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Entries in digital art (2)


What I Learned About Digital Art

In the past weeks, since beginning this venture of the Earth PD Comic, I've learned many things in design, drawing, and digital art. I will now keep a running log of those discoveries. These first few will be from memory which is not the best way. Future things I learned will be on the spot.

Making Brushes

Illustrator has a variety of built-in calligraphy and art brushes. It seemed like a good place to start. I soon found these were lacking for my needs. So I began searching for tutorials on brush making and found different methods from different people. I found the common thread that ran through these tutorials was they showed me exactly what I needed but somehow, it didn't turn out the way the tutorial told it would. There was always something just a little off in the end.

I concluded that being a complex program with many intricate settings, it's easy for one artist to have their program set up to their specifications and this leading to getting particular results when they make brush. Or some important detail is not mentioned in the tutorial that causes my brush to not give me the results I viewed in their video.

It was after much trying and failing that I got the brushes I wanted. It was necessary to view these tutorials, more than once, pulling out bits and pieces from each then combine all this accumulated knowledge to get the results I expected


Tutorials that show drawing a line, turning initiate a shape, then tweaking that shape all have one thing lacking - addressing the initial thickness of the line used and the size of the artboard. I watch them create a line. I duplicate the procedure exactly. My line is inherently much thicker than I see in the video. My conclusion was the artboard must be large to have that brush look perfect when they're drawing over their sketch.

Action Taken (or will be taking)

The action I will be taking is an experiment with doubling the size of my dartboard and fitting my template to match the new size. I will create the brushes as seen in the video and see if I do indeed, get the results as seen on the vide.


What I've Learned About Computer Art

It's really what I've learned about drawing, inking, and coloring in Illustrator. The answer is, quite a lot. IN my initial decision to use Illustrator instead of the standard Photoshop for my coloring seems like an odd choice at first. But keeping within the bounds of the 1940s/50s style of artwork meant I wouldn't need much of the effects that are available in Photoshop. It wold also keep a little more honest.

The biggest thing I'm learning is the difficulties in inking in Illustrator. Attempting to lay down lines without an extra curl being added before or after the stroke can be frustrating. And it's compounded by the fact I am unable to find and assistance with my searches on the web. I've picked up an occasional tip here and there but not one good tutorial or video on Illustrator inking techniques.

And I can say the same thing about coloring in Illustrator. Everything is either Photoshop or using Live Paint function in Illustrator. The Live Paint functionality is very much like the effects in Photoshop. Designed for ease of painting sections but mostly for shading sections with lighter or darker colors. Again, not a function I use with the style I'm creating. My biggest problem with the Live Paint function is the necessity of turning all the strokes you've laid down into shapes. I prefer to have my black lines stay as lines.


Probably the biggest discovery in Illustrator I've made in a while is getting those half-tones correct. No, it's not the Color Halftone in the Effect menu. I have tried (unsuccessfully a few times) and not been able to make it do what I wanted. What I did find was a tutorial on How to Create a Pop Art Avatar with Adobe Illustrator. Instead of the intricate modeling of halftones, it takes a different path to the effect. It does it with Patterns. Design a repeating dot pattern with various sized dots, select a shape, and fill it with the dot pattern.

I'm also experimenting on varying the size of the dots as well as the size of the pattern. Everything affects the final look. The experiments will continue until I have a full set of patterns in a library that can be pulled up for use on every page.

I am working toward creating various flesh tones with multiple dot patterns, exactly how I've seen it done on older comic books. On the page I'm working with (which will be revealed in a few weeks) I've put three different flesh tones down. I'm still tweaking the process but it looks like it will work just fine.

There really isn't a good choice for caucasian skin in the 64 colors palette available—unless you use a halftone. and it's ten-fold when trying to make the yellow, brown, or black skin-tones.

Funny thing is, this is similar to the way a printer would have created these tone on a four-color press. Guess those odds and ends that were floating in the back of my brain actually became useful.