Tuesday, 15 April 2014

digital inspirations

Well, here's a super-massive post for ya, peeps!

If you follow my adventures on Facebook (and I certainly recommend you do; what with the hours in the day being so limited, I do end up posting on there much more than I can here!) you might already know I've been experimenting a lot with digital illustration techniques these past few months. 

Like all of my color pencil illos, I start these off in just the same way: with a fully-realised black and white preparatory sketch, which is either photographed or scanned in at super-high resolution, like 600 dpi (I like the option of making them bigger if I can, without compromising the quality of my mark-making). 

Then I add a series of layers and transperencies in Photoshop, which effectively creates a sort of digital collage, which I blend, manipulate, mask, warp and tint to create an entirely new artwork. Using a texture~ let's say it's something really simple like some paper for instance~ I think for my work, is a million miles more convincing and interesting than colour-blocking with flat digital colour, which can look, well, overly digital. 

That said, I love that digital allows me to be so much braver and bolder with my mark-marking: good art and photography, I have learned, is almost all about good lighting. I am trying to learn how to be braver in the way I light my characters; that was one of my personal goals for moving forward this year.

I'm really after a handmade look to my pictures, so I love textures with imperfections, with a 'tooth' or grain. I make a lot of the textures you see in my work myself (the one below, for example, is about 50 layers worth of my scribbles, splatters, doodlings and colourings, which culminates in a lot of weird and sometimes grubby looking scrap-papers floating around my studio!) I use alllll sorts of strange and wonderful things to create the colour and patterns you see in my pictures, and have been collecting them for years! One of the textures in my texture bank was a rubbing I took from the fireplace of a house we lived in in Tooting, London!

Below each picture you'll find some helpful links and websites where all sorts of wonderful people go about researching, collecting and photographing all sorts of things that fall into the realm of Creative Commons. 

Copyright is always something I consider very, very seriously~ as should all artists, especially those of us who collage! ~ and there are a range of really good resources out there, written in plain English which I recommend you familiarise yourself with if you create stuff too. The laws are very different depending on where you live and create in the world, and also where and what time the stuff you're using was made. If you're in Oz, the Australian Copyright Council is an excellent place to start learning about Copyright. 

'vanilla meow and the cardamom foxlet'

Very special thanks and acknowledgements to the following people for so generously making such wonderful resources for artists like me to use:  
~ CG Textures for their glorious photographs of antique patterned wallpapers, fabrics, stained and coloured papers and a whole range of other awesome stuff;
~ Lost and Taken for their gorgeous damask fabric textures and stained papers; 
~ Obsidian Dawn for their incredible Photoshop eyelash brushes (hehe, really great to help make my charaacter's eyes pop!)
~ Photos Public Domain for their excellent array of colour paper textures (much more convincing than just colour-blocking with Photoshop flat colour; these ones especially have a really nice 'tooth');  
~ rainbowd00dles for creating a stellar freckle texture (oh, but I do love me some good freckles!);
~ Jen Furlotte at Pixels and Ice Cream for her gorgeous damask pattern.


Very kindest thanks to: 
 ~ The Graphics Fairy for the beautiful antique floral engravings and decorative frames and labels;
~ CG Textures for their glorious photographs of antique patterned wallpapers, fabrics, stained and coloured papers and a whole range of other awesome stuff.


Best thanks to: 
 ~ The Graphics Fairy for the beautiful antique engravings and scientific illustrations she collects;
~ CG Textures for their glorious photographs of vintage fabrics, and stained papers.


My very nicest thanks to:
~ CG Textures for their glorious photographs of antique patterned wallpapers, lace trims, and stained papers;
~ Obsidian Dawn for their uber-awesome eyelash brushes;
~ rainbowd00dles for her awesome freckle overlay.

'the future's so bright, i gotta wear shades'

My goodest acknowledgements to:  
~ Timbuk3 for creating such a cool song with such sassy lyrics!;
~ CG Textures for their excellent flower photographs;
~ rainbowd00dles for her fabulous freckle texture;
 ~ The Graphics Fairy for the beautiful antique floral engravings;
~ Media Militia for some excellent watercolour splatters; 
~ Christopher Hansen for his wonderfully distressed font, Beyond Wonderland.

'monsieur toof' 

And lastly, thanks a bunch to:
~ The Graphics Fairy for the beautiful antique cards and labels on her lovely site;
~ CG Textures for their glorious photographs of antique patterned wallpapers and stained papers;
~ John Holmdahl for his fabulous font, 1942 Report.


You can find all of these beauties very shortly in my Etsy shop, or from little 'ol me in the flesh, on the loose at a market near you! Check out my Facebook page if you'd like to catch me in Melbourne; I'm travelling all over and post regular updates about where you can find me out and about on the weekends. 

Have an awesome rest-of-the-week you sweet peeps!

♥  Mel x 

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