Tag Archives: reference photo

Water Orchid (digital, WIP, part I)

Water Orchid (digital, WIP, part I)

Figures and lines. I missed looking at pictures of lovely naked people. Seeing the form, the contours, all that gorgeous stuff. After I spotted a great reference photo online, I thought why not try it out for fun?

I found a picture of a woman in a bathtub. The intimacy of her, all alone, leaning into the water and stretching across the back of the tub was soothing. She is smiling and happy. There is relaxation and the feeling of the day fading away. This small moment of quiet made me feel so zen. So, I thought, wouldn’t this be great to work with? It’s relatively simple in composition, so I could focus on the few elements (and representative lines) in the picture.

Step One: The Reference Photo

Water Orchid - orig img
The original image. The reference photograph.

 

I zoomed in and arranged the composition as I thought it looked best. The image became the background layer. I added Layer One and began to think about getting basic lines down.

Step Two: Basic Lines

Going over the original image on a second layer. Keeping the lines loose, but as faithful to the original image in this beginning stage.
Going over the original image on a second layer.

 

The goal in this step is to keep the lines loose, but as faithful as possible to the original image in this beginning stage. I want to feel the lines, and get my brain familiar with the curves as I’m setting up my work in the following steps.

 

Step Three: Cleaning Up Phase One + Hand-Drawn Lines

I removed the background layer and begin free-handing lines.
I removed the background layer and began free-handing.

This process requires zooming in and out of the image about a million times, and going over areas repeatedly. This is the beginning of artistic expression, as some of the lines get altered based on my preferences and what I wish to feature. I begin thinking in the back of my mind about line weight — how thick or thin I want lines, which represent different aspects of her features. I want to loose the original “seriousness” of the original image trace lines and start to open up, making this my own image, in my own conceived style.


This is as far as I’ve gotten with this project. Step Three will take many more iterations and line cleanings, which will become subsequent steps. I will update this as I work more. I will post the second part of this short sharing tutorial when complete!

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Penney

Filed Under: Art
Three Succulents With Neon Colors (digital)

Three Succulents With Neon Colors (digital)

three-succs-lowres-fromInstagram

 

ABOUT THIS PICTURE

Digital art. I made this using Sketchbook Pro on my smartphone! It’s a Galaxy Note 4, which has a lovely little stylus. I worked on this while I was doing my laundry at the laundromat, which goes to show you can fit creativity in at any time! This was a short sketch, using an existing photo I took of some succulents. Being able to use my own reference photo really makes the art process a lot more fun. I feel more emotionally connected to the final art product. I know where I was, and what I was doing while I took the original photo. I remember why I was entranced, and what was originally artistically pleasing to me about seeing this in real life. I like the lines of succulents. The innner and outer shapes, the colors, the way everything is so delicate in form and yet so sturdy at the same time. They are hardy, yet pretty plants, and emotionally, I like to think of myself the same way. Maybe they’ll be my personal icon from now on. Seems like a good choice, doesn’t it? (If you want to see work-in-progress photos of this work, please go to my WIP page.)

Filed Under: Art
Three Mushrooms (digital art / WIP)

Three Mushrooms (digital art / WIP)

Out on a walk, I found the cutest and most-nicely assembled bunch of mushrooms.

The three mushrooms. The original image I'm using as a reference.
The three mushrooms. The original image I’m using as a reference.

 

I took a picture. Once I got home, I loaded this picture in Sketchbook Pro and started tracing and modifying the lines.

I began to outline the contours of the mushrooms and drew lines of represent their interior texture.
I began to outline the contours of the mushrooms and drew lines representing their interior texture.

 

Continuing to fill in the smaller mushrooms while using the original image as a guideline.
Continuing to fill in the smaller mushrooms while using the original image as a guideline.

 

It is a work-in-progress, so I don’t have the image finalized yet, but seeing the progress in a post like this is helpful for me. It gives me a chance to become more familiar with the image, and share. This is the image showing the line work I’ve done with no background image. As you can see, the line work is very clean and represents the shapes and unique texture of the mushrooms very well. (And we haven’t even done coloring or textures yet, which are to come.)

The current line art, I'm mostly finalized -- all the major shapes are represented with sufficient line detail.
The current line art, I’m mostly finalized — all the major shapes are represented with sufficient line detail.

 

The beginning of testing some colors -- which is the next step: inking.
The beginning of testing some colors — which is the next step: inking.

 

I’m excited to see how this turns out. The playful shapes in the interior of the mushroom were a lot of fun to draw, and gave me some good eye-to-hand exercise. I’m really enjoying the freedom of digital artwork, and the ability to make multiple iterations and moods to the same structural image.

Filed Under: Art
Diane (graphite drawing)

Diane (graphite drawing)

 

 

Diana-portrait-02
“Diane”, portrait, an overview.

 

Portrait drawing alongside the reference photo I used.
Portrait drawing alongside the reference photo I used.

 

ABOUT THIS PICTURE

8.5″ x 11″ graphite on paper. This took a little over an hour to draw. In an attempt to get some portrait drawing practice warmed up again, I started sketching from a reference photo of photographer Diane Arbus (reference photo is here). I had some difficulty getting accustomed to the idea of measuring. Mostly working through it loosely, gesture drawing, I was able to come up with some approximate features. As you can see from the last picture comparing the reference against the final drawing, there are some slight misplacements: the eyelids are a bit too long, the eyebrows are not quite placed, and the lips are a bit overly-heavy in gradient, specifically the lower lip. The necklace needs a bit more a bend, and her hairline needs a slight adjustment to the left. Had I been evaluating these things carefully while I was drawing, instead of being completely absorbed, and measured accurately before drawing (and especially shading) the likeness would have been better. This is a thing I’m having to really work on: making decisions while drawing. It’s all-too-easy to get caught up and miss the details. In terms of developing my eye without measuring, this is a good exercise, but if I were to really do an honest, thorough work, I would definitely measure, measure, measure, and re-measure. It’s a discipline I have to work on, but I know if I put some time and attention into it, the rewards will be more than worthwhile.

Filed Under: Art
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