This is a little ink illustration I drew for a friend’s birthday card. I coloured it in Photoshop, but I think I prefer it in black and white.

 

I wanted to make something simple, focusing on shape and colour. I’ve also made a companion Easter piece.

[Jesus] said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.’ But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. Mark 9:31-32

GoodFriday-01

I spent part of yesterday afternoon sketching at the museum with a friend. I think having another person there helped me to draw much more than I do normally, alone! The animals all had great personalities and it was fun trying to bring them to life. These are all from the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street, Edinburgh.

Museum_08

Museum_01

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Museum_04

Museum_03

Museum_07

Museum_02

Museum_06

I designed, storyboarded and animated this video for trypraying. The trypraying booklet is a seven-day prayer guide which encourages people to try praying for a week and see what happens.

Some of my concept art for the project is below.

CharacterDesign

I began with some rough character sketches from the script. From the outset I wanted designs that were simple but attractive.

BGDesign copy

BGDesign

I also began to explore the background environments and colour design. For the background, I wanted to have a very flat, “false” perspective. I wanted to tie the colours to the trypraying booklet.

02_01

02_01_02

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I created colour keys using the storyboard, finding a range that would work through each scene.

Policewoman2

Once the storyboard and animatic were complete, and the colours approved, I made last-minute changes – like the policewoman’s new hat – and then began building the characters and backgrounds in Illustrator and Flash.

Characters

Characters2

J_02

I drew some sketches of how the characters would need to be broken up for animation.The minister only needed to wave his hand, whereas the main character had to be able to turn, walk and move his arms. The main character’s trousers were simplified as a result.

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Here are some of the final scenes in the video. I’m really pleased with how the colour and designs came out. This was a fun project to make!

And here’s a little extra: I added a caricature of myself sitting on the bus!

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 20.59.53

BabySketches01

In preparation for my Christmas painting I sketched some babies from a Google search. Using these, I drew a rough sketch of baby Jesus.BabySketches02Then I cleaned the drawing up in preparation for painting.

BabySketches03

I initially planned to paint the entire image, but it was Christmas Eve and I ran out of time!

Baby2

How do I delete the white background from line art?

Over the last year I’ve been Googling the sentence above – how do I delete the white background from line art? I know that I know how to do this, but I keep forgetting. So I’ve decided to write it down so that I can reference it in future, and hopefully help others as well.

I’m using Photoshop CS5.1 on a Mac.

Technique No. 1
Black line with white background, on Multiply to show colour.

This is the way I was taught, but kept forgetting because it’s a string of keystrokes that if done in the wrong order doesn’t work at all.

Black line with white background, colour and background layers turned off.

First, turn everything off except the layer you want to cut out. In the example above you can see the white areas behind the black lines that I want to get rid of.

Duplicate Line layer.

Duplicate your line layer, so you have a spare, and turn the original off. I like to duplicate by Alt+drag while clicking on the layer. (It took me a long time before I realised I could do that, hence why I’m writing it here!)

Next, select the entire layer (Cmd+A) and cut it (Cmd+X). Fill the now-empty layer with black (Alt+backspace).

Quick Mask button off / on. (Use Q.)

Turn Quick Mask on by pressing Q, or selecting the button under the colour picker (as above).Paste line art.

Paste (Cmd+V) your line art into the layer. It should look like the above.

Turn Quick Mask off (Q).

Press Q again to turn Quick Mask off.

Invert line art (Cmd+I).

Inverse the image by pressing Cmd+I.
Cut background (Cmd+X), leaving line art.

Cut (Cmd+X) to leave the line art, like so!

Colouring line art.

The reason this is my preferred method is because it’s the best way to recolour my line art. For the purple example above I Cmd+clicked on the preview window in Layers (which selects the entire painted area on a layer) and then filled it (using Alt+backspace again) with purple.

If, however, you aren’t interested in painting the line, then you may prefer one of the other methods.

Technique No. 2

This begins in the same way as No. 1: Duplicate your line layer, copy it and cut it, fill the layer with black.

