my own hand as a model. I got a bit of razzing for this… from people who can’t even draw. Which gave us a good laugh as we each merrily created our own brand of perfect.