Drawing to Digital: What a Pain!

I have been working on getting some of my drawings ready for digital reproduction.

I think this is harder than doing the actual drawings.

I figured I would do a basic tutorial about how I am going about it.  Needless to say that this is not the only way, and may not even be the best way, but it is how I am doing it, for now.

Why would you even need to edit a drawing in preparation for digital reproduction?

I asked myself that.  Then I opened an image that I had scanned.  Look at that mess!  White flakes all over.  The black is supposed to go out to the blue guide line.  Totally not what I remember drawing.

That is how the computer sees it.  I do not want it to print out like that if someone wants to blow up the image 300X.


Pre-Photoshop. Look at that mess. White “dandruff” everywhere, stray lines and what is going on with the left edge?

I did some searching and watched a few videos and read some articles.  Most were to in-depth and a few were not what I needed.  I found this gem though!  It is perfect.  How to Color Inked Line Art.  It goes over the basics of converting a drawing into a digital image and adding color.  I found it very handy. I think it is really good for those who are doing fairly simple coloring or just making sure your “blacks are black.”

I use one thing from this tutorial right now.

– use Ctrl+Alt+~ to select all the light stuff

–you can also go to the “channels” tab and select the dotted box at the bottom of the tab.  It will select all the light colors.

– Once you have the white stuff selected, just delete it.  Make a new layer, move it behind your lines and fill it in white (or whatever color floats your boat.)

I find it a bit easier to edit without the white background.  When you are at 100% or less you can see the “missing” areas better.  However, it does not translate to a good screenshot.


Cleaned up!

Here is a screen shot of the chain all cleaned up.  The white “dandruff” stuff is gone and the black goes to the proper guide line – not shown 😦 because I am a slacker like that.

I do recommend one thing.

If you are editing a large or complex drawing.  Put out guides.  I made a grid all over this drawing.  I work on one grid at a time, so I do not get lost or over whelmed.  It also helps to ensure that I do not miss anything.  Small areas are easier to edit than very large ones.

This is a time consuming process.  At least for this guy.  I have already spent 6 hours going through and fixing the black and removing stray lines.  I have an idea that may make it faster.  I will write up something if it works.

Have fun!


Happy Hump Day!

I just want to go for a walk.


well, not much I can do on this now.

My netbook screen is broken.

I just wanted to edit ONE picture so I can post it with my blog.

I have to wait for Picassa on the desktop to load ALL the freaking photos so I can edit ONE!

*grumble* *grumble* *grumble*

its a race to see if Photoshop or Picassa will get done first.


Photoshop won!


I sharpened this one up in Photoshop. the picture was really bad.


Forest with a brook, in green

I Made This!

Every once in a while I look through all the stuff that I have made (usually a terrible cellphone pic) and I think “That’s pretty good.”  Most of the time when I review my art I pick it apart and try to figure out what I could have done to make it better.  Then I plan to “remake” it.

I have not actually remade anything yet.  I do not think that I will ever “remake” anything I have ever made.  I may do something better with a similar theme, but never an actual remake.

This post is not really about that.  It is about trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone.

Out of my comfort zone is water color.  I do not really like to work with water color, and I do not really have the patience for it.  I certainly do not have the needed equipment for it.  Wrong paper, wrong brushes, wrong paint.  It still turned out interesting in the end.

The goal was to do an original “painting” for a flyer I needed to create.  A cyclist in a yellow rain coat in a city.  I had spent hours searching the web and stock photo sites, even art sites, to find one that was what I needed.  I could not find one so chose to try and make one (otherwise we were going to use an umbrella.)

city biking

Photo of a cyclist in San Fran (If I read the description right.)

I spent a little while looking for a good base photo.  I am not very good with perspectives, a good base photo is important for artists with my handicap.  Thankfully I found this wonderful image of a cyclist in a city setting.

Only, its not raining and he is not wearing a rain coat, and he has that messenger bag, AND I do not live in California (our street cars are white and blue, not green and cream.)  There is a bit of work that needs to be done on this to make it fit my needs.

My original idea was to tinker with it in Photoshop to make it work.  I quickly realize that was out of my league and would have to use what I am good at, sort of.  To the paint!

First thing I did was draw out the shapes, a bunch.  I did ten or eleven outlines.  I settled on this one.  It had the shapes and was not really dark (I also have a bit of a heavy hand.)

2014-09-07 13.02.48I altered some things to make it fit the space I had to work with.  I put a rain jacket and rubber boots on my cyclist.  I also changed the buildings to go better with what is in the area.

Now I had to figure out how I was going to make this look like water color without having water colors.  I ended up watering down my acrylic paints, and using them.  The paper was also an issue.  I do not have any proper watercolor paper on hand (not really a need of mine, most of the time.)  The best I could do was one of my sketch books.  I found two water color brushes, one a 3 and the other a 1.  Gotta use what you have…

I want to point out that watered down acrylic paint does NOT behave like actual water color.  There are many techniques that I tested that would have worked with water color and did not work with the acrylic.  Always test your medium to make sure you know what to expect.

Riding in the Rain_Start

About 1/3 of the way done. I only painted blocks that were not touching for quite a while.

