Tracing in Adobe Illustrator

bike

bike sketch
Original sketch

I love the printmaking effect that I can get by converting one of my sketches into a vector graphic in Adobe Illustrator CC 2018. I’ve reproduced this image at almost its full screen size (the original sketch is much smaller) because I didn’t want to soften it by reducing it too much.

I’ve downloaded the program this morning as part of my year’s subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud and I’ve been going through the beginner’s tutorials as it’s so many years since I last used Illustrator.

I’d never come across the option to automatically trace a scan or a photograph of a drawing and turn it into crisp black and white vector artwork. I immediately started thinking of how I might use that in my work.

The Pinder of Wakefield
George-a-Green, the Jolly Pinder of Wakefield, before and after vectorisation.

For instance, I’m currently working on a historical article for the Dalesman magazine and I feel that vector graphics could give the effect of a woodcut. Even after a lot of practice, I’m more used to drawing with a pen than an Apple Pencil, so this might be an effective way of combining the freedom of drawing with the graphics effects available on the computer.

In both of the examples above I went for the ‘Shades of Grey’ preset in the Trace Image dialogue.

Link

Adobe Illustrator CC

 

Wild Yorkshire Facebook Page

Facebook page

I’m learning to use Photoshop CC 2018 so I’ve been trying out a tutorial to redesign the Cover Photo for my Facebook page, so that the Profile Picture is integrated into the design. The photograph of me looking windswept at Sandal Castle was so bright compared with my sketchbook pages that I toned it down with a sepia wash, another Photoshop technique I needed to practice.

Facebook pageI’ve set up a Wild Yorkshire Facebook Page, so if you’d like to see updates about this blog:

  1. Go to my Wild Yorkshire Facebook Page
  2. Click Follow

 

A Lot of Duckweed

I haven’t turned on the hose pipe during this long dry spell but this weekend the pond had got so low that I felt I had to. The surface was entirely covered with duckweed, so I put on my arm-length waterproof gloves and pulled it out around the edges, then used a pond net to scoop up the remaining clumps in the middle.

A A Milne’s poem Bad Sir Brian Botany came to mind. The bit where Sir Brian gets his comeuppance from the villagers:

“Sir Brian went a journey, and he found a lot of duckweed . . . “

I left the piles of duckweed at the water’s edge to give the pond life a chance to find its way back and gave a helping hand to a few ramshorn snails, dragonfly larvae and black water beetles that I spotted struggling.

I didn’t see any frogs or newts but I was skimming the surface layers and they were probably lying low. Continue reading “A Lot of Duckweed”

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo: for readability, I’ve gone for the light version of the user interface with large print, and with the tool names popping up as soon as I hover the mouse over the icon.
My original scanner, in a GIF image from 2002, so please forgive the pixelation.

I’ve been using Photoshop for twenty-two years but I might finally be moving on.

In 1996, I bought my first scanner which came with an OEM version of Adobe Photoshop 4.0 included in the box. This was quite a bargain as, at that time, if you wanted to buy the same version of Photoshop on it’s own, it would have cost you more than the scanner and Photoshop bundled together! Continue reading “Affinity Photo”

Publishing with Pages

I’ve been trying to get around to publishing an eBook for years but it’s taken a short break in the Lake District and the latest version of Apple’s Pages desktop publishing software to get me started.

As you can see from the cover, I’ve been drawing from cafes again; the Lakeside Cafe attached to the theatre at Keswick gave us a view across the top end of Derwentwater to Cat Bells.

I managed only half a dozen sketches as we spent most of our days walking but I made efforts in the evening to write up notes about the day. With those, the sketches and a selection of my photographs, I’ve got the basis of a short eBook; an extended blog post.

The main purpose is to get familiar with the e-publishing process. Pages is a great starting point but, to keep things really simple, I’m sticking with a ready-made template, one was designed for a novel. I’ve got two other programs, Adobe InDesign CC2018 and Apple’s iBooks Author, which give more possibilities for tweaking the design and adding interactive features but Pages brings the process closer to using a regular word-processing program.

I’ll post a link to the finished eBook.

Link

Pages by Apple

iPad Landscape

I’ve taken my iPad Pro on location for the first time and drawn this view over the Calder Valley around Mirfield from the shelter of Charlotte’s Ice Cream Parlour, Whitley.

As usual, I used an Apple Pencil and the iPad version of Clip Studio Paint.

I started with the Transparent Watercolour brush then used the Uneven Layering Brush for the wet-on-wet blotches on the clouds.

On a new layer I used the pen tool with the G-pen nib to add the white patches were distant snow on the moors between Brighouse and Haworth.

I used mainly paint swatches directly from the standard palette but decided that the brown that I’d used to suggest trees and field boundaries was too dark, so I gently rubbed over it with the Soft Eraser tool.

Feet

More practice in drawing on my iPad with an Apple pencil and, as I’m using Clip Studio Paint, I’ve got the option of framing the drawing in a ruled border.

I had intended to add an ink layer but decided that pencil was more appropriate for the relaxed subject matter.

There are so many options available to create different effects when using a digital brush but, until I’ve got more familiar with the process, I’m keeping things simple, using the standard settings for the entire drawing.

Desk Top

It’s been a month since we had a weekend at home and my desk top is in need of sorting out but how could I resist drawing these tottering piles of books and magazines?

I’ve drawn it with an Apple Pencil on my iPad Pro. I’m using is Clip Studio Paint EX on my iMac, which is connected to the iPad by wifi through the program Astropad 3. Sometimes pen and sketchbook just isn’t enough!

I like trying to learn new programs and I thought that the best way was just to launch into it and do the simplest of drawings. I say ‘new’ programs but I’ve been trying to get proficient in Clip Studio Paint, formerly Manga Studio for the last five years.

Links

Clip Studio Paint EX

Astropad

Scanning the Horizon

Great Shunner Fell and Abbotside, drawn last week from a picnic table at the Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes; my first scan using SilverFast SE Plus software.

It’s that time of year again: Apple have updated their operating system – from Sierra to High Sierra – which is great except that my scanner, a CanoScan 8800F, won’t work with the new system, not surprisingly because it’s four years since Canon updated the driver. Luckily, I’ve come up with a solution . . . Continue reading “Scanning the Horizon”