Archive | August 2010

Autumn Colors

Autumn leaves, done with photoshop

Autumn leaves, done with Photoshop shapes by Ulla Hennig

At the moment it is raining in Berlin, and the weather is more like autumn at its worst than like summer.  Autumn can be a glorious season – with the leaves changing from green to yellowish and reddish colors, with crisp air in the morning and sunshine and warmth later on the day.

And autumn is the season of harvesting – big red apples, green pears, green and dark red grapes.

So I decided to create an autmnal atmosphere on photoshop. There is this fantastic tool called “shapes”. Photoshop offers a lot of shapes, and leaves of all kind are included. I hope looking at the picture will lift your spirits – in case they are down because of some nasty weather outside!



Cat. Sketch which has been worked upon with photoshop filters and layer styles.

This sketch was scanned – the quality is much better than that of a photo. Then I worked on it in photoshop. I first did the shape with the pen tool and filled it with color. Then I added the shadows with the brush, using the airbrush function.

Playing around with layer styles was the next step, and the final was to apply a filter.

Squirrel – painted with Photoshop

Gray squirrel. Sketch and painting done by Ulla Hennig

This painting was done with one of the most important tools of photoshop, the brush tool. I haven’t done much with this tool up to now, and so it was quite a learning experience for me. It is a way to combine traditional sketching /drawing and digital painting.

I do this only with the touchpad of my notebook. I am thinking more and more about buying  a Wacom tablet, but I want to see if I am really into that kind of art before I buy new things.

Male face

Male face

Male face. Sketch done by Ulla Hennig

Nothing much to say about it except that his photo was on the frontpage of my tv journal and I could not resist from doing a sketch.

I’ve begun to look for suitable photos everywhere. TV journals mostly provide the photos of people, but I’ve also got some of dolphins high in the air and a nice group of elephants. So watch out!

Just a manikin

Man in Green, sketch

Man in Green, sketch done by Ulla Hennig

I must admit, I did this sketch in the office, waiting for a telephone call. I then scanned it and colored it with the brush-tool in photoshop. I’ve never used that tool before, but had read a lot about the ways other digital artists use it to color their scans.

Sketching persons is also something which is new to me, and another trip out of my comfort zone. The second step really was fun – trying out different colors and brushes. It gave me an impression of what you can do if you combine “traditional” and digital art.

Horse in watercolor pencils

Horse painted with watercolor pencils

Horse in watercolor pencils painted by Ulla Hennig

This is my first painting done with watercolor pencils. The anatomy of the horse has its flaws, and you can also see that I have my problems with the technique of working with pencils and brush.

Painting with those pencils definitely meant leaving my comfort zone. But it also meant making new experiences, learning and – after all – having fun!

My first Sale

Yesterday morning I opened my inbox and there it was: my first information from Zazzle about a sale. A woman from Vienna had decided to buy that apron with the busy bee on it. Wow! You can imagine that I did quite some happy dance. Somebody liked my design so much that she decided to buy the apron!

Some time later I thought about my feelings. Okay, everybody who is selling something is happy about the first sale – be it an article, a book, a painting or whatever. But my feelings went deeper. I had almost lost the belief in myself, in my designs, in my photos. I like them, I think they are cute or impressive or beautiful, but was I right to believe that? The fact that I actually sold something told me, that I have something to offer what other people might like or were looking for.

But does it really need a sale to give me that confidence? Good question.

Water buffalo

Water Buffalo; charcoal drawing

Water buffalo. Charcoal drawing by Ulla Hennig

Another one of my charcoal drawings which I did some years ago.

Rhino in charcoal

Rhino; charcoal drawing

Rhino. Charcoal drawing by Ulla Hennig

I’ve just discovered this charcoal drawing in a remote corner of my studio and thought I’d like to share it with you.

A new week and a resolution

My three weeks’ vacation is over, and the moment you will be reading this I will be off to work again.

I am writing this blog post on Sunday, the last day of my vacation, and the last day of the week (here in Germany, the week begins with Monday!). I had a great vacation with a lot of creative activities, and it was long enough to build some creative habits which included the writing of some short stories, the creation of some digital paintings and, and that is the activity I am very glad about and proud of, drawings and even the coloring of one of those drawings with water color pencils.

During that time it became clear to me that I need those creative activities, that I have been looking forward to them from one day to the next. I am firmly decided to keep them up, even when I will have less time for them due to my regular working hours.

I know that there is nothing worse than making resolutions you can’t keep, so I’ve put together a list of things which can be done even when the time is scarce:

  • try out things with my water color pencils without doing a whole painting. That could be: experiment with blending techniques, with different methods of using water.
  • explore the tutorials on Youtube
  • put up a list of ideas for the next painting/drawing
  • download / print out photos which could serve as masters
  • as the writing summer space is still going on: write a piece once a week; jot down ideas for possible stories
  • set up a creative journal for all those ideas

And always keep in mind: I am entitled to my creative activities – they are not some kind of luxury, they are part of my daily life!