Archive | November 2010

Portrait in Colored Pencils

Portrait done with colored pencils

Portrait done with colored pencils. Ulla Hennig

Suddenly I had the urge to take my colored pencils and color this sketch. Actually, these are watercolor pencils, but they can be used as “normal” colored pencils.

The dirty spots around the portrait are the leftovers from the original photograph I took of the painting. I worked over the photo with Photoshop, trying to create a transparent background by erasing all the color around the portrait. As you can see I did a rather sloppy job with that.

I worked with Leonardo da Vinci watercolor pencils. I’ve been reading a lot about Prismacolor pencils, but you cannot get these in a shop here in Germany. They are offered online, however, and together with the shipping they are more expensive than those I’ve got. However I am thinking about adding some Prismacolors to my colored pencils stock–just to be able to compare them!

Colored Pencils

Horse painted with colored pencils

Horse painted with colored pencils by Ulla Hennig

This is a very rough sketch. I returned to the non-digital tools of painting because some days ago I discovered a pad of tracing paper. I must have bought it quite a long time ago because I had almost forgotten that I had it. Looking at it I remembered some videos on YouTube which show how an artist did the final drawing on tracing paper.

So I took my sketch pad and a reference photo of a horse and a pencil. Then I put the tracing paper over the sketch paper and did the inking with a 0.8 mm pen. Hmm. I was not very satisfied with the result and put the paper away. Today, in a short break at work, I watched another video showing how somebody colored a rose with colored pencils. Coming home from work I looked at the drawing on the tracing paper. Maybe if… At least I could give it a try. I was quite surprised how the pencils worked on the tracing paper.

So, on this day I learnt quite a few things:

  1. how to get inspired and motivated by the multitude of art (experiences, tutorials, works) on the web.
  2. not to give up too early!
  3. the difference between a simple lineart drawing and a colored drawing
  4. that there is a world outside digital painting! Both worlds–the world of traditional art and the one of digital art, are fascinating and offer new experiences almost every day.

Dancing elf Collage

Elf in the Forest. Collage done with Photoshop

Elf in the Forest. Collage done with Photoshop

This is a rather simple collage. I went to Wikimedia Commons and searched for “forest”. I picked out a photo which I thought might be an ideal background for my dancing elf. Then I adjusted the background to my drawn elf by applying an art filter, put some lights and shadows on it by using the dodge and burn tools. I also used these tools for distributing a bit of shadow and light on the elf. Voilà!

Rocks and Water

Rocks and Water

Rocks and Water. Digital Painting by Ulla Hennig

This has been done without any reference photo. I had looked at a digitally painted cave where the beholder is looking out of the cave into a rather blurry sky. Looking at the digital painting created a different image in my mind – one with rocks and water.

Although this image above is far from perfect (ahh-I hate this craving for perfection!) I’ve got the feeling that I am making progress in the field of digital painting…

Work in Progress: Three Birches

Three birches - digital painting

Three Birches. Digital Painting

I have got one of my photos as a reference photo for this. I am not very good at landscape painting, virtual or non-virtual, and a lot of question arose when I did the painting. How do you paint clouds? Where are the dark and the light parts? (Actually, you can get a brush online which produces clouds, but I did not want to use it.) What different shades of green cover the earth? And how do you “do” the leaves on the trees?

And most of all: What is the difference between a photo and a painting? Hmmm. Another of my art adventures, and I realize how much I have to learn and how much I am learning by doing all those fascinating things.


Photoshop Shapes

Bird on a red star

Bird on a red star. Done with Photoshop by Ulla Hennig

This is a very simple example of what you can do with Photoshop shapes. Bird shape and star shape are a part of my Photoshop shapes. In addition to your “normal” shapes you can find a lot of selections of free Photoshop shapes on the web–in one of my next posts I will list a few locations where you can get them.

Working with layers is important here, too, especially if you want to move your shapes around, or if you want to change the size  by clicking on EDIT and then on TRANSFORM->Scale (I’ve got Photoshop in a German version, so I hope you can guess what I am talking about). I created one layer for the background, one for the bird, and one for the star, and I played around with some layer styles.

Actually it took me longer to upload the image file to flickr and to write this blog post than to create the image itself… Try it for yourself and have fun!

Horse – digitally painted


Digital painting of a wild horse. Artist: Ulla Hennig

This is my first digital painting of a horse. I sketched the horse, took a photograph of the horse and then worked on it in Photoshop. I took the following steps:

  1. I did the lineart with the pen-tool. Attention: In order to do that properly, you have to select the proper brush and the proper size of the brush, and of course the color of your lines. And you have to do it on an additional layer. I called this layer “lineart”.
  2. After having done the lineart, I added a second layer and called it “basic color”. I then took a bigger brush and colored the horse.
  3. I then again added a layer and called it “shadows”. Now I selected a darker brown and did the parts of the horse where the shadows are.
  4. I did the same for the parts of the horse where the light is shining on–of course in this case with a lighter brown.
  5. I colored the mane and the muzzle with a dark grey.
  6. I added another layer for the grass. Here I was lazy and put the light green on the same layer as the darker ones.

After having done all that my painting energy somewhat left me, and I thought about putting it online. But then I discovered a lot of white spots where I hadn’t been with the brush. So the last part of my work was dedicated to cleaning up the image. And voila, here it is!

Elf dancing in the Light

Elf with vignette

Elf dancing in the Light. Digitally enhanced colored drawing by Ulla Hennig

When I began to work on the elf again I had an image in mind with the elf standing in the focus, surrounded by light. And I wanted the colors to signify energy and nature, so I chose the ones you could see above.

Again I used the possibility to work with layers in Photoshop: The dancing elf is on one layer, the vignette on a second, and the dark background on a third layer. I am not sure whether the background is not too dark, but I am a bit of an impatient person and decided to leave it at that…

The Speaking Tree

Speaking Tree

The Wise Speaking Tree. Drawing colored with copics by Ulla Hennig

Have you ever seen a tree which looked like having a face on it? No, of course not a real face, but something which reminded you of a face? Berlin has quite a lot of forests, and there have been some trees with funny forms on them.

So suddenly I had an imagine in my head which kind of wanted to be painted, the image of a tree with an old man’s face. I took a pencil and did a first sketch, and then inked the sketch and colored it with my new copic markers. I colored the eye in red because I thought it would make a nice contrast.

Now I am thinking about putting the elf and the Speaking Tree together. They could be a nice contrast, too: The young and happy dancing elf, and the old Wise Speaking Tree, maybe saying something like “Stop dancing around in the woods and do something useful!” Maybe there could be a cartoon with speech balloons? I’ll keep you posted!

Analogue vs Digital

Königsee. Pastel painting, digitally enhanced

Königsee. Pastel painting, digitally enhanced. Artist: Ulla Hennig

Actually this is a pastel painting which I did in the late 80s of the 20th century. It is hanging on the wall in my small entrance hall. I took a photo of it which turned out very, very blurry.

Some time ago I would have thrown it into my virtual trashcan (bin) without spending any thoughts on it. Now, that I’ve entered the wondersome world of Photoshop I said to myself: “Stop! Maybe you can do something with it.”

As those of you that use Photoshop may know: this program has a lot of filters which change your image file into something very different. It has got art filters, too. I applied the water color filter with the effect that you can see above.

So we’ve got a pastel painting turned into a watercolor painting. Well!