I’m an old school paper, brushes, and paint gal. Digital art is a learning curve I’m still working to master. When a client asked for a hand-painted header for her website I took the challenge. Then, I had no clue where to start.
Start with what you already know.
This is something I still have to remind myself to do, because I think our “show your work” culture can make us believe we need a certain tool or process to complete the task, when, in actuality, there are a bazillions ways to skin a cat.
She wanted hand-painted – and she hired me, because I knew how to do that! The only real difference was the size of the work – I had to scale it much larger than the finished product so it would would yield a super high resolution. The rest of the process was the same until it was time to place it in its digital home.
Once we settled on an arrangement I made a much larger version to scale, using pencil on vellum so adjustments could be made easily.
Time to paint. I like to lay color one-at-a-time and in small increments and in short burst of time to avoid hand fatigue, because making a mistake can mean starting over.
Things went really well until the end, when I smudged the paint with my hand – and skills I already have saved the day. At the top of the page I re-recreated that section and used Photoshop magic to replace the smudged area with the clean version – a trick I learned doing photo-restoration.
Once the pencil was erased and it was scanned into the computer, I removed the background paper in Photoshop. Using a colored background (aqua) to illuminate any spots I missed, I cleaned it up by hand to get the best results.
Was this the most efficient way to do things? I have no clue, but it worked. My high school Algebra 2 teacher used to tell me, “If it works, do it.” That’s good advice.
Your skill toolbox is unique to you and your experience and is filled with most everything you need to do your genius work. It’s tempting to be distracted by the wow-factor of someone else’s process – don’t let it convince you that you can’t do something or shouldn’t bother trying. Use what you know until you it reveals what you need to learn. You’ll save yourself a lot of wasted time and money learning and buying unnecessary things.