Archive | September 2010

Painting with Photoshop

Red Colors, painted with photoshop brushes

Red Colors, painted with photoshop brushes by Ulla Hennig

“Painting” this was absolute fun. First I selected a square brush, defined the size of it and then decided about the color. A slight click – and the first colored spot is done. And then – another color, a bigger brush.

And there is this “liquidify” filter – you can clic kon one of the edges, hold the mouse and draw.

I had the wild red colors of fall in mind when I sat down. Fall is like the last battle of nature, showing all its beautiful colors. I made this also with the dark days and long nights of winter in mind, as a picture to come back to and get energy from.

By the way: I will be gone the whole next week. I’ll spend a whole week in the northern east of Germany, at the Baltic Sea. I will take my camera with me, so there will be some stories to read and some photos to look at when I am back. For the first time I’ll give myself permission to have a break in my blogging activities. But I will definitely be back again on 4th of October! Have a great time until then!

Surprise, surprise!

Yesterday I met a friend, and I showed this card to her. I just wanted to show her what I was doing on Zazzle. I was very pleased when she said that the card was beautiful and that she would like to have it –and some more!–for her cards collection. So I sold the card to her and will order some more.

Probably she would not have bought it online. She could take the card in her hand, feel the good quality of the paper and make sure that the colors were natural.

As a consequence I will order some of my cards from Zazzle in order to show them to people or even to sell them.

Pink Rose card
Pink Rose by ullahennig
Make your own cards at

Deviantart is a huge community of artists. On their “About us” page they write:
“deviantART was created to entertain, inspire, and empower the artist in all of us. Founded in August 2000, deviantART is the largest online social network for artists and art enthusiasts with over 13 million registered members, attracting 35 million unique visitors per month.
As a community destination, deviantART is a platform that allows emerging and established artists to exhibit, promote, and share their works within a peer community dedicated to the arts. The site’s vibrant social network environment receives over 100,000 daily uploads of original art works ranging from traditional media, such as painting and sculpture, to digital art, pixel art, films and anime.”

For me it has become something like a virtual gallery – I have a look around rather randomly in order to get inspired. And then I find something like this:

Or I have a closer look at the categories I “do” myself like drawings, animals, digital art, or I am looking for tutorials. It is a wonderful place to come to, and it is free. Have a look for yourself!

Autumn is colorful!

Fall leaves. Collage done with photoshop

Fall leaves. Collage done with photoshop

I am still on my discovery journey through the world of photoshop. The image above has been created with another photoshop tool – the brush.

When I first heard of this tool and then used it I used it to draw and paint. The leaves above were not drawn or painted, they were created by one click. First I did the background, then I added one layer for each leaf, choosing different colors. Finally I added some layer style.

You can download hundreds of free brushes, and there are many brushes with an autumnal theme. I did not have anything special in mind when I began doing this–I just wanted to try out the potentials of the brush tool!

Yellow Rose

Yellow Rose Blossom

Yellow Rose. Cropped out of a photo and put on green background. Photo: Ulla Hennig

I took the photo of this yellow rose in 2008, and now I wanted to find out how it looked like when I cropped it out and put it on a gradient background. There are no branches and leaves now which can distract the eye of the beholder–allĀ  the focus is on the yellow blossom itself. I think it is like putting a piece of jewellery on a dark cloth.

Reckless or adventurous?

In the beginning of my Zazzle career I was very very careful in selecting my photos for Zazzle. Actually I went through my hard disk, looked on that photo and that and in the end did not take them. I saw this flaw and that flaw and considered most of them not to be good enough to appear on a card, a mug, a mousepad, a sticker or a keychain.

Then there came the time when I did a search for a certain design on Zazzle I was considering making or uploading. I found a lot of great designs, a lot of good designs and some OMG-designs. I felt much more secure now with uploading my own.

I even converted the quick sketch of an elephant (which you could see in my last post) into a design, as you can see here:

It is not bad for a quick sketch, but putting it on some products is reckless–or adventurous? Whatever the answer might be, I learnt a lot during the process. One thing was that the magnetic lasso is a perfect tool for selecting a sketch, much better than the pen tool. I tried it for the first time and was surprised how fast I could select the elephant, copy it and put it on a transparent layer. This is necessary because then people who are interested in buying the mug but don’t like the color of the background can change it without problems.
By the way, there is an interesting blog which is called:ZaBestZaWorst

As the name implies it picks out the best and the worst!


Drawing of an elephant

Elephant drawn with pencil and ink by Ulla Hennig

It was fun drawing the elephant. It was late in the evening when I did it, and I was really tired in the beginning. But then with each stroke I felt more awake. That was a bit of a surprise for me. When I decided to do it I wasn’t sure if I would manage to get anything done…

Drawing a Dragon

I have discovered Youtube as a treasure trove full of drawing and painting tutorials. Often I watch them just for getting new ideas or inspirations. Of course the spoken words of the artist in the tutorial are important, but it is also the way they draw or paint
In the following video I am fascinated by the way the artist creates the dragon with a few quick strokes in such a short time! Ah well, I might have a try myself…


By the way this is post #300! That’s quite a number to celebrate, isn’t it?

Dolphin III

One of the fascinating features of photoshop is that you can create your own shapes. That is what I did here: I created a form out of my scanned dolphin by using the pen-tool and then converted this form into a shape (well, actually the program did it!). The big advantage of a shape is that you can re-size it, turn it, and color it in whatever way you like it.

After having done all that I thought I could use it as a design for my Zazzle shop. It fits very well on a bag, a mug and an apron. Here’s just the bag, but you can find all the other products when you go to my store and enter “dancing dolphins” in the search field.

Dolphin II – the digital painting

Dolphin, digital painting

Dolphin. Sketch and digital painting done by Ulla Hennig

I published the sketch of the dolphin in my Wednesday blog post. Here is the result of working on it in Photoshop: After having filled the shape with a blueish-gray color I did the shadows with the brush tool. I added the final touch by using the layer filter tool.

I don’t know whether I will use this digital painting for a Zazzle design. However I used the dolphin sketch for creating a Zazzle design – if you’ll visit this blog on next Monday you will see how I did that!