Playing with colour

Angela Porter 29 August 2017Angela Porter 29 August 2018 A

I’ve been quiet around ‘tinternet for a couple of weeks – problems with my mood, instead of starting many new things I’ve been spending time organising a reference collection of my favourite patterns and designs of things like fungi and buildings and creatures and so on and its very much a work in progress!  The process of going through the familiar and organising them is comforting to me …

I have done some new drawings for the Eerie project for Dover – not many left to do for the book, then the hard work is deciding which two I would like to colour in the most, always a problem.

Plans are afoot for a change in my online presence too … more as that happens!

The above images show one artwork I started last night and finished this morning.  Most probably about 8 or 10 hours of work.  Distress Oxides, Cosmic Shimmer watercolours and a Sakura Glaze pen were used. When light strikes the artwork at just the right angle, the metallics and iridescents bring the artwork to life; it’s like it lights up all by itself.  A joyful feeling for sure as I look at it.

It was nice to work with colour and the more traditional media rather than digital art, though, yet again, I noticed how drawing with the Surface Pen on my Microsoft Surface Book are having an effect on my work on paper.

One thing I did enjoy was adding the sparkle and shimmer to the artwork, something I’ve not found out how to do digitally (or even if you can!).

So, I now have satisfied a need in me to work with colour and pen and I can turn my attention back to the illustrations for the Eerie book, and on to other things after that is done.

For today, I head off soon for counselling/EMDR, and to have my acrylic nails removed once again as they really do get in the way of me typing, art-ing, using my phone…and no doubt I’ll do some drawing while I have a late lunch between nail removing and counselling.

Mandalas a-plenty

Gallery

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Mandalas, Mia Chambers and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro musings

Mandala B1_Small_AngelaPorter_15May2016Mandala B2_small_AngelaPorter_15May2017

This morning, I’ve drawn the two mandalas above.  I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Book to do this.

I’m gradually exploring the features of Sketchbook Pro, and the more I use it, the more I like it, though making the transition from paper to digital drawing isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  This is mainly because I find it hard to work at a detail level that doesn’t require a magnifying glass to see the detail or to add colour – particularly important when I’m doing work for colouring books.

This is partly because of the ability to zoom in so much on the artwork, and partly due to the screen size on my Surface Book being a little smaller than A4.

I have considered getting a Surface Studio, but that’s on hold until I’m sure I really want to go down the digital drawing route.  Having such a big screen is an alluring prospect, being able to work on the paper size at it’s actual size…but I’m still thinking about it.  Maybe when I find out my tax bill for the previous financial year I’ll make my mind up.

Now, these aren’t the first mandalas I’ve drawn using Sketchbook Pro.  In the past three or four days I’ve some some small ones (approx 3″x3″) to print out, colour and mount on blank greeting cards to be sold to raise money for Mia Chambers, Rainbow Warrior Princess to get her to America for experimental cancer treatment not available in the UK.

What I’ve always found tedious as well as a tad challenging mathematically, is setting out the angles and so on for a symmetrical mandala.  Sketchbook pro makes that easy for sure, as well as saving on the time in creating symmetry.

I’m still struggling with the idea that I may be ‘cheating’ by doing this.  However, I can logically accept that the tools available in Sketchbook Pro allow me to focus on my creativity far more.  Also, the ability to zoom in means I can add details and so on I couldn’t do easily when working on paper.

I have used mandala templates I’ve drawn on paper and scanned in Sketchbook pro to draw mandalas, as well as using sketched out designs so I can neaten up the sketch and add details (it saves erasing pencil lines and the mess and wrinkled paper and smudged in that can result).  I don’t really need to mention how easy it is to undo mistakes.

Certainly, the symmetry option makes creating these mandalas a lot quicker, and because I don’t strive for total perfection in the hand-drawn lines or added patterns, then even though the mandalas are drawn in a digital environment, they still have that feeling of being drawn by hand, which makes me happy – they’re still ‘perfectly imperfect’!

Of course, I’ve not really got to grips with colouring the designs in Sketchbook Pro, so printing them out and adding colour using a chosen medium is still my favoured way of working.  Also, I can add things like metallic highlights and sparkly gems to the mandalas, plenty of which appears on the cards I’ve made as well as the mandalas I’ve framed in order to raise money for little Mia.

Colorist app update

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I was pleased to be told by Shelly and Kelly at Faction Apps that there’s been an update to the Colorist app.  That means I had to have another play!

The image above is one from my first book for the Colorist app – Doodle Worlds.  Many areas have been filled in using the original pencil tool, which is great as it allows for overlaying of colours as well as being pressure sensitive if your device allows for that (my Microsoft Surface Book certainly does!).

It took me a while to get used to how the pencil works in the app, but that’s not a problem as either the undo or eraser tools allow you to completely remove anything you’re not happy with.  (The eraser is also useful for removing colour to create a highlight!).

Bucket Tool

One of the new tools is a bucket-fill, which is great for filling areas with flat, solid colour.  I used this tool for the pink monster.  The pencil tool can then be used to add shading/highlights over the base colour.

A useful tool is the bucket tool as it allows for quickly filling areas with a solid colour, even teeny-tiny areas thanks to the ability to zoom in on the image! This saves some time and effort, which can then be spent on carefully adding the shading and highlights to the area.

Marker Tool

This is my favourite addition to the tool box in the Colorist app!  I love the solid colour it lays down. The colours aren’t transparent, however, so blending isn’t yet possible with them ( perhaps that’ll appear in a future update of the app).  Markers (especially Chameleon pens) are my favourite way of adding colour to drawings like this on paper, so I look forward to this tool being developed more in the future (fingers crossed and maybe a bit of pleading from me!).