Create a mask.

Then you select the layer, and add a mask to it using the button highlighted above (“Add vector mask”).
Alt+click to select mask.

Alt+click on the white mask to select it.

Paste line art into mask.

Paste (Cmd+V) into the mask.

Cmd+I to invert line art.

Invert (Cmd+I).Click on ordinary layer to view.

Click out of the mask onto the ordinary layer. As you can see above, though the line art is now free from white the background that was transparent is now black. This is easily solvable by filling in the transparent areas before beginning, but it’s one of the reasons I don’t tend to use this method. Also, there is no way (that I have yet discovered) of colouring the lines.

Technique No. 3

This is the simplest and perhaps best method if all you want to do is get rid of the white. It’s quick and requires no cutting, pasting, or inverting.

Double-click preview window.

Double-click on the line art layer preview window.

Layer Style window opens.

The Layer Style window will pop up.

Select top white slider and drag a couple of degrees.

In the Blend If: Gray area at the bottom, select the top white slider and adjust it by a couple of degrees. I moved it from 255 to 253. The white background will disappear.

Exit window.

Exit the window and, as you can see, only the line art remains.

Example of painting using this technique.However, as the background still exists on the layer and is only hidden from view, it means that painting the line art is not possible.

In the past I have had problems with this method – jagged white remains in corners and so on – but recently it’s been working beautifully.

I hope this is helpful to someone out there! Please let me know if you know of other / better ways of doing this, I’m always looking to learn!

Heads and Tails

I did these sketches last month but only got the chance to colour them today. Most of them are very quick gesture drawings, around 30 seconds. The portrait was drawn in about 5 minutes. I think the fish came out particularly well!
Koala Woman Turtle Faces Fishy

Vases

This morning I attended the fantastic Animation Masterclass with Ronnie del Carmen (@paperbiscuit on Twitter) at the EIFF Youth Hub. He spoke about the creation of Pixar’s “Inside Out” (which I have not yet seen, but am very much looking forward to) and emphasised how important it is to “Make stuff. Show it. Get feedback.”

Feeling inspired, I decided not to go home right away. Instead I went to the museum to draw. Usually I end up standing awkwardly next to the exhibit or uncomfortably cross-legged on the floor, but today I was able to get a little foldable stool and cart it round the place with me! I definitely noticed an increase in productivity due to the fact I was comfortable …

Some of the drawings I did are below. I fell in love with the shapes of the vases, and spent a long time going from cabinet to cabinet.

Vases_01 Vase_09_C copy Vase_08_C copy Vase_10_C copy Vase_11_C copyRow 1: A selection of glass bottles and jars.

Rows 2 & 3: Ancient Peruvian pottery, from the Nasca culture. I loved the titles of these pots, ranging from “hunter with trophy heads” to “fisherman with nets”, not forgetting “anthropomorphic mythical being”.

Rows 4 & 5: Greek and Italian pottery, the dish on row 5 a drinking cup despite being about a foot wide.

New Profile

Me2_02 copy copy

When I drew my previous profile picture back in February (!) I thought I’d try drawing a new one each month. Let’s see if I can get the next one done by December …

Deer Background and Breakdowns

I returned to my deer animation today, changing quite a lot of the ending and adding more breakdowns and inbetweens. I’m planning to clean it up in Photoshop, something like the deer shown below: quite loose and free, hopefully keeping some of the rough nature of the original.Deer03 copyHere’s one of my favourite breakdowns from today:

deer0015

Blast from the Past

I have been clearing out my room (this seems to be a permanent occupation) and recycling old schoolwork, university work, articles, and old drawings and stories by me that just aren’t worth keeping anymore. While doing that, I found these:Peter copy Peter, my family’s first budgie.

OliverTwist copyOliver and Twist were our third and fourth budgies (of many more … ) and were brothers.

