The snow is beginning to melt, leaving icy pools of water and slush. As I struggled through it on a walk this afternoon I thought it would be a good subject for today’s study.

StudySquares_05c

I struggled with this one. Choosing the colour and getting the texture right was difficult, and I don’t feel I’ve completely succeeded in either area. This was a study of a canvas bag. I guess I need to paint more cloth!

StudySquares_03

There’s a little maple tree outside my window in the new house. At the beginning of the year when we had quite a lot of snow I did a quick study of it because I loved the way the snow blobbed around the branches. A couple of weeks ago, I did another study. It’s fun to compare them (I didn’t refer back to the snowy one at all) and see the differences, particularly in the way I’ve painted the branches.

TreeTreeSpring

Yesterday I sketched Elsa as she chewed on a toy. Occasionally she’d bring it over to me and dump it at my feet before retreating across the room to stare at me. She usually wore an accusing look at this point – “What, you haven’t thrown it yet?”

I’m a bit unsure about my painting below; it’s quite wonky but it was fun to play with colour. Usually I stick to sketches, but the Sketch app on the iPad Pro is amazingly versatile and I’m looking forward to trying more painting on the go.

Elsa_04Elsa_01Elsa_02Elsa_03

It’s been over a year since I last updated my portfolio and showreel so (thanks to the prodding of others) I’m finally sorting through my work. In doing so I uncovered this painting of Glencoe. From what I remember I abandoned it in frustration, but I quite like it now! It’s loosely based on a photograph I took the last time I was there.Glencoe

PiecesOfSky_001

I love looking at the sky and seeing how different it appears every day and night. For a while I’ve been wondering about doing quick little colour studies of what a piece of sky has looked like, and today I managed to sketch one!

After a bright, clear day heat haze fell. Now it’s reflecting the orange glow of the streetlights.

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!

Jericho Beach

Clearing through my files today I found this sketch I did in Vancouver. It was a nice warm day so I went to the beach to doodle and draw. Today Edinburgh is cold and rainy and feels more like February than June, so I coloured my old sketch to remind me of warmer days …
JerichoBeach JerichoBeachColour

Landscape 01

I’d like to get into the habit of drawing daily so I’ve come up with a list of short exercises to do, one each day. Today’s was a landscape study.

Landscape_01_Image copyMountain landscape 478216 from http://wallpaper-kid.com/mountain-landscape-backgrounds.htm

Landscape_01_BW copyI did a B&W study first to try and understand the tones in the photograph. In my sketch it’s difficult to distinguish between the mountains and the rocky formation in the foreground. In future I’ll allow myself to play with more values of grey. It also took me a while to realise that though the shadows on the mountains were dark they were lighter than the shadows in the foreground.
Landscape_01 copyFor this exercise I took the colours directly from the photograph. I plan to build up to the point where I choose my own palette, and work in real paint, pencils, pastels etc.

Profile

Me

I decided I needed a new profile picture and thought I’d draw one! This is referenced from a photograph my sister took.

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

Dunes

Desert copy

I got some new paintbrushes for Christmas, so I played around with gouache this morning!

Close-ups below.

P1050532 copy P1050539 copy

Christmas copy

 

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.
Micah 5:2

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’
Matthew 2:1-2

Gouache II

Princess copy Birds copy Cat copy Bird copyI had fun painting with gouache last night! I bought three more tubes of paint as last time I only had yellow, red, and blue. Also I planned ahead a bit more, taking some designs from my sketchbook to paint instead of attempting to make them up on the spot.

Reflections

14_15_inprogress02

Another page from my book. The perspective on the dogs’ reflections is tricky to get right. I think I’ll need to adjust it further before painting them and finishing the water.

Gouache1 copySince I began playing around with digital gouache brushes I wanted to try out the real thing. I bought some paints today and smudged them about in one of my sketchbooks. I like how they’re a combination of acrylics and watercolours! And yet, unlike either, gouache keeps its richness even when a little watered down. When painted without any water at all, it dries completely differently from acrylic. I like it!

One of my frustrations with painting has been with my dislike of paint. I’ve always found watercolours too pale, acrylics too thick when dry and too pale when wet, and though I like oils they’re a real hassle. Here’s gouache, a real thick paint that I can easily clean from my palette!

P1050150 copy

Watercolour Portrait

 

 

I actually painted this a while ago at a life drawing session. I need to keep practising with watercolours; it’s difficult!

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