My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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Drawing Digital Portraits

Avery Duran Romance Author, Gay Romance http://averyduran.com/
A client asked me to create a digital portrait of her to use on social media and the website I was creating for her. Years ago I “drew” in Adobe Illustrator using the mouse. I would click for each point and click and drag if I wanted a curve. The limitation with this drawing method was that the illustrations lacked style and a hand drawn look.

Last year I purchased a new iPad. I didn’t get a Pro and an Apple Pencil, because we had just gotten a Wacom drawing tablet and I didn’t think I’d be drawing on the iPad. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out I could draw on it! I guess I wanted to after all.

I made the discovery when I noticed a squiggly line in the notes app and tried writing with my finger. From there I purchased an inexpensive stylus pen. I ordered the one that had the “finest point” I could find. I then discovered – through a podcast – that Adobe Illustrator has an app for the iPad – Adobe Draw. I could draw in layers! And I could send the layered file to Illustrator on the desktop for further refinement!

I’m still getting used to using a stylus. I want to lean on the iPad like a sketchbook for more control and precision. For the digital portrait I did several rough drawings for the client using a few photos as reference. She picked one illustration and I refined it and showed it to her again. She requested some minor edits, which I made. At this stage I refined the illustrations in Illustrator on my desktop and created two color variations. She was very happy with the final result – which makes me so proud. I decided to try my own portrait. No one should have to study their own picture so closely! I may have left some wrinkles off. 🙂

Digital portrait illustration http://www.mycreativeresolution.com

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Silver Bells

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Day 22 of the Christmas countdown. Silver bells, silver bells… One of my favorite Christmas songs! I drew the bell in Adobe draw on my iPad. I thought I’d do more digital drawings this month, but instead spent 21 days working in watercolor and ink.

Carol is painting along with me. See her beautiful bells here. Only 3 more days left in the countdown!


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With Digital Design the Possibilities are Endless

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As I sat down at the computer to design a pattern around my elf sketches, I quickly realized the sketches were just the tip of the iceberg. What kind of background did I want? A snowy scene? Or maybe a plaid background? When working with pens, paper, watercolor – basically any tools not on the computer – we have choices and options but once we move forward with a decision, things can only be changed so much. On the computer anything can be undone, changed, resized, rotated, colors altered, layers overlayed, etc. It’s a bit overwhelming! And I work as a graphic designer for a living. It must be the blending of the two – the hand drawn and the computer – that has my head swimming!

I started with the elves from my sketchbook and added this snowy night background behind them. It was interesting, but the dark sky didn’t seem right for Christmas gift wrap. I tried the plaid background, but I didn’t like the computer drawn plaid behind the watercolor. But, I ordered a fabric swatch of the snowy night out of curiosity.
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Another day I went back to the sketchbook and drew Christmas elements, and eventually added watercolor to them. I also painted stripes in red and green. Back at the computer (on another day), I scanned and played around with the different elements. I liked using the watercolor stripes much better than the computer plaid. Although it was a challenge to get the stripes to look right when I repeated the pattern. I’ve order a swatch of this pattern, so I’ll keep you posted!

Here’s the Christmas Watercolor Stripes design without the repeat:
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I’m interested in your thoughts! Out of the 3 designs, which do you like the best?

  1. Christmas Watercolor Stripes
  2. Snowy night at the North Pole
  3. Elves on plaid

Leave me a comment and let me know. Thanks!! 🙂

If you’d like to see my other gift wrap and fabric designs, please click here.

 


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Drawing Digitally

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With InkTober motivating me, I’ve been focused on my sketchbook this month. But sitting on the couch this afternoon I grabbed my iPad and stylus pen to get back to drawing digitally. The boy pulling his wagon was the last one