My thought was Inkling could help me with the scanning part of the process when I was away from the studio and didn’t have access to my scanner. Often I would use the camera on my iPhone to snap a photo of the sketch and bring it into the computer via Dropbox. The quality of the photo varied with shadows getting in there sometimes. Also, if the camera and the sketch weren’t completely parallel when the photo was snapped the art would be a little skewed. So the Wacom Inkling would fit nicely into that little need.
Introduction: Drawing for Non-Majors: Using Analog and Digital Tools
Guess what? If you just want to make an analog drawing, you’re done. But if you want to keep working digitally the next step is taking your analog ink on paper drawing and turning it into a digital scalable vector graphic.1. Scan your imageFairly simple. Note that you do not need a 300+ dpi high resolution scan. 800×600 at 72dpi is probably fine. If you’re nervous, make a it a little bigger or denser, but it likely isn’t necessary.2. Convert your scan to a vector imageWhat’s a vector image? Look it up. You have a couple ways of doing this.A. Vector Magic – Vector Magic (see image below) is a free, online tool for converting images to vectors. In my experience Vector Magic works, but it’s designed for simpler drawings than what I have personally attempted. However, working in sections, with smaller images, or in a different style may yield promising results. And it’s free!How:- follow along site using their settings.- choose just a black and white palette.B. Inkscape/Potrace – Inkscape (wikipedia) is a free and open source scalable vector graphics editor which has a bitmap converter built in called Potrace. Basic instructions are available on the Inkscape wiki. There are several setting you can play with to get the effect you desire. And it’s free and open source!C. Adobe Illustrator CS2 and up – When CS2 was introduced Adobe added “Live Trace” which converts bitmaps to vectors. While there is massive documentation put out by Adobe for this feature, I’ll make it simple. – open your image in illustrator- select your image by clicking on it- press the live trace button (see image)- the default setting usually works fine, but sometimes I select Comic Art. Play with the options and you can see how they are affected.
Ballpoint pen sketches on construction paper made for the entertainment of my kids.
I usually carry a box of pencils, pens and a pad of newsprint and tracing paper for drawing.
Think you can’t draw because you don’t easily create photo-realistic graphite sketches on the first try? Don’t worry, in real life drawing isn’t a closed-book test. You can use your notes, you can copy off other people, you can use tools, you can even trace! (Gasp!) And I’m going to show you how…The following method I developed while in the Eyebeam OpenLab to create drawings that are a combination of a flat, comic book style and “how to evacuate the airplane.” It starts with “analog” drawing moving to the computer for color. I’ll detail all the steps and you can pick and choose elements of this method to create whatever style drawings you like. This method can help you quickly achieve a realistic and accurate drawing.This instructable is in the spirit of my past instructables – tools, methods, and workflows I have developed in my past projects, published here because I hope they are useful to others in whole or part. For examples on how I have used this particular way of working see these projects completed while at Eyebeam:- Wish You Were Here: Postcards From Our Awesome Future- PeopleProducts123.comWhat you will need:Drawing Supplies- Black archival ink markers with a variety of line widths. Look for Sakura Pigma Micron Pens, Staedler Pigment Liners, or Mars Professional Precision Pens. You could also use technical pens like Rapidographs, but I find the marker tips allow for more variation.- pencils- archival paper- tracing paper- light table or light box (optional)- ph balanced artists tapeWhy archival? Always be prepared to make amazing work that you’ll want around forever.Software – open source:- Inkscape – free and open source vector editor- Potrace – Free software for converting bitmaps to scalable vector graphics- Vector Magic – free online bitmat to vector converterSoftware – $$ commercial $$- Adobe Illustrator CS2 and higherOther- access to a computer, scanner, and printerRead on if you are a purist and think working from photographs, using light boxes, projection, or tracing paper is “cheating.”I’ve found that some people, mainly non-artists, think that using tools like light tables or projectors is somehow less legitimate. In fact, most artists use these tools to create their work and have for centuries. From Vermeer to Warhol, artists have used a variety of optical devices as drawing aids. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t. (more details below)- Most artists use tools. If they don’t use projectors and light tables, we use various other methods like cameras, lenses, slide film, mirrors, grid systems, sighting and angling, measuring devices, rulers, compasses, and triangulation. But it really doesn’t matter what tools you use. Some may disagree, but in art, more important than how a work is made is what that work says. Use any tool available to make the work you want to make. Focus less on tools and methods and make sure your work means something.- Using a projector or light table is not a shortcut. It will not make your drawing good, just different. Just like having a good thesaurus will not automatically make your writing better, er, more exquisite. It’s just a tool. While it can make the work easier, you still gotta learn how to use the tools well.- Tracing doesn’t mean copying or plagiarism. See appropriation art. In fact, altering an image in your drawing process can contribute to a Fair Use argument for using copyrighted material to create new works!- Although this instructable isn’t about copying art works, copying art is an excellent learning tool used in classical art instruction. When you recreate an artists work, you gain insight into how the original work was made. Straight copying of an art work can help you build your skills. – Read up on the Hockney-Falco thesis, watch the movie (if you can), or this Charlie Rose interview online.If you’re still not convinced, that’s ok. Now that that’s done, lets get to work…
Now that we’ve selected a Path, we can create a selection from that path. To do this, select from the pull-down menu on the right in the Paths menu. You’ll see an option named “Make Selection.”
