By The Lake

By The Lake

By The Lake

Well, I am playing around with some digital art using Photoshop. I’ve done plenty of work with on my maps and photos, but this image (By The Lake) is the first “art” I have created in a purely digital fashion.

I spent a couple of hours on it experimenting with brushes and trying to replicate some techniques I had seen in a video on-line.  So far, I did not manage to fully replicate the brush behavior I was seeking, but I will keep playing with it and we’ll see how this first image compares to the next version I make.

Copic Marker Class

We took a trip to St. Louis and attended a wonderful Copic Marker class on Friday and Saturday taught by Lori Craig. As a kid, I sketched a lot. However, that was before markers were a thing, so I never learned how to use them.  Since Sherri wanted to take the classes, I went ahead and joined her and I really had fun. I also learned a number of things, which will help make doing more with the markers a lot easier. (We can skip past the part of me spending money on a Copic Airbrush system.)

I’ve attached a few of the colorings we did as part of the practice. They are not masterpieces. Many of these were quick and several went unfinished so that we could keep up with the fast pace of the class. It was not overwhelming, but you could not spend an hour on an image to make it perfect. I think a number of the images turned out decent for my first go. Fortunately, we got two copies of each image to go back later and practice with some more.

Blending Colors

Copic-flowerFor the classes, we were given a number of line art images to color as we practiced certain techniques. One of the big advantages of alcohol markers is their ability to blend, so that was one of the things we were practicing.  I used five or six colors to blend the petals of the flower.

There are several ways to blend (flicking color with quick strokes, going over the paper with different colors, really saturating the paper, tip to tip color transfers, using paint trays like you might with watercolors, …) The markers really are versatile.

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Weekend Sketching at Old Shawnee Town

First, let me apologize for my lack of recent posts. I’ve been so focused on getting book 5 done that I pretty much let my blog languish. The good news is that book 5 is going to the editor this week, so yeah!

Sketching Old Shawnee TownSo as part of my relaxing and doing things other than finishing up a manuscript, I decided to pick up a pencil and do some sketching (Sherri has been a big motivation in that).I used to draw all the time and Sherri and I actually got to know each other in an art class. It has been something I’ve missed sketching and I plan to do more as well as branch out into things I have not done before. Things like markers, watercolors, and digital media. Okay, the maps are digital, but I mean digital figure drawing.  I will have to see how easily I can adapt to sketching on the computer.

Anyway, because it was 70 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend (odd for the middle of winter in Kansas) we went out, plopped our butts on the ground, and spent about an hour drawing. The attached image is not a masterpiece, but it is the first thing I’ve really drawn in 15 years, so it will take a little while to get back into the process and it was not the easiest perspective to start off with.  The biggest challenge was that we were sitting on the ground and looking up, but from our angle, the roof over the porch was not visible either from the top or the bottom, just directly at the side.  I am glad I had an eraser for the number of times I had to tweak the angles.

Since I’ve scanned it in, I was thinking to try my hand at doing some digital coloring. If it comes out reasonably, I’ll share it.

Copic Markers – What’s in the big sets?

Copic Marker SetSo, my wife and I are interested in some Copic Markers. These are professional artist markers and since she started playing with markers, I’ve kind of picked up a little bug and have the desire to play with them as well.

She’s tried several different brands of markers and I’ve tried them in a more limited fashion. I will say from our experience that the Copic Markers are just a level above the others. However, the most affordable way to buy the markers (which can be $6 or $7 dollars each) is to buy the sets.

Now, Copic Markers come in several different size sets (3, 6, 12, 24, 36, and 72 pens). However, considering the price per pen, the 72 marker set is the way to go (they are around $350 for each set from several locations). There are five 72-marker sets in the Sketch line, which is the one aimed at artists. That is a total of 360 markers (with 358 unique colors, black and white showing up twice).

The problem I found is that it is hard to compare the colors you get in each set. When looking for the “best set to start with” there was not a clear answer. Buying all five sets is a significant investment and it is more probable that you might buy one or two big sets and fill in with smaller sets or individual markers to get your working set of markers.

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