Friday, September 27, 2013

Having Way Too Much Fun wiht PicMonkey

I trimmed down a pencil sketch from 2001, added some layers and text and it looks just like it was hand stamped.

Two things strike me about this composition: first that the incense burner would make a lovely stamp on its own. And I should probably do something about that. Second, I need to work this up for real with one of the copies that I have.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Digital Art is Quick Success

It's like my mom always used to say, "You can't do for one without the others screaming." So instead of going to bed when I got home, which would be the smart thing to do. I made a banner for this blog. With luck I can show you the progression before I dump the scraps from the computer. Keep your fingers crossed that I kept a good record of my work.

You were supposed to keep your fingers crossed. Of course I only saved twice.

Well, at least you can still see what I did. After cropping out all the background crap from the watercolor, I added some filter layers which put a wee bit of a spotlight focus on the forward most plum.

Then I added some overlays from picmonkey's postal collection. Each "stamp" was hand tinted to color match the plums, faded and the eraser tool removed the marks that fell across the plums so that the fruits would continue to stand out. Then a layer of blood splatters tinted to look like spilled paint because that is the idiotic thing that I did in the original painting which I've not known exactly how to work around. So... play up the mistake. And since the blog is called "spilt paint" it seems to make a lot of sense.

After that the corners and the text were the only things to do. Except... I wasn't exactly happy with the flatness. So I added a drop shadow and fiddled with it. Picmonkey lets you adjust all of the shadow elements just like a regular photoshop program. With the color picker tool I was able to keep a harmonious color scheme. Because of the choices I made I was able to make it look like the kind of hand stamped cards I used to do, using double sided foam to add depth. This gave the effect of the stamped postal images being stamped off onto the "scrap" which instead of being thrown away became the matte for the main image. That was a framing trick we employed at work to avoid the waste that otherwise might pile up while making sample cards to send to clients.

I even thought this would be a cool print without all the officious poop that has to compose a blog header. I was quite happy with it at that point. More than I have ever been with the original. Though I do think that I am being quite hard on myself. And should probably stop.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Media indeed

So now that I know where I can play and do a reasonably good job adjusting the real world art that didn't exactly turn out as I hoped it would to make something much better in the digital realm.... well I think that I am going to get a reasonably good base of work to sell as prints.

Steal this and I will have to send something menacing after you....

The brilliant thing about digital is that I can keep the original hard copy that I am actually terrified of modifying in real life and muck about as much as I want to amending it until I find something that I really like and would be more than happy to offer as prints.
I had intended to trim around the petals and leaves at the side to force some creative matting. Either I have talked myself out of such a complicated brewhaha though it would make a stunning framed piece. Or.... I realized that there is not enough cutout material available to make it really work the way I envisioned. I am not sure which is more likely. And I am having a hard time justifying the cost of printing (even a lowly photocopy) to play with the concept just yet. Add to that the embellishments that I envisioned going onto this are not exactly available yet.... I have to find a way to generate my own. And well.... this has been stuck in the "now what?" queue for a while.
Enter picmonkey. And now I have something a lot closer to what I originally envisioned. The embellishments are not precisely what I want. But the beauty of digital is that I can work it without worrying about recreating the base water color painting. Whoo hoo!
So as far as print costs go: To get the cheapest print cost I have to supply the digital file exactly as I would have it appear in print. If they photograph it and do a couple of tweaks it is 60.00. If they photograph it and spend the amount of time it takes to make it EXACT to the original then it is 125.00. I don't have that kind of start up. But.... I do like the way that this has turned out. And I would not mind having this as a print. I feel like it needs a bit more tweaking. But I now know that I can have what I was looking for and I can start at the cheap prices and start making money sooner.
This is a very popular piece. I have three people who want the original, two will settle for the print. So it is a good start. But I want to be able to let the original go without hassling the new owner for a trip to the printers.
And let's be honest. I am a bit scared to even attempt to price these things. I still am scared of actually getting paid to do this.
Everyone else gets paid to do what they love. There is no reason that I should not be paid for it as well. Just gotta get those damn voices in my head to shut up for a few months. :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Creating in new Media

You all know I don't do digital. I have this thing about getting my hands dirty. It doesn't really seem like artwork if it isn't messy. Well today I discovered that you can make a right fine mess with the computer. While checking out blogs for things that I was missing out on (hilarity ensues without my constant attention) I found some interesting computer advice. And then I went bat shit crazy.

Four hours, three whiney comments on various forums and two snotty "stupid technology" rants on Facebook late I was rockin' a new header. And the more I looked at this fabulous new creation the more I thought to myself "Houston. We have a problem." That is after the problem of not knowing how to get it onto my blogger blog. Guess what. They make that easy for 5 year olds like me without the patience to dig through forums full of opinions from people who know of what they speak. The real problem came when I got done.... it was awful once it was on the site.

I started with this

and got this

I thought about it for a couple of hours, listened to Sting's new album (AWESOME!!!!!) and it hit me. When I resized it to fit across the space that blogger allows for a header I did it when I was done adding special effects. So when I resized it to stretch it out the typography stretched along with all the design elements. Oy! I ended up starting over.

Thankfully the site, picmonkey, is really easy to learn, easy to use and fairly simple to remember where everything is. So I uploaded the picture again and went to work. And then I crashed the site. Well I crashed my page. I did not save frequently so the pic monkey in the barrel had a conniption fit like someone said its brain would be chilled for dessert. So that makes take five. Annnnnnnnnnnnd cut!

If you use any software editor to make a banner for your website size your first layer (the picture you chose to edit) according to what fits with blogger. I ended up using 3900x1800 or something like that. Your first number (at least in picmonkey) is the length (duh! but it took me a while to remember that) and that is the key. Then you size the height so that your picture doesn't look too squishy. Then you can add all the frills & furbelows you like without worries.

The final result is soooooo much better than the crap that was up for a couple of hours. I could not have done it without and a very helpful gent at blogger forums who granted me my request and talked to me like I was five.

and this is the new header over on the geek blog.

So much better this way. And I decided to add a copyright to the banner this time around. Of course now that I have played with a digital version I am anxious to go back and finish the canvas. The only problem is that the canvas is much taller and the base photo is only the bottom 5th of the panel.

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