In theory the Inkling is a great little tool, in practice it lacks the refinement I would like to build my art from. The capture from the Inkling is very, very rough compared to the actual sketch. I have tinkered with every setting to try to improve the capture quality. One issue is the registration when drawing one line over another. It does not capture it very well. The Inkling pen is nice, even if you don’t use the capture feature. I like drawing with it, although it defeats the purpose.
I recommend making each one of these brushes a separate file. For the resolution, you can go up to 2500 × 2500. It really depends on what the finished piece needs to be. For this exercise, I’ll select a portion of the scan and define a brush from it.
Some artists who always inspire me are Mary Blair, Alice Provensen, Charley Harper, Maurice Noble and Eyvind Earle. And there are so many ways now to catalog and bookmark historical artwork.
what is the brown paper in the second to last image on this step? I really like the look of inked work on it!
Now that our brush set is in order, let’s start painting. For the color palette, I’ve researched my idols. Mary Blair and Alice Provensen are masters of color and shape. I always look at their use of color and design. Again, this is why research is so important. Study the people you admire, and analyze why you admire their work. I really like a somewhat muted palette, with some small areas of intense color. In my scanned sketch, I’ve added another layer and sampled the colors I’d like to use.
Let’s go to the Paths menu and draw the shapes that we want to paint. From here, we create a “New Path” using the Pen tool, to define the shapes that we established in the sketch. So, let’s open the sketch that we scanned, select the Pen tool from the toolbar, and select “New Path” from the Path menu. Once the Path is saved, we use the Path tool (which is the Pen tool), and start tracing out our shapes. The image below shows all the paths I’ve created that I intend to paint.
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If you scan as black and white, you won’t need to worry about adjusting the levels. I’ve scanned in color, so I’ll increase the black and white values in Photoshop. The levels can be found in Images → Adjustments → Levels.
From the menu drop-down, go to “Edit” and then “Define Brush.”
it’s just the photo, it was actually drawing paper with tracing paper on top, backlit.
When I sketch digitally, I use Sketchbook Pro. In my opinion it is the best digital sketching app available. I have used it for a number of years, and I love it. It is really simple to use, and almost all of the tools and commands are easily accessible while using the stylus.
People often ask how I arrived at a finished illustration. Honestly, it’s different every time, but it always starts with a hand-drawn sketch.
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Illustrations of Alice and Martin Provensen Alice and Martin Provensen were a husband-and-wife illustration team. They wrote and illustrated numerous children’s books, including many little and giant golden books from the ’40s until Martin’s death in 1987.
Alice continues to work as an illustrator. “How to Steal Like an Artist” An excellent article on creativity and life by the brilliant Austin Kleon. The Drawn Blog A daily source of inspiration for illustration, animation, cartooning, and comic art.
Today’s Inspiration A great source for inspiration and the history of Illustration by Professor Leif Peng.
Now that we have a new layer, and the Path is a selection, we can use a brush from the brush set that we created. Also, I’m still using the colors from the palette that I created earlier.
Being able to manipulate paths as you color your drawing will make it easier and faster. Here’s a few tips.1. Making Donuts (Follow along with the video below)When coloring in the skin tone, the skin color covers the eyes in the left glasses lens, which I didn’t want. The way to deal with this is by cutting a hole in that path – a donut hole if you will. A. First trace out the larger area or, in my metaphor, the outside edge of your donut. In illustrator you can join the ends of paths by pressing command J. B. Then trace out the shape you’d like to cut out – or the donut hole. Again, command J will join the ends of your paths and complete the circle.C. Select both paths – and only those paths.D. In Illustrator use the pathfinder window. You have a few options you can try – the icons should be helpful – and if you don’t get the effect you want, you can always undo. Hit expand to make the change take effect, and then choose your fill color for your new 1 piece donut shape. For Inkscape users, these options are similar and listed under the Path menu.2. Joining areas (Follow along with the second video)I usually trace things while zoomed in to an area and do sections of an image at a time. When doing a skin tone, the result could be 8-10 paths that together fill in the face, but with so many small sections they can become cumbersome to work with. There is a way to connect (not group) them into one giant shape.A. Draw your two pieces that you want to combine. They need to overlap at some point.B. Select both areasC. In the pathfinder window (or path menu in inkscape) join the two areasD. expand and recolor if necessary.
