Month: November 2009

Ted’s back…

Another commission piece of Travelling Ted, this time playing golf. Here is the rough design.


…and here is the finished piece. Had to make a few changes to the rough – a baseball cap instead of a hat with the word adidas written on it and also needed his belly slimming down a touch (i wish it was that easy in the real world!).



On the drawing board…

Here is the rough artwork for the PC Academy second picture with Neil and Tony sat in the sledge filled with presents and rudolph pulling it. As you can see the black outline is finished and im halfway into blocking the colours, not sure if there is going to be a background yet but will post the final artwork when its completed.


Just breathe…

WIDGET ALERT!!! – Another single from Pearl Jam, my favourite from the backspacer album (good choice me thinks!).

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Its here……HOORAH!!!!!


Finally after weeks and weeks of waiting, the postie put a dvd shaped parcel through the letterbox Saturday morning and after nearly falling down the stairs and breaking my neck, ripped it open and lo and behold it was Windows 7. So it was banged straight into the PC and installed….. 2 hours later…. i cant tell the difference, infact…. its exactly the same as Vista SP2… apart from the taskbar is different and it shows you open windows better i suppose. I dunno. Maybe i’ll get more excited when i start figuring out all the amazing new stuff theyve cleverly hidden away from me somewhere but for the moment it just looks the same. Didn’t cost nothing though as it came free with the PC so i shouldnt complain, just slightly bemused at all the hype its been getting. Anyway, had a great weekend doing bits and bobs, went to a bonfire with lots of fireworks and tomorrow starting on 2 more commission pieces to be finished by friday…hopefully. Might even decide to wash the car if the weather is nice…

(edit) sod the car!

Drawing caricatures (part III)…

How to draw caricatures… part III – Adding volume and detail
Now that the colours are all blocked in its time to start adding all the volume, depth and detail to the caricature. You can start on any part of the caricature but I usually begin with the most focal point which is the face, then work in the body and then finally the background although in this example there is no background, only the 2 characters to complete. I start by selecting the flat fleshtone of the face with the magic wand tool in photoshop which masks off that colour from all the other parts of the caricature (you will see marching ants around the colour block) and so you can be as loose with the brush as you want and not worried about touching the other colour parts with the paintbrush tool. The block colour you added in part II of the tutorial basically acts as a mid tone and you working all the darker and lighter areas into the artwork but if its not the right colour (which it usually isnt) just pick the correct colour in the colour palette and with a 100% brush flow paint in the correct mid tone colour.



Now the fun begins as the artwork takes shape. Using the paintbrush tool I go for a largish brush size and take the opacity down to about 5% and start laying down a slightly darker flesh colour to begin creating form and depth to the face. I continue to work a darker flesh colour a little at a time to build up the face shadows. I then select red and reduce the brush opacity to 3% to wash reds into the skintones in the nose, cheeks etc and other areas where the skin tends to be redder. I continue to work in the darker areas and also make a start on the highlights so i can get a grasp on how dark the dark areas need to get. The most obvious highlight areas are the end of the nose, the cheeks, the chin and the lips. I also use a bright white for a couple of really bright spots like the cheeks and nose tip but it is mostly a paler flesh tone than the original. If its a mans face then you can also add some blue/green at 5% opacity to the beard area if needed.


Once the face is mostly completed I deselect the marching ants round the face and make a start on the clothes and hands with the same method, selecting the area to work on with the magic wand tool, adding in the dark shadow areas first and then adding the lighter colours for the highlights giving everything depth and form. Here ive completed the santa outfit, the trousers and shoes and the santa hat, the white fur on the santa outfit will be added later.


I then start work on the elf, shading in the shoes, tights, shorts, shirt, and hat.


Once the whole picture is completed the work will have gotten to a detailed enough stage so that nothing requires masking and you can start on the tighter detail using small brushes and lots of zooming in and out. This is quick and fun to do and happens fast, adding all the hair into the beard areas and facial hair, highlight areas around the edges of the characters towards the light source, and maybe adding some texture to the material of the clothes and other details in the caricature. This is the beauty of drawing digitally rather than pen and paper as you can go from dark areas to highlights and quickly change colours without missing a beat. I tend to go for a watercolour look to the caricatures now rather than trying to get everything seemless and airbrushed as i used to in the past, it makes the artwork look more looser and has more energy.

It usually takes about 3 hours to finish adding the volume and detail and i’ve found the best thing to do when you’ve finished is leave it a few hours, go do something else and come back with a fresh mind and see if theres anything that needs adding or changing (which there usually is), but once im happy with it, and after lots of chin scratching and umming and arrring, i flatten the image so all the layers become 1 layer, save it as a TIFF file and its sending off to the customer or adding to the website.

So, basically the black lines define the edges and form and the colours add the values and depth of these forms. To demonstrate this, here is part of the finished artwork of the image with and without lines – and you can see that without the lines it looks terrible and messy, but with the lines added it holds everything together.


Finally here is the finished piece. The END! Sleep….


Drawing caricatures (part II)…

How to draw caricatures… part II – Blocking in the colours’

Now that the black outline is done its ready for colouring in. This is the boring part of the caricature…but its got to be done. If the black outline was done using normal pencil/pen and paper then it will need to be scanned into the computer at about 400dpi. Once opened in photoshop you will need to go through the next series of steps to turn the black and white scan into a seperate layer. First, turn the image into grayscale by clicking Image > Mode > Grayscale, then click on Layer > Duplicate Layer. Now we have 2 layers on the layers palette, the black and white image in grayscale and above it the duplicate of that layer.




Now, i dont know how all this works but…. it works, if you click the topmost layer (background copy), turn the layer into CMYK Image mode by clicking Image > Mode > CMYK colour, and click dont flatten on the pop up menu.



Then on the layers palette click on the drop down menu and click on Multiply. Now click on the bottom layer in the layers palette called ‘background’ and then on the top menu bar click Select > All, make sure the background colour is white and then hit the delete key on the keyboard. THATS IT!!!.




The result is a white background layer and the black outline layer above (background copy – which you can rename to black outline by double clicking it). Both ways of completing the black outline (1) pencil & paper, scanned in and (2) computer tablet completed like part 1 of the tutorial should now be at the same place. Both have a white background and above it a black outline. So now we start blocking in the colours.

First off we need to make another layer to go inbetween the white background layer and the black outline. Click on Layer > New > Layer and a new layer will appear in the layers palette (make sure its in between the other 2 layers). In the diagram here you can see Layer 1 inbetween the layers ‘black outline’ and ‘background’.



Now click on Layer 1 in the layers palette and you can begin blocking in the colour on the caricature with the paintbrush tool. You will notice the colour will go underneath the black outline image not over it so its very easy to block it all in, here i have saved the PC academy caricature at various stages to show you how it takes shape. You dont need to match the correct colours too but it helps to make it similar to the colour you want, just make sure everything is filled in with blocks of different colours as its the next stage where you will start to add all the detail and volume… which i’ll tell you about tomorrow!




tomorrow – part III ‘Adding volume and detail’

Drawing caricatures (part I)…

A few people have asked me how i go about inking and colouring in my cartoons/caricatures so heres the first part of my how to guide. For this tutorial I will be using a Wacom Cintiq tablet and pen and the art program Photoshop CS4 for drawing and colouring in. Many artists use pen, brush or pencil to ink in the outline, sometimes i use a black watercolour pencil (Faber-Castell) which gives a nice matt black line and can also be used very easily for fine lines, but i mostly prefer to use the tablet which can be much quicker and easier to use if you dont mind eyeballing a computer screen for hours on end. Although i will be using the wacom tablet and pen to draw the black outline, all the tips still apply to a normal black and white inked drawing.


The Wacom Cintiq tab and pen

Part I – ‘Drawing the outline’

Normally you would draw a light rough pencil drawing on paper and then add the black outline ontop of this and just rub out the rough design here and there when you have finished, but using photoshop CS4 it makes it much easier and less messy. I would start with a blank document (400dpi and 20cm x 28cm in size) and dragging the rough design (the one from yesterday slightly alterered) onto the top of the page I create my first layer which i reduce the opacity down to 30% so its a very light grey.

I then create a second layer on top of the rough design which i will be using to draw the black outline by clicking on Layer > New > Layer in photoshop.


So when its all completed instead of rubbing out the light pencil work if drawing on paper, i can simply delete the first layer (rough design) in photoshop so im left with just 2 layers (the blank white background and the finished black outline).

Basically much of the volume and form of the caricature is done in the colouring in stage but some volume and form is done in the black outline stage. You cannot be timid when doing the outline or you will lose any chance of spontaneity or energy in the final work, you have to have the confidence that your stroke is going where you want it to go. Dont rush the outline but dont labour over it with slow awkward strokes either. To get form and volume into your black outline you dont want to just trace the lines of the rough drawing or you’ll just end up with a tracing so heres a few useful tips.

1) Start with the focal point of the drawing and work your way back to the less important parts and this naturally causes the important elements to stand out and others to recede which is what you want. The objects which are your focal points will have the boldest and heaviest lines and also have the most detail whereas the less important parts of the drawing will be less bold and more simple. Unfortunately im not doing a background in this piece but you can see in this example how the windows 7 logo has a bolder heavier line and behind it a thinner line is used. The result is the 7 becomes more prominent.


2) Another useful tip for creating volume is thinking about the light source, and to make all the lines that define an edge away from the lightsource to be thicker than those nearest to it. I dont try that hard to follow the light source when im doing the line work but i use it on the majority of the image and it gives the drawing life, movement and energy rather than flat and lifeless.


3) Another tip is to use crosshatching to create even more depth and also for texture and patterns. There are many different ways to use crosshatching but the important rule is to avoid the perfect 90 degree lines, here are some examples.


So thats basically it, i roughly take about 3-4 hours from a rough design to the finished black outline. Using the photoshop technique with wacom tab and pen i’m left with a blank white background and a layer above which is the black outline. If on the other hand you are creating the black outline with pen/pencil and paper then you will be left with the final artwork on a piece of paper which you will then have to scan into the computer as the next stage (colouring in) will be done entirely with photoshop.

Finished black outline…


…to be continued tomorrow in part II ‘Blocking in the colours’


Christmas is coming…

Brrrrrrr!!! It’s getting chilly out, looks like winter is nearly upon us. Currently working on a commission piece starring Neil and Tony from PC Academy. The brief is for Neil to be wearing a santa claus outfit (top half) complete with beard and bobble hat and for Tony to be wearing an elf costume and a shirt bearing the windows 7 logo. Here is the rough…


I think this is a good time to show you how i go about transforming a rough into the finished coloured artwork as its a pretty simple job with a white background so over the next couple of days as i work on it will post a how to guide with some useful tips on creating the black outline and how the colouring in is achieved with photoshop CS4. After this one is finished i have another piece starring Neil and Tony but with them both sat in a sledge being pulled by reindeer carrying a sack full of presents. Anyway, talking of presents i wouldnt mind recieving my windows 7 cd through the post as im still waiting to upgrade from vista but the bloody posties have gone on strike and its still hanging about in the sorting office somewhere. Tut tut.