Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Preparing Sketches for Digital or Online Use

Okay, I have sometime to knock out a few more portfolio pieces since I am shooting for a May deadline so I can try to make it to Spectrum Art Live and pick up some work. I want to do more to the level of this last piece “Artemis & Orion” which has gotten some good reviews. The sketch for it did in-fact just get me 1st place at Sketch Theatre Forum’s monthly contest Lover’s Embrace, which is a prize of 15 Gnomon DVDs ad worth a bit of money. So that will help my education and replace some of the one’s I had that were lost when my computer was stolen this past August. Here is the sketch.

Now for a little bit of education today and one of the things that bothered me for a long time until I talked with Justin Gerard. Great guy met him at Spectrum last year. He recently married Annie Stegg, another wonderful Illustrator. Together I think they are trying to corner the market in storybook illustration. Justin had some wonderful prints of watercolour pieces he had done. So I asked him how he got such deeper colouring with watercolurs. He told me that he scans the original then places a multiply layer and an overlay layer on top of it in Photoshop. It is a simple thing to do but it works wonders for the piece. I recently used it after scanning pencil sketches to get a clean line but still retain the actual look of a sketch. I couldn’t be happier with the results. Though I will say given the parameters of the Sketch Theatre competition I didn't use it on the image above.

The whole simple process is as follows:
1st Scan your sketch or drawing at 600 dpi or better in grey scale (it looks so much better this way).

2nd Open it in Photoshop and duplicate the layer twice.

3rd Change the 2nd layer to Multiply and the 3rd to Overlay. Then adjust the opacity of the layers to give you a clean look.

You may need more than one Multiply layer if it is a light sketch and you want a darker line. If this is the case merge the 1st multiply layer and the original scan then duplicate the now darker line work.

And that’s it to having clean looking sketches as you can see. It works well for any traditional pieces and even to heighten colouring from digital works.

This one was done with coloured pencil over marker then scanned in and heightened with the method above before adding the digital background. 

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