1. Prepare your space – Using your tape, tape down your print out of the sharpened image to your light table. Tape the drawing paper on top so you can flip it up an away. The tape keeps everything aligned when you flip to see the layer below. You will be able to see your image through the paper on top. You can also use tracing paper with or without the light table if you prefer. Have all your materials ready. Because I am kind of a geek/efficient, I usually lay out all my pens and pencils in order of thickness or hardness. I like to get an audiobook, comedy album, or lecture to listen to so I can pass the time.2. Trace in pencil (skip to pen if you are a bad ass or reckless). Try to capture the details of the image. Remember, tracing alone won’t make your drawing good. If you’ve had any drawing lessons in the past, now is the time to pull those to the front of your brain. Remember these gems?- stay loose and expressive with your lines- remember to draw only what you see, not what you know to be there. (aka noses aren’t triangles)- turn off the light and check how your drawing looks every once in a while- don’t worry if it looks bad, just keep going. Everything I have ever made I think looks awful at some point in the middle, even when it turns out great in the end.- don’t forget you can erase and rework an area. And don’t get obsessed with it either.- keep the original photo open on your screen or printed out near you and check against your photo. Study it. Make sure you are drawing only what you can see.3. Retrace in pen – Now tape your pencil drawing to the light table and new piece of paper on top. Retrace in pen. This time, don’t draw every line you had before. Choose which lines need to be there and leave out the unnecessary ones. Some tips:- change pen sizes often. Start with outlines and move to details. Remember, you can always make a thin line thicker, but not the other way around.- heavier lines around edges help create and illusion of depth. The outside edge of every drawing I usually draw with a Pigma Micron 08 or equivalent. – it’s ok if you screw up- – you can remove lines with white out or by scraping it away with a razor blade- – you can also remove or alter lines in your vector editor- – don’t let perfection lead to inaction. Just keep going.- draw lines inward. You get more control lifting the pen to achieve a tapered line then to gradually lower it and achieve the same effect.- use pressure to vary line width and taper your ends.
Wow, thanks a whole bunch for this Instructable. I have about zero ability drawing and your breakdown and work flows really help me!I’ll use this on my future Instructables!
December 7, 2011 Leave a comment How I Mixed Up Illustration: Combining Analog And Digital Techniques 7 min read Graphics, Illustrator, Tutorials, Photoshop Share on Twitter or LinkedIn
I do this because I want my brushes to be my own. Many great websites out there offer textured brushes for Photoshop. For me, the more unique these brushes, the better. Based on my sketch and research, I will have some idea of what I want to capture. I’ll use oil pastels, paint, paper towels, charcoal and anything else. It’s all about being resourceful — use everything. One more thing: when making brushes, the grittier the paper, the better. The more tooth it has, the more the marks will scan. It is for this reason alone I have to clean my scanner all the time.
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Uhmmm awesome. Im playing around with it now! Great Instructable!
I’m an illustrator and designer living in Ohio. I grew up in a blue-collar hardworking household. I’ve carried that philosophy into my life by working hard on … More about David…
Now that we have created a brush, we can name it. It will be added to our Brush palette.
Concepting for me always starts with pencil and paper. If there is one consistent element through all of my pieces, it’s sketching. I love to draw. If I could establish and execute everything with a single pencil drawing, I would. The best thing to do is keep some type of sketchbook or journal with you as much as possible. Milton Glaser said it best: “Drawing is visual thinking.” Drawing creates many possibilities for any idea you might have. It’s then when the character’s personality starts to emerge. Then, I’ll add some volume to the sketch to show where the textures should really come through.
