Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fabulous Lady with Red Lips & a British Accent

Another Digital Portrait to join The Black Swan

I give you... Adele.
{ art, design, textures (c) erin mcmanness 2012 - please give source credit if you share }

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Alice in Wonderland

Some colour tests for class... dark Alice in Wonderland: Alice smoking the caterpillar's hookah, and seeing the ghosts of the victims of the Queen of Hearts in the smoke.

Do you have a favourite?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Most Beautiful Sound I've Heard in Awhile

I was introduced to The Civil Wars the other night in the studio, and I just couldn't keep it to myself. As per usual, I was about to go to bed, and got inspired ;) So I put together this fun little graphic.

This is one of the most beautiful things I have heard in a really long time.

{ graphic, textures, & handwritten type (c) erin mcmanness - lyrics (c) the civil wars }

My Life in Pins

A fun challenge I heard about over at Aspire (link up here) - your life in 15 pins! Go!
(Can you tell I'm procrastinating on homework? Oh, and please do feel free to Follow me on Pinterest!)

Live in my sketchbook.

Hermoine Granger & I: Big hair, Bookworms.

Living in Italy.

Undying love for painting.

And there you have it.
Off to do more illustration homeworkkkkk!

{ Links: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 }

Monday, February 13, 2012

More Art & Adele

Been logging quite a few studio hours recently... guess that's what Grad School is for ;)

I have really loved working in a more graphic style lately, like with my Black Swan piece. My professor gave me some really great feedback, and suggested that I continue with the series outside of class for my portfolio. So I've decided my next portrait will be the lovely Adele.

Here are some preliminary sketches: 
(I love her cute little butt-chin!)
{art (c) erin mcmanness 2012 - please credit if reposted! }

Oh, and a Happy Valentine's Day to one & all.
To celebrate, I will be going to Art History Evening Class, and then pouring myself an alcoholic beverage. My Valentine's Days have always been lame, hahaha... so I don't celebrate much.

Hope yours is full of mushy stuff, though!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tutorial: Custom Brushes/Stamps in Photoshop

Here's What You Will Need:
- Paper that can withstand wet media
(I use Bristol Board - I don't recommend watercolour paper because the texture will get in the way - you want a smooth surface)

- Cup of clean water
- Brushes of various sizes/textures
- Black or dark-coloured India Ink / Acrylic Paint / Gouache / etc
(you don't need all of these, just one or two - something that dries quickly!)
- Various fun things / found objects - think feathers, sponges, tissue paper, paper towels, anything that might make a fun texture, etc.
- Adobe Photoshop & Scanner

So, we've got our supplies all set up. 
Start making marks and have fun with it!
Organic, loose textures are usually best - for example, dip your brush in your india ink and flick it onto the paper. Or lay down your paper towel, wet it with water, and lay ink over top and let dry. Or stamp with a dry/wet sponge. The point is to be free and messy ;)

Make sure you leave white space around each mark!
Here's an example of mine: 

Once your marks have dried
(I did about 6 pages worth), 
scan them in at 600 dpi.
Scanners usually default to 300 dpi - this will not be large enough; just go in and change it before scanning. 600 dpi is extremely important - you will want to create large custom brushes, so the higher the dpi, the larger the brush will be!

Bring your file into Photoshop. Adjust Levels. 
(Image > Adjustments > Levels)
Adjust the white and black so that no paper texture shows.

Zoom in. Lasso the texture you want to make into a brush. Copy it.

Then, create a New Document. 
I do 8.5x11" at 300 dpi.

Cropping is important,  
because you don't want a ton of whitespace around your brush. It will be hard for you to tell where it hits on the page when you go to use it.

Then go to Edit > Define Brush Preset 
(this is making it into a brush)
See that little number below the brush thumbnail? 
That's the largest you can scale the brush up to. You can always scale down, but if you scale up beyond that number, your brush will appear pixelated. This is why we scanned at 600dpi. If we had scanned at 300dpi, this brush could only go up to roughly 690px. Too small!

Now we're ready to use our new brush!
Make a new document. Select your brush tool.
Go up to the brush size/type icon to change your brush. Scroll down - there is your custom brush!
Gorgeous! We're so happy, we have custom brushes! 
Go and repeat this process with your other textures. 
Once you get the hang of it, it goes really quickly!

(Just a small note: if you are making brushes and wanting to transfer them to another computer, save to a thumb drive or CD. To open on another machine, go to Edit > Preset Manager; Load > Select .abr brush file. Voila!)

Here is an assignment I did for my Computer Illustration Class using my custom brushes:
{ art (c) erin mcmanness 2012 }

Thanks for reading this tutorial, lovely birds! 
Hope it was helpful & enjoyable :)
Any questions? Comment away ~!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Black Swan

I feel like I have so much I could blog about - the days are packed and go by so quickly! And there's always something going on.

This past weekend, I literally spent 44 out of 72 hours in the studio, working on finalizing my Baba Yaga Project for critique on Monday morning. Crit went really well in my opinion, I'll be posting the finished pieces soon!

For now, I have been sketching The Black Swan, 
for another poster for Computer Illustration class.
{ art (c) erin mcmanness 2012 - "self-doubt is an essential part of the creative process"; uelsmann, photographer }

And on a completely separate note, 
1. My oven burns everything I put in it (even if I take 25 degrees off the recipe), including my lovely banana bread that I just made :(

2. I wonder, sometimes, if I will ever really trust anyone again. I know that sounds horribly emo, but it's been 4 years since I've had a "real", long-term relationship. I'm tired of guesswork. It's exhausting, and I feel like I've forgotten how to trust someone. Am I alone in this?

3. I picked the Black Swan, because sometimes I feel like her. On the outside, I feel like I seem quite put-together; however there is sometimes this "dark passenger" that comes out - out of all of us -  I am glad I can express it through art.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Art School Problems

I really like the little rims that watercolour makes in the palette... I don't know why.

1. Adorable but nosy Kitty tries to jump up and "help" with homework all the time.
2. You actually go full-throttle and take a drink of your rinse water before you realize it's not your coffee (tooooootally did not happen today)
3. Hair is so long, you have to hold it back as you lean over your illustration board to put down washes of colour. If you don't, hair becomes odd brush of sorts.
4. 5 tubes of watercolour costs you almost $40. Lay down colour to find out it's worth it.

I'll have some process shots up of Baba Yaga soon - working on this beast all weekend!
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