Friday, January 28, 2022

January Blues - A Whole Mood & A New Doll

I don't know about anyone else, but January has been tough! I had plans to go to Peabody Essex Museum and had to reschedule it twice. I'll get there in the next week or two & it'll be the first time I've gone to a museum since the pandemic started! We've also had a cold (covid??) going around the house. Both kids tested negative for covid, so I'm going with a cold. But it's been brutal. Sick kiddos and a sick mom make for an unhappy house! January is blah and grey and miserable enough without a horrendous cough, too. 

So I'm using our general malaise as inspiration! I've been scribbling at a new doll and not really getting anywhere. It hit me that a one page "January Blues" might be a fun way to put that scribble to use. It might even become a whole year's project!

The color version is way at the bottom, after a bit of chatter about coloring it....

Here's where I landed with the doll. I elongated the legs and slimmed her down a tad. I wanted a model or vintage paper doll kind of look. I could fuss with this forever and never like it!! 

Next up, I sketched a little mix and match wardrobe. I drew this in Photoshop, which I don't typically do. My favorite drawing program (app? I dunno, I'm old!!) is Sketchbook. It used to be free but now it's like $20 USD for the desktop version. Anyway, great program but I wanted to experiment with Photoshop. I grabbed a huge set of brushes and I wanted to test them out. (I'm not selling these or getting paid for these or anything - I bought them myself, just to tinker with.) I used the pencil set, specifically the HB pencil. That's what I use on paper so it seemed like a good place to start!

Once everything was sketched out, I drew lines. I try to have closed shapes when I line my images. After creating lines on the layer above the sketch, I select outside the lines with the magic wand, inverse my selection, and create a white fill under the lines. At this point, I also like to add my tabs so that I can make any fit adjustments before coloring.  

And then I color.


For each doll and outfit, I draw all black lines on one layer. Then I color in layers underneath the lines. I like to set the blend more of the line layer to Soft Light. It gives me subtly colored lines. It takes a while but it's what works best for me. If the lips are on one layer, for example, I can edit the shape or color or whatever as needed without altering anything else.

It's a process coloring these! I did all of the coloring in Photoshop and it was loooonnnnnggggg. Photoshop crashed at least a dozen times and lagged out more than that. It would be faster in Sketchbook. Anyway, I have it in black & white and color, so feel free to download and print! 

To download and print, CLICK on the image and then save. If you just save the image, it's low resolution, but clicking on it gives you the full, printable image

Friday, January 21, 2022

Random Sketching

I haven't got a real plan yet for the ol' blog. I have some previous projects & some future projects that I'd like to share. Other than that, I'm winging it at the moment. I'd like to get back to to sharing my process, too, and that's what I'm going to do here today.

Inspiration has been hard to come by. I decided to just randomly scribble and see what happens.

I've been interested in sewing pattern illustrations and this pose was inspired by one from the seventies that I found on Pinterest.


 Because I knew from the beginning that I'd work on this digitally, I snapped a quick picture with my phone instead of scanning it. And really, depending on the setup, a phone can work just as well as a scanner. I opened it in Photoshop for editing. It's possible to edit this in other programs - I've been tinkering with Affinity - but Photoshop is my go-to. Most of what I do would work in most photo editing software.


 The head was a little big so I reduced that. The torso felt a little long so I used the Warp tool (Edit>Transform>Warp) to shorten it. The sketch on the left is edited and the one on the right is the original. It's better but it still isn't quite what I want...


... So I tried a different head! That's what I love about digital art - the flexibility to experiment with different things all a the same time. I don't have to redraw the body or head or trace it etc. I just pop it into the computer and try something new.  I like the new head but the shoulder on the right side of the drawing feels like it's dropped too far.


 It's a subtle difference. The left is unedited and the right is edited. At this point, I'll work out a few more issues with the sketch and draw the line art.

 Staying in Photoshop, I reduced the opacity of my sketch and drew lines on the layer above. I used a brush meant to simulate  a 4H pencil. Typically, I like to draw in Sketchbook but since I was already using Photoshop, I just stuck with that. 


And here's what I came up with. On the left, the lines from the initial sketch. Then, I tweaked the torso a bit. In the third pose, I turned the torso to be more forward facing. Finally, on the right, I pulled the legs in together more, just to see what would happen. 

I'm not sure which I like the best yet. I'm not even sure what I'll do with it! But it was good to put pencil to paper.