Coloring your image depends a bit on the software you’re using. For Inkscape and older Illustrator users, it’s manly creating shapes with the pencil tool and some work with the path manipulation tools. For CS2+ users, you’ll be slightly relieved to know that paying hundreds of dollars for proprietary software will get you a bit of a shortcut with the Live Paint feature. Though I wouldn’t say it was worth it.A. Illustrator CS2+ – Live Paint allows you to fill outlined areas of an image with a paint bucket tool, much like in an image editor. The result is an intuitive coloring-book style process that makes it more confusing to explain why it doesn’t normally work like this.1. Make sure you have everything selected (command-A) and press the Live Paint button (see image)- enclosed areas will highlight in red as you scroll over them. You can color these areas by choosing a fill color and clicking the area with the live paint bucket tool. Objects that aren;t enclosed (an incomplete circle or a square with corners that don’t meet) don’t work, although there are settings you can adjust if you want to get technical. Once you’ve colored in everything possible, press the Expand button and do the following steps:2. expand Live Paint3. take the magic wand tool, select all the white areas and delete them.4. select all the black lines and move those to a new layer above the color layer. More on this below.The image below shows what closed objects I was able to color using Live Paint. Not much, but it helps. From here, the instructions are basically the same for all vector editors so pick up below…B. Inkscape and older versions of Illustrator – 1. Lock your layer with the black lines. Now you’ll begin coloring underneath it. As you add new layers, keep the black lines on the top.Note: thinking about layers. Start coloring in areas keeping in mind how these layers will build up. You’re going to want to manage your layers well and keep elements separated. I often have over 10 layers on a drawing like this just to keep things easy to work with. Think about the order you draw layers as well. Eyes for example would go – whites, irises, then pupils. Imagine you are laying cut pieces of paper on top of eachother. Layers above can help hide what’s underneath and make your work easier.2. Use the pencil tool and begin drawing your layers. I usually start with a base skin tone and work my way up. See images for details.
Started using your teachings and sharing some images on OpenClipArt. My Instructables look a whole lot better to me! Thanks again for the instruction.
Sometimes, I paint it completely by hand; sometimes I’ll scan in a pencil drawing. Many of my pieces are 100% analog that I’ll show only at shops or galleries. Use anything you can; if the illustration would work as a wood carving, go that route. There are concrete steps one can take, but they certainly don’t have to be the same every time. My goal is to take a sketch or idea as far as it can go — and also, to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself with every new job. For this article, I’ll use handcrafted brushes and Photoshop as my tools.
Let’s start by painting the shape that will be the background. From the toolbar, select the Path tool, and select a specific path.
Painting within the shapes you’ve defined is a chance to experiment. You can try all kinds of things, like making the brush more transparent or painting over other textures. For me, it’s a lot of trial and error. This image below is a close-up of the brush I’m painting with.
Here is a scan of my original sketch. I scanned it in at 300 DPI because I will eventually be printing this piece.
Thanks for posting this. I’m going to be using this for a project really soon. 😀 I need to get clean lines out of a portrait to embroider it!
Once that’s selected, a dialog box will pop up asking for a radius to feather the selection; 0 is fine. Also, enable “Anti-aliased” and “New Selection.”
im too poor for commercial software 🙁 would GIMP work instead?
Scan everything: the initial sketch, the textures, anything you’ve made to this point. I’ll keep anything that I don’t use at this point in a library, possibly to use for something else. I’ve set the scanner to 600 DPI at “Millions” of colors. If your scanner has a “Sharpen” setting, crank it to “High.” You can scan the sketches in black and white at 1200 DPI, or in grayscale since the brushes will be black and white. I’ve set the colors to “High” so that I can archive the files and use them for something else. Once everything has been scanned, let’s open the images in Photoshop.
You can see here the actual sketch vs what the Inkling was able to capture.
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Mage, when you read the instructable you’ll notice that free open source software options are mentioned specifically.
I flip-flop between sketching digitally and analog. I would say 80% of the time I sketch on paper. It’s just easy. No software, batteries, incompatibilities, file formats, corruptions, etc. Since sketching is usually the beginning of a project, it is nice not to think of any of that stuff and just draw. I carry a plastic case with the drawing stuff in it, a pad of newsprint and occasionally some color pencils with me just about everywhere. Usually, I sketch with a regular ball point pen. One day I started drawing with one (because it what was available) and I liked it. Particularly I like drawing with one on construction paper or newsprint. These papers take the ink really well.
Final TouchesNow is the time to step back, look at your work, and see what needs to be adjusted. What will need to be done will depend on the drawing you’re working on and the style you’re going for. I’ll just review the adjustments I made to this drawing to give you an idea. You can click on a before and after image to compare.- added a background to make it seem more complete- added shadows to the face under the eyes and nose, inside the ear, and below the chin and lips. Usually I like a flat look, but this looked much better.- the subject looked older in the earlier version. Fixed by changing hair color from grey to brown (what was I thinking?), and creating highlights in the hair.- he also looked a little worried rather than the inquisitive look I was going for. Fixed by deemphasizing some of the lines in the forehead by changing the color of the lines and lowering the left eyebrow.- slightly changed aspect ratio of the image because it looked too tall and narrow.Other Tips- This technique Packard Jennings also uses in his drawings, but he uses a small brushes and india ink instead of pens. – Helena Keeffe uses a similar method for the portraits in her Living Proof project and on her Muni Maps project. – I use a wacom tablet to draw in illustrator. If you’re going to be doing a lot of this kind of work, it can be very handy.- Another Instructables user thesparine, posted an instructable on how to create a pencil sketch from a photograph. There’s some good tips, including some drawing basics and how to get around using a light table by using your window. I’d suggest reading it through as well.- If you think it might be useful to other people, add your drawing to the Open Clip Art Library like I did.
