Flowerina (digital art tutorial)

Flowerina (digital art tutorial)

I know of a lot of traditional artists who use paper and pen exclusively. I think that’s great. I really do. I find myself pulling out a notebook and a colorful pen or trusty graphite and getting down to business. There isn’t much that feels better, actually. The contact of utensil on paper, the movement, the instant gratification, the muscle and eye coordination, the connection. It’s amazing.

The only part of the art-creating process I tripped over, over and over again was making a great picture show up digitally. You mean, I have to stop everything I’m doing, set up perfect lighting conditions and take a picture of my picture? And all too often, the result would be a ghost of the original in-person glory. I thought: why not skip a step and learn how to make art digitally? After buying some cheap equipment, but a reliable tool, and finding some sketch software that is intuitive and compatible with other standard color and drawing software (such as Photoshop and Illustrator, etc.) and works in a mobile app, the feasibility of making art digitally got within the realm of worthwhile.

After months of practice, playing, and manipulating, I completed a digital work! This is the digital final of an original traditionally-drawn picture Flowerina. She started out as a simple line drawing with a ballpoint pen. As time went on, and I got a new cheap (but technically sound) computer that has pressure-sensitive capabilities (Fujitsu Lifebook). I decided to make Flowerina a digital artwork. The process took me a great deal of time: from her humble beginnings, to rough new beginnings, to smoothing out, to refining. Of course, for it all to work, time and (mostly) discipline were needed!

**(Click on ANY of the images below for their full-resolution glory.)**

1. Humble Beginnings
(To read about the start of Flowerina, click here.)

Flowerina - first sketch
This is the first ballpoint pen sketch done in August 2015.

 


 

2. Rough New Beginnings
(To read about the digital inking process, and see pictures, click here.)

This is Flowerina after being scanned, placed into Sketchbook Pro, and traced over digitally.
This is Flowerina after being scanned, placed into Sketchbook Pro, and traced over digitally.

 


 

3. Smoothing Out 

After the lines are drawn and everything has shaped up to an agreeable form, it's time for smoothing all the jagged lines. The red arrows indicate problem areas I worked out.
After the lines are drawn and everything has shaped up to an agreeable form, it’s time for smoothing all the jagged lines. The red arrows indicate problem areas I worked out.

 


 

4. Refining (aka A Lot of Zooming in and out)

With all these lines, there are bound to be some areas that need help. Red circles indicate areas that needed some cleaning.
With all these lines, there are bound to be some areas that need help. Red circles indicate areas that needed some cleaning.

 

Here are some problems areas circled in yellow. I spent some extra time making these areas nicer.
Here are some problems areas circled in yellow. I spent some extra time making these areas nicer.

 

The settings I used on my soft eraser for thinning squiggly lines.
The settings I used on my hard eraser for thinning squiggly lines.

 

Zoomed into the middle of the image, working on seeing those sneaky squiggles.
Zoomed into the middle of the image, working on seeing those sneaky undesirable squiggles.

 

Zoomed in, and looking hard for any wayward lines.
Zoomed in, and looking hard for any wayward lines.

 


 

5. The End Product

After a good four hours of smoothing lines, erasing, cleaning, adding lines, etc., I arrive at the final product.

The final product. The most structurally sound version of the image, clean and ready to be happily modified to whatever is artistic and fun.
The final product. The most structurally sound version of the image, clean and ready to be happily modified to whatever is artistic and fun.

 


 

6. Alternate Possibilities

Because Flowerina is now digital art, I can easily make modifications. For example, I wanted to see what she would look like in black and white. I selected her, and made some color changes, and I got to see instant results from that moment of whimsy-thought; nothing is permanent with digital work.

The digital drawing (which was purple) converted to black lines.
The digital drawing (which was purple) converted to black lines.

 

Zoomed-in on the midsection of the picture, with black lines.
Zoomed-in on the midsection of the picture, with black lines.

 


 

 

7. Playful Variations

Because I have a nice, clean digital image to work with, I get to have fun and play with colors!

A variation with the purple line and a light purple background.
A variation with the purple line and a light purple background.

 

Flowerina - Black Line with Purple Bkgrd
Black line with purple background.

 

Black line with rosy background.
Black line with rosy background.

 

Purple line with yellow background.
Purple line with yellow background.

 


This was a fun work for me. I enjoyed the cleaning and editing, even though it took hours, and months in the grand scope of time, with many transformations. I learned a lot, using digital tools, but also about the process of working a piece of art from conception to finish. I look forward to getting faster and better at it as I work on more, and getting more reliable and artistically fantastic results with the powerful tools software provides. I want tools to cut out repetitive time-wasting and enable innovative creativity.

Filed Under: Art

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