Most of my drawings from high school art are not great; I was very timid with mark-making. However, about ten years ago I had my first life drawing classes and my drawing rapidly improved. Then for some reason I gave up art as a subject, and then pretty much stopped drawing entirely for four years. These drawings were not done after that period, and I’m almost certain they wouldn’t have been drawn within that time. I think, then, that these were sketched from photographs during the time I was taking life drawing classes at school. There’s a confidence in the lines that I think I’ve only gained back recently – what a shame! I’d be pleased if I drew these now!

Animals

Yesterday I found a link to the site artists.pixelovely.com which has photographs of people, animals, expressions, etc. that can be viewed as “classes”. This morning I tried out a 30-minute figure drawing class, followed by a 30-minute animal class. There are different things to pick from – clothed, nude, horses, birds – but I chose the most general options. The classes both began with several 30-second poses, followed by gradually lengthening poses. What I really enjoyed about them is that they replicate the drawing-class feel. It’s hard to keep track of the time I spend drawing sometimes! I would recommend checking it out: the site’s free, and though the photographs used wouldn’t be great for very long, high-detail drawing they are great for quick gestures.

Here are some of the drawings I did. My animals ones were generally better (perhaps because I’d spent most of the figure class warming up). I added the colour later.

30 seconds:

Wombat copy Horse01 copy Dog copy Rabbit2 copy

5 minutes:
Dog3 copy Elephant copy Horse copy Dog2 copyI’ve been thinking I need to do some drawings with figures AND background … I seem to usually do one or the other …

Mount Hood

Using some family holiday photographs for reference, I painted Mount Hood (vaguely based on it) for my father’s birthday present. I used gouache and a stencil made from paper which gave interesting gloopy results, especially each time it was reused. Here are the final results below, in the order they were made.Hood1_01 copy Hood2_01 copy A close up, below: a wet wash underneath created these wonderful splodges. This is the painting I chose to give to my dad.Hood2_02 copy At this point, the stencil began to disintegrate.

Hood3_01 copy

Here I flipped the stencil over and used it to print with as well.Hood4_01 copy

Sketches from The Sound of Music

SoundOfMusic copyI love this movie.

I’ve seen lots of sketches from other people who’ve doodled through films, and I’ve always wondered how they can do that. Well, now I’ve tried it I see the appeal! I loved capturing the lighting in the central drawing, and trying to catch likeness while the shot remained on screen (with varying success). I also filled several pages of my notebook more than I normally do when I sketch – I think the changing images helped me try lots of different things as well as work more quickly. Though I’m not sure this would work with every film – “The Sound of Music” has reasonably long shots compared with many modern movies …

Bristol Museum

Tiger copy

I visited Bristol Museum today and sketched some of the creatures there. This tiger was shot by George V in 1911, which is some sort of distinction I suppose. It was in an amazing crouched position and at first glance appeared to be ferocious. The longer I looked at it, however, the more it looked terrified. I don’t think I’ve really captured its expression so I think I shall have to go back and draw it again.

Jerboa copy 2

I’d never heard of a Lesser Egyptian Jerboa, but I feel I should have. It’s so cute!Hyena copy

This hyena eyed me with a hungry expression while I drew it, and seemed to raise one side of its mouth in a “I may look somewhat friendly, but I WILL BITE YOU” way. He reminded me very much of Elsa (my Border Collie).Parrot copyThis Ground Parrot jumped out at me because he seemed so friendly. “Hey! How are you? Let’s be friends. Want to come by for some seeds?”

Birdy

Birdy copy

This little guy appeared while I played with Kyle T. Webster’s great gouache photoshop brushes today.

Old Drawings

Dreid_01 copy

This is one of the first sketches I did for the fire in “Dreid”, my VFS classical animation. (You can find the film in “Shorts”.) I took a picture of the sketch when I had to throw the sketchbook it was in away, and I only found the picture this weekend.Bird copyThis little bird was in the same sketchbook, but he’d been drawn for a different assignment. He looked so cheerful I had to colour him in.

Budgie

Budgie copy

Today’s quick doodle.

I want to try and get away from relying on my sketch lines. I’m finding it difficult to translate them into finished, clean lines!

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