A little while back I gave a new tool a try. A Wacom Inkling. I use and have used versions of the Intuous tablets, Cintiq and a bamboo stylus for sketching on the iPad. The Inkling intrigued me because Wacom stated it “bridged the gap between traditional and digital sketching”. Basically the Inking is an ink pen that syncs with a flash drive-like device that captures and stores your drawings done on paper. Any paper. And with regular ‘ol ink. There is a demo video here: http://www.wacom.com/en/us/creative/inkling
You can view the Brush palette by selecting the Brush tool. Look at the options toolbar, and you’ll see a thumbnail of the brush; you can pull this down to view the entire palette. From the menu arrow in the top right, you can save brushes you’ve created. Brushes are saved in Photoshop’s Presets/Brushes folder. You can also load brushes from this menu as well.
Brand New Wacom Mdp123 Inkling Digital Sketch Pen for Mac or Windows NEW
Here’s where the research, brush creation and painting all come together. Let’s paint the path on a “New Layer,” using the steps described above.
Some rough crosshatching for the elephant’s skin, with an oil pastel on drawing paper.
Now that we have a selection, we can “Create a New Layer.” This layer will be specific to this shape. We’ll end up with many layers for each shape, but they will give us the flexibility to edit down the road.
Digital sketch with Sketchbook pro. I always thought tiger sharks would be good golfers and sand tiger sharks excellent caddies.
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Also, if I’m drawing an elephant’s skin, or wood on a camera, or a band on a helmet, I’ll want to take a close look at the real thing. Google Images is quick, but if I have time I’ll run to the library. Sometimes I do this as soon as I have an idea. Really seeing what you’ll be working with helps.
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Great instruckable and so nicely done to encourage people and build confidence too.I have been an amateur CG artist for many years starting with an Amiga computer back in the late 1980’s and you have managed to teach this old dog about new sites to get great free art, thanks for that too.I also have the Corel Draw suite but I would be remiss in not telling you and other readers about my favorite and now most used graphic program Xara Xtreme. It is a vector program like Adobe but costs much less with many better and faster features who’s photo handling ( bitmaps) is simply amazing! It’s way faster, makes files that can be much smaller too. I have attached one of my feeble and early freehand attempts but also provide the official Xara site and a form that can really show what can be done with this inexpensive but easy to use and flexible software.The companyhttp://www.xara.com/us/products/xtreme/The forumhttp://www.talkgraphics.com/See the Xtreme and Xtreme Pro sections as well as the The Xara Galleryhttp://www.xaraxone.com/Free tips, tutorials, how to’s and more.
I try to draw whenever I have the opportunity no matter if it is analog or digital. What do you like to draw with?
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1. Find a photo to work from. Try to find large images that you can print to 8×10 inches.Possible places find photos:- your own photo- Flickr Creative Commons search and regular flickr search (if you’ll be significantly altering the image)- Wikimedia Commons- Public Domain images- Library of Congress Image Search- Google Extra Large Image SearchRemember, you can use copyrighted material under the Fair Use Doctrine if you are using it for parody, commentary, or altering it significantly.Image 1 – The photo I am using in this example is of author, Stephen Duncombe and was used in a catalog for a project I did with Packard Jennings for the San Francisco Arts Commission.2. Crop the photo Crop your photo to the important areas. Remember to make sure your image is still large enough to print with resolution that will show detail.Image 2 – The original image, while great on it’s own, includes part of the plastic Ronald McDonald. I want to create a portrait focused on his face, so I need to crop the photo.3. Sharpen your image to an unusually high degree – this will help you see details through the paper when on the light table.Image 3 – `the sharpened image4. Print it out. I use a cheap laser printer, but use whatever you have.
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After many painted layers, I end up with a piece that is digitally painted with hand-crafted brushes.
Here’s a variation on your technique (at least the first half of it) that can be used by people with no computer skills as well as no drawing experience 🙂 …
This is the most underestimated part of the process, but one of the most important. Here, we’re assessing the sketch. What textures would work? What colors would work? It helps to look at your influences.