What I love most about this tool is that I can draw and doodle and add texture and pattern to the image with the solid lines that I prefer in my art. I did this with ease on the flower next to the orange and white stripey twisty thing.

The wide range of colours available in the colour palette mean that highlights and shadows can be achieved, so long as a subtle blend from one colour to another isn’t required.  However, I’ve just thought that a clever use of the pencil tool may allow this to happen.  I’ll have to try that out!

Eyedropper tool

I didn’t make any use of this tool, but I’m likely to in the future as it means that you can easily select a colour you’ve previously used in the image being coloured without going to the palette and ttrying to remember just which shade of, say, blue it was you used.

Sketching in the Colorist App

Angela one

The ability to sketch within the app, and save the drawings too, is the fab new feature.  I really like this, especially with the marker pen tool.

Usually, I use Autodesk Sketchbook  for drawing on my Surface book.  One of the weird things about drawing on the Surface with the pen is that there always seems to be some wobble in the line, even if the line drawn is smooth.  Autodesk has a smoothing tool, which in the Pro version you can set to a level that suits the art  you are doing at the time.

Although the Sketch function in Colorist doesn’t have the smoothing tool (yet?) it works just as well as Sketchbook for the kind of doodly, abstract, whimsical art I do.  The image above is a drawing I did in Colorist last night, it took an hour or so to achieve.

I enjoyed using this function, though not being able to rotate the digi-paper meant it was a tad awkward for me to draw certain things.  However, Colorist isn’t designed as a  dedicated drawing/art app, but I do wonder if a ‘pro’ version could be developed where a small fee is paid for such a functionality. The latest updates certainly suggest to me that there’s a possibility that this could be a direction the app could take in the future.

My verdict

I really like the updates, especially the marker and the sketch function. Congratulations to all at Faction Apps!

The suggestions I’ve made above for extending the additions in the future are not criticisms of the great updates made, but they would take this app beyond that of being just a colouring app, so I’m well aware they may not happen.

However, I do believe this app could evolve from being a colouring app into something more…

Colorist Windows App – announcement and review

Colorist

First, the announcement!  I’m doing some coloring templates for the Colorist App, and my first book of ten pages – called DoodleWorlds – is now available for it!

 

Review of Colorist

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Colorist is the only app that lets you color with exactly the same feel as coloring pencils! Relax on the couch and enjoy coloring a complex design, a vacation spot, or a crazy cartoon cat – tons of pages to choose from. Even color the same picture more than once, to see what else you can do with it. No need to worry about losing your coloring pencils in the couch anymore!

I have tried the Colorist app out, and here’s an honest review of it.

I had a quick look at the app before I agreed to do any design work for Faction Apps as I’d not want to have my artwork on any platform that I didn’t think was a good thing.

I’ve given it a test run using my Surface book and the Surface pen.  I haven’t tried it out in touch mode with my finger. You can see what I did in the image above, which is one of the free downloads as my own weren’t available at the time I did this test.

Here’s a close up of the section I coloured in.

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The colour palette

There’s a large number of colours available in the palette, and the bar that appears beside the image retains the last eight colours you’ve used, which is really useful and makes colouring in areas you want in the same colours easy to do.  It also means it’s easy to use many colours to get a smooth colour gradation, something that you can’t do with other colouring apps I’ve seen.

The pencil tool

There’s a slider bar with the tool so you can select the width of the pencil stroke, which is great.  The finest settings allowed me to add patterns to the image.  This is something that sets the app apart from others I’ve seen, which only allow a flood fill.

The finer lines and the ability to zoom in to the area you’re colouring mean you can get into the tiniest areas to colour, which at the original image size may have been a challenge, especially when printed on paper and coloured using coloured pencils.

The line isn’t a solid line, it has texture to it just as if you’re colouring on paper with a ‘tooth’ (texture).  This means that optical mixing of colours is possible, as well as adding texture to that mixing.  It also means that a smooth blend of colours is achievable.

The colours lay nicely on top of each other, thanks to that bitty texture; one colour doesn’t obsure the other, unless you use a lot of pressure and it’s what you want.

Oh, the colours don’t obscure the black outlines of the colouring page, no matter how hard you press.

My surface pen is pressure sensitive, and that makes the colouring experience a lot more comparable to colouring on paper with pencils, but without the mess!  I don’t know what it’s like on a screen that isn’t pressure sensitive, or how it works if I use my finger instead of the pen.

I am really impressed with the results and how the pencil tool works.

Also, I can get a bit irritated when I’m colouring with physical pencils; they often make my arthritic joints ache.  No such problem here; indeed, I wanted to carry on colouring but had to put it aside so I could get on with other things.

Eraser tool and Undo Button

It works!  However, I preferred to use the white from the palette to erase small areas to add highlights as I could control the thickness of the line being used to remove colour.

The undo button would be really useful too.

Together, they are things you can’t do when you’re colouring on paper, well not easily.

Saving your art

You can save your work at any time by using the save button on the app. You can also colour each page in as many times as you like in as many different colour schemes as you like too.

Final thoughts

I like this app, very, very much.  I found it easy to use, quick to master, and it gives really lovely results.  It’s a well thought through app, it does what it says it does, and the experience and results are a lot like using coloured pencils on paper!

I just want to repeat that although I have done some artwork for the app, these views are my own and not influenced by me working for them; if hadn’t htought the app was a good product I wouldn’t have agreed to do work for them!

Season’s Greetings 2016

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Sending each and every one of you all the very best of the wishes of the season. May each of your days ahead be filled with love, joy and all things bright and good!

Thank you to all who have supported me and sent me such kind words too.

Drawn on my Surfacebook, coloured in via Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.