Sometimes, I don't feel like making stuff. Really, it's just that simple. It isn't that I don't love drawing & painting & such. I do. But sometimes I need a break.
This weekend, my oldest son attended a birthday party and we had my younger son's birthday party at our house. After that, I just wasn't feeling very creative. So I worked on genealogy research instead (which is loads of fun and I recommend it!) and today, I'm taking my mother to the doctor. She broke her finger spectacularly and needed a crazy cast up to her elbow! Some weeks are busy around this house!
Today, instead of creating a page for Josephine, I want to share a little bit about how I make the Josephine pages. The techniques here are also the techniques I used to create the Chanel paper doll, the Dupin paper doll, as well as the Akinye and Friends book and the Transformation Dress book.
Like most of my projects, this one starts with a sketch.
page 2 of the Josephine series. To create the outfits, I use a black & white template and I draw over it. The template is the actual lines from the finalized paper doll. I lower the opacity & draw over it in ArtRage. I'm using ArtRage 4 and I use the pencil tool to sketch. This could easily be done on paper or in another program. I just happen to like the natural feel of sketching in ArtRage -- it also has a TON of features that I'm still working on perfecting.
Anyway, once I'm finished scribbling, I export the file as a JPG and bring it into Photoshop to line and color it. I could line it in ArtRage but I'm not thrilled with any of the three pen tools available. Could just be inexperience on my part.
To outline the clothing, I use a custom oval brush. Its gives me a little bit more variability and hand-drawn feel while I draw on screen. It isn't an essential thing, just a preference. Any hard brush would work fine here. Just make sure your lines create a closed shape or the next step won't work.
Once the clothing is outlined, I fill it with one color. To do this, I select the outside of the lines, then right-click and then Select Inverse. This selects the inside portion of the lines. Why do it this way? If I tried to select the interior of my image, I would only select the empty sections around the lines and not the *true* interior space. Next, with my image still selected, I go to Select, Modify, Contract and choose a pixel amount, usually 1 or 2. Again, why? This way, the selection is inside the lines and there won't be any color bleeding outside the black lines.
see: Paper Thin Personas. She uses a great technique!) but this is the one I like for me.
With the selection still in place, I create a new layer UNDER the selection and use the Fill paint bucket to fill it in with a color. Doesn't really matter what color.
Next, I use this color layer as a clipping mask layer for the pattern on the belt. This isn't the only way to apply a pattern. Sometimes, I use a pattern layer style to apply an all-over repeating pattern, such as the velvet texture on the steampunk outfit. Sometimes, I also use multiple clipping masks and merge them into a single layer once they look right. That's what I did with the strip pattern on this belt. But for the purposes of this tutorial, I'm using a different pattern.
Open the image you want to clip and place it ABOVE the color layer. In my case, it covers the whole page.
Which is what I'll do next.
To paint the shadows, I use a large soft brush with a lowered opacity (maybe 10 or 15 to start) and gradually build up the shadows and opacity until it looks the way I want. I do the same with the highlights. Sometimes I use black and white for shadows and highlights. Sometimes I don't. It depends on the image. Keep in mind, too, that I'm using a pen and a tablet screen. This is a bit harder with just a mouse.
And that's basically it. I color each section of the clothing like this, separately out sections into layers as needed. I use Group to create folders with like items. In this case, all of the layers comprising the belt are grouped together and called "belt". You can further group up these group folders, which is something I do.
One last note about color: keep it simple. I had a professor who taught me that you really only need three tones to create a realistic form: a mid-tone, a highlight, and a shadow. That's really it. So when I'm painting or drawing, I keep that in mind. With these Photoshop paper dolls, I have a color layer (the mid-tone or main color of the object), a shadow layer, and a highlight layer. It's possible to create more depth with more colors and layers. Occasionally, I'll do that but mostly, I stick to three colors.
I hope this demystifies a little bit of how I color these images. It really isn't complicated, aside from making sure I'm on the right layer at the right time! Any questions, etc, feel free to let me know!
Friday there should be another doll posted and hopefully a new Josephine next week. Feel free to send me theme suggestions! I love those!