Bitter Grounds Magazine

espresso fueled ramblings

Written by catpaw

February 20, 2017

Photoshop digital art – working on shadows and effects

Back banging away with my Wacom tablet again. I’ve been working on trying to even out my water colour wash effect. To date, it’s been pretty much hit and miss so I’ve been working on some new ideas. I was looking over shots I took yesterday and spotted a photo that would be excellent to try out some of these ideas. I was wandering around in the Bloor/St. George area, by Varsity stadium photographing some of my favourite buildings. One in particular has a beautiful arched door – Munk Centre for International Affairs:

Digital art - ink and water colour effect on Monk Centre doorway

I did the usual, outline of the photo first. Yea, cheating still, but I like the effect of free handing the outline. I tried using Photoshop to do an outline, but it looks too clinical.  Then I used a basic round tip (2 to 6 thickness), black for highlights and shadows. While I was pissing around with it, I realised I could get an excellent pen and ink effect by varying pen pressure and flow. Another issue I have is consistency in shadows. I can look at a photo right in front of me and still screw up the sun direction. I had to go back a number of times and correct the angle. Even with the original photo laying underneath the drawing as reference, I still get it wrong. It’s like I look at a photo, understand where the shadows are supposed to be then my hand says “let’s pop that shadow on the opposite side”. Go figure.

After completing a small section, I wondered if a light wash beneath the outline would enhance the shadows so I went to work on a different brush – flat, square and light ink flow with buildup.  I was able to build up a darker colour in spots. Best part, I was able to duplicate this a couple of times. I’m not doing any blending, just straight water colour brush, varying sized. So, yea, I’m pleased. The shadows have given the arch real depth. Come back in a week to see how the picture is going.



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