imAGYnations- my creative process

Archive for November, 2013

Fun, fun fun, or a small moment for Beth…

I am having SUCH a good time working on my book Duke Day for Annie. My diabolical plan to trick myself, seems to be working and I’m falling back in love with what I do. Following your bliss can work, even if you misplaced it for a bit.

There’s something that I find sensuous about creating art, and I don’t mean that in a sexual sense so foggedaboutdat! I mean that it just involves all pieces of me, and when it’s going well or I’m involved, ALL of me is involved. I also loved teaching; I got way better at what I did because of practice and articulation.  I no longer have the time nor the energy to split between passions, so I though I could do a few tutorials on my blog, until I’m comfortable with my Youtube channel. 

I asked on my Facebook pages if people would be interested in knowing how I did this


in Photoshop, and got a couple of responses, so here it is.


Open you doc and set it to the specifications you’d like. I like working smaller and then making larger. It makes the work quicker and easier. Draw the forms you’d like (I have a real thing about form and reflected light, and that’s a lot of times what gives something form. Looking at actual objects, and their light sources and rendering them is something you should be doing if you’re interested in drawing. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make confident and capable!)


Think about what direction your light is coming from. I chose from the right (you can get all kinds of different effects if it’s in different directions or different kinds, Again. LOOK at things, observe them!) I chose the three basic forms. So you know you can draw anything if you know how to break it down into it’s basic form. You are not drawing a thing, you are drawing the relationships you see. The light, the contrast, the form, the color, I draw on top of the base copy by adding a layer. I work in just a few different painting/blending modes. If you want a guouche or oil feel with it go with normal mode. when you paint, you’re painting OVER the layers underneath. I choose multiply a lot because it’s watercolor, transparent. For a smooth lay down of color or value, use a larger brush– like butter! I blend. A lot. You can add texture through blending, painting or a combination. Play with it for the effect you’d like.

I add another layer (hint, if you like something ADD a new layer, LABEL your layers, so you don’t have to go through 35 layers to find the one adjustment you have to make because you missed it (don’t ask me how I know this one. A few times). I did this again in multiply:


and blend:


I added another layer in Normal to darken it; you can get rich, values and colors by adding layers upon layers. I will take a color I like and work in a percent of value (the opacity) and get a work up of values:


You can add color and pick out the highlights like I did (this technique is similar to the Grissaille):


You can play with the contrast and make it even deeper and “realistic” In this layer I added a little white and black overlay (at a lower opacity so it’s really just a tint and a value of the color. and of course blend. Take your time with figuring out where things go. Will Terry and Jake Parker said in one of their classes that the difference between artists who are there or mostly there is how they finish it (and oddly enough I included that observation in my book Duke Day for Annie, when Maude chides Eddie who wants to play hookie to “do the job, mind your finishes” the wording is specific. Anyone can do a job. It’s an artisan who minds the finishes and if you become good enough, people can look at what you do and they KNOW it’s your finish) Anyhow the finished, er done little project. I’m off to paint a bit more, I’m nearly halfway through my book, and I’m excited to have it done!  Let me know if this helped or if you’re interested in more “lessons” over the coming months, I will be expanding to interviews with my illustrator and writing friends (I’m very lucky I have some incredibly talented people I count as friends), as well as other stuff. I love being able to think about my process a bit further and share it. I just get worried, I’m counting my belly lint and it’s amounting to a bit of fluff, lol, so I hope you let me know I’m not alone in some of these things!


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