First layers of paint went on well.  It did take almost two hours each layer to dry so I could do the next.  There was a lot of waiting.  I played a lot of World of Warcraft between layers.

Once I got the feeling for it I got everything else done in 48 hours.  Most of that was drying time.  5-10 minutes of work would leave me with 2 hours of drying time.  Big reason I dislike water colors.

2014-09-07 19.16.06

about half way done.

I kind of forgot to take photos after this point.  I think you can get the gist of what the process was like.  Paint a bit, let it dry, paint a bit, let it dry.

2014-09-17 18.40.54

Last of the painting!

Here is the last photo of the finished “water color” painting.

It does not have a lot of detail and I did not like it.  Looks kind of like a five year old painted it.  There are also several spaces that bled over because I was to impatient with the process.

I too a good, hi-res photo and imported it into Adobe Photoshop.  I scoured the internet to find some textures that I could use,  I found some trees, yellow rubber, brick, clouds, and road, plus an image of the local street car.  Time to get to work!

After lots of cutting, pasting, moving, cloning, and tinkering I came up with the below image.  I think it came out pretty good considering that I was way out of my comfort zone.


Riding in the Rain, Mixed Media, Carissa Carnahan

Don’t forget to be super at something, even if it is being cute like Guido.


Super Guido!! Super cute! ^^

A Better Whine

Today is one of those days where I wish I was better.

I wish I was better with Photoshop.  I wish I was better with Illustrator.  I wish I was better with code, so I could be better at web design.  I wish I was in better shape.  I wish I was better at being motivated to do stuff.  I wish I was better…

stop whiningWishing is not going to make me better at any of the things I want to be better at.  Doing them will.  Doing is much harder than wishing.

Honestly I would much rather be painting instead of working in Photoshop or Illustrator.  Unfortunately I need a nice clean digital image for a poster I am working on.  That means Photoshop or Illustrator.  That means headaches, backaches, numb butt and lots of clicking and cursing.

Through this endeavor I will get better at digital illustrations (and I rolled by eyes after I typed that.)  I love digital illustrations or computer graphics as most people call them.  I just do not want to be the one creating them.  Give me a photo to put into a design and I am a happy camper.  Make me make one and now I am crabby (posting on WP instead of working on it…)

Alas, I cannot find a suitable photo for my poster.  Now I have to make one.

I doubt I would get so crabby if I did not sit in front of a computer all day anyway.  Now I have to spend my free time in front of a computer NOT killing electronic representations of fictitious and mythical beings (World of Warcraft for me,)  I have to W.O.R.K.

WHHHHYYYY can’t the image be available (and free?)  That would just be to easy.

Alright.  I am done whining.  I will get to work.  I might even post my finished product.  Hopefully it will be done next week, AFTER PAX.

A little whine and back to the grind.



Designs for the Holidays

As the major holidays approach (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, might as well add Hallowe’en too) I find myself dreading the visual information that we will all be forced to endure for the next two months.  The worst holiday offender is Christmas.  There were stores that had Christmas stuff up before their Hallowe’en stuff went up!  Insanity…

As I create the Facebook and website banners for my internship position I thought I might share some of my insights (if you want to call them that.)  I am not a crazy advanced Photoshop user, I would say intermediate at best.  I still enjoy creating stuff in Photoshop even if most of it is “designer” work.  What is “designer” work?  Most designers (like interior designer) take existing items and make them into something cool and functional.  That is what I do in 40% of my designs, just arrange things until they look cool. 


Image #1: Hallowe’en! (I cannot get the photo option box to open correctly :I or I would put my comments in there.)

Hallowe’en is one of my favorite holidays.  I tried to capture some of the neat things about this holiday.  Crazy orange and black stripey back ground, a moon, bats and creepy purple glowing letters.  Yes it does look like something that the Halloween Store might use, but I like that store!  Once I took out my employers information I realized it made a really neat generic background.  I think I will put it up on my FB 🙂 



Image #2: Thanksgiving.  One of the most overlooked holidays. 

This was harder to balance once I removed my employer information.  I think it came out alright.  Turkeys are some ugly critters though.  Now is Thanksgiving one or two words?  In the US the name of the holiday is one word but I always spell it as two until I realize that I am working with the holiday word, not the act of Thanks Giving (or giving thanks…)  English (especially American) is crazy.  I had a heck of a time getting the fonts to stand out properly against the gradient of the Seattle Skyline.  The scripts that I tried kept disappearing and adding glows just looked dumb.  So I tinkered with it for a while.  The original has “Happy” and “Seattle/Tacoma” in Impact.  They needed to stand out when they were smushed close to the “Thanksgiving.”

Anyway, those are my two designs.

I tried to keep things simple.  Stay away from busy background AND foreground.  Only one layer should be busy.  If you are going to use a fun and silly font make sure the rest of the fonts are much more simple.  I really like the Hallowe’en one.  It is fun AND creepy, but not so bad that kids cannot enjoy it.


More work tomorrow.  I am going to work on a New Year and Christmas Banner tomorrow.  Stop by and see how I do Christmas without it looking like someone vomited a department store display!