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Mini Art Show: Rooster on a Unicycle

What a better way to wake up every morning, right? A rooster riding a unicycle. It’s a twist on the cliché of a rooster cockadoodle doing on top of a barn as the sun rises.

Actually, it was inspired by my neighbor, who has a noisy rooster. I’ve always wondered if it was hungry, or just expressing itself. I used to have guinea pigs and they used to squeak when they were hungry.

Anyway, back to the image. I’ve always loved humor in pretty much anything positive, including art. I’ve done a collage of a man playing music with a lion in his boat and a dingo eating a baby (which actually happened, sadly, but was changed to a humorous saying). You can find them on another post.

So, as you can see, the rooster is in the countryside and there’s a barn in the background as well as hayfields. The rooster is probably bigger than real ones are.

Another thing about this piece is that I used Chartpak markers—something I haven’t used in years. I forgot how much they bleed and how strong they are. In fact, when I used them in college, everyone and I were instructed to color on the back for our drawings.

After I colored in the pencil outlines, I traced over color edges with a pen. That’s actually a common practice for artists.

There you have it.

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Where are Those 2D Films? They Seem so Rare These Days

Who grew up with 2D animation? I certainly did. Not just TV shows, but also movies. I watched certain Disney classics in 2D, such as “Aladdin” and “Cinderella”. One of my earliest, very faint memories is me seeing “Hercules” in the movie theater when I was 3. I also saw “Tarzan” in the cinema when I was 5.

Enough said about my earliest memories. 2D-animated theatrical releases were still common in the early 2000’s. By the middle of that decade, they were dying out as CGI was on the rise. In fact, I got so used to 3D animation that I was surprised when 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog” was hand-drawn.

For the 2010’s, however, only a few 2D-animated movies were released into cinemas. While there is and was some stop-motion, pretty much every movie that came out during this decade was CGI. I generally have no problem with 3D cartoons. However, over-doing it gets tiring and even feels like the companies are a bit lazy. I’m not the only one missing hand-drawn animated films. There are others like this everywhere.

Many young children who have grown up with mostly CG films found 2D animation primitive and lacking the technology available today. I, however, often find mid-twentieth century hand-drawn animation more appealing than CGI. Even though I was born in 1993, I still got to see older cartoons, including those from the 1930’s. Too much of anything gets overwhelming. That is why I’m hoping (if enough people in the general public request this) that 2D-animated films will return in the 2020’s, even if none of them come from Disney.

Unfortunately, for many people born before the turn of the century, Disney discontinued hand-drawn animated full-length features after 2011, their last one being a “Winnie-the-Pooh” movie. Originally, it was going to be 2004’s “Home on the Range”, believe it or not. Their reasoning was that hand-drawn films were too time-consuming and CGI was the new trend.

CGI is great, but my ideal taste for movies would be an even balance of live-action, stop-motion, CGI, and 2D. A little bit of everything is good for me, and should be for everyone, especially young children today. They’ll never know the beauty of how animation originally started—unless even just some film companies return to them. As of now, 2D animation basically just exists on TV or the Internet.

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Colored Pencils Plus Photoshop Smudging Equals a Beautiful Image

I am not kidding or exaggerating one bit. I tried this technique and discovered how it would’ve resulted. And guess what? It succeeded.

I didn’t even realize that mixing different colors of the colored pencils would add more dimension and tones to my image below. The most amateurish part is the marks.

This is the photo I took with my phone. Now see the Photo-shopped image below.

Look at the difference. It’s as if a professional illustrated this.

You can see the different colors of the hair, skin, and shirt. Why did I choose blue for the background, you may ask? I felt it would contrast more and would represent positivity and happiness.

Smudging in Photoshop does wonders. I probably will keep up with coloring in colored pencils and smudging the hues in Photoshop.

It’s not that I will give up coloring digitally or painting traditionally. This will just be an additional technique.

You color with different colors in the same hue. You remain mindful of tints and tones based on where the area of light and shadows are. Then you take a picture and upload it digitally. Or you can scan it. Whatever works for you. Then you open it in Photoshop, click the smudge tool, and smudge away. That’s how you get dimension and not just flat colors.

You can make any subject you’d like. You could even do abstract drawings. Anything will work as long as you have fun.

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How do I Pair the Colors like an Artist?

Colors are everywhere. Okay, that’s obvious. But how about pairing colors based on different tones, saturation levels, hues, and more?

It is not easy for everyone. But for some reason, it was fine for me. I guess because I have artistic talent? Well, I did do a color and shape theme for my college thesis in my senior year.

I can pair pastels, bright colors, muted colors, and much more. Below is a painting I did where I put colors together based on similar factors.

Notice how most of these colors are kind of muted or achromatic, meaning they have only pure black and/or white–no colors? I was considering an Alaskan landscape theme for this work.

Below is a medallion I did on the computer.

These are all mid-tones. They are not too light, dark, prismatic, or muted. They all fall in between.

Sometimes I come up with colors based on a scheme or theme. For example, if the theme is Arabian Nights, I will consider gold, teal, and royal purple. If the theme is Jungle Safari, deep greens, and maybe some light oranges or yellows would work.

Some aspects are obvious too. For instance, if you are hosting a summer party and you want a color scheme, you wouldn’t choose gray. It would feel out of place. Plus, some people associate gray with drear or depression.

That’s right. Colors do affect moods. A study has shown that blue may keep people calm while bright yellow may increase their anxiety.

Well, this is not a psychology post. Nor is psychology something I blog about. The point is that colors matter. Whether it’s for art purposes, mood purposes, or etiquette reasons (i.e. you would never wear bright colors to a funeral), color choices are essential.

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Drawing by Hand and Coloring in Photoshop

Who’s done this before? Raise your hand. Ha ha, just playing with you. But believe it or not, it can be fun. I’ve done it so many times.

I do have a graphic tablet that I can draw on. Although I’ve gotten better control at it, I still draw better with pencil and paper—the old-fashioned way.

However, when it comes to coloring, digitally is more fun. Think about it. You’ve got unlimited colors, digital tools, and best of all, no mess to clean up. It’s all on your computer or tablet (like an iPad).

Below is an example of an illustration I did where I drew by hand and colored digitally.

Can you see the pencil lines? I don’t know about you, but I can. They look kind of rough. There are a few digitally-drawn lines as you can see on the sidewalk, street, and even the bricks. And the colors are obviously digital.

Here is another image drawn traditionally and painted digitally.

Although this might not look nearly as exciting as the one with the teenage boy above, the pencil lines are more obvious. The colors were originally done with chartpak markers, which leave extreme marks. Some hues were re-painted in Photoshop.

While these were fist done with pencil outlines, sometimes I trace the pen over the pencil and erase the pencil marks, like in this image below.

Chairs

Those lines look crisp and clear, not to mention much smoother. That is because they were done with high-quality pens. And, of course, the colors are digital.

Yes, Photoshop and any other Adobe program is costly. But if you have it or want it, once you get good at it, coloring your hand-drawn images is super fun.

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Mini Art Show: A Young Woman Sketch

Oh, isn’t she lovely? Ha, ha, just admiring this sketch I did years ago. It wasn’t for school, but for pleasure. I wanted to learn how to make more realistic (technically semi-realistic) portraits.

I saw a video of some guy sketching a woman’s face. I practiced that too, and then tried doing other variations of my own. This was one of them.

And let me guess what you think. She looks like Fleur Delacour from “Harry Potter”, doesn’t she? I actually discovered that by mistake when sketching this image. I was NOT trying to draw Fleur, nor was I trying any “Harry Potter” fan art. Actually, when I was 13, I made silly “Harry Potter” fan art of the characters doing silly, ridiculous things. They are no longer funny. Twelve years ago, I laughed by brains out at them and showed my family. They were unimpressed. Now I look at them and think, “Oh, god”.

That’s another topic, though. But who doesn’t like to have fun? Anyway, let me get back to the image.

Why does the hair have bolded streaks, you may ask? Because the demonstrator in the video did his drawing like that. Where are the other variations? Unfortunately, I might’ve thrown them all away, including this one. I was probably cleaning out my room and felt that I no longer needed those pictures. Luckily, I photographed this one and the digital picture of it is still here.

There is not much else about this drawing that I want to discuss. The shading was done based on what I’ve learned. Also, in the original image that this was based off, the woman didn’t have a ponytail. That’s all, guys.

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The Great Art Comparison: Traditional vs. Digital

Many of us have learned traditional art in school. It was required in elementary school and probably even middle school (at least for me, it was). However, depending on where you went to school, art may have become optional in high school. Digital art was probably either optional or not offered at the district I was part of.

Upon graduating high school, though, I learned Adobe Photoshop. I had fun with it. After a couple years, I will admit it spoiled me a bit. It also made traditional art harder. If I made a mistake in Photoshop, I would use one of the tools and not have to erase it and redraw it. It was the opposite for traditional media.

Now here are the differences between traditional and digital (besides the obvious):

Traditional:

IMG_1017

Above is an oil painting I did of a beach near my home. Traditional art is messier, requires clean-up, and mixing colors. You have to have what’s handy. The sky is not the limit. On the Brightside, it’s cheaper, doesn’t require technology or computer skills, and you can make textures more easily. Plus, holding that brush (or any other tool) and mixing your pigments feels good.

Digital

obsessive drawing 1

Above is a file I did in Photoshop. Digital art requires no carrying of materials, clean-up, and an infinite amount of colors. It’s also easier to fix mistakes by undoing, transporting, and much more. You do need computer skills, though. And programs, like Photoshop, can be expensive.

I would highly recommend learning traditional art first, if you haven’t since school. A lot of these techniques do apply to digital art. It’s also good to balance them out.

Of course, not all skills can be perfectly balanced (I often was either a PC or Mac person, but never really both evenly, until now), and art is no exception. But if you can balance traditional and digital art, it will be better.

If you only like traditional media, that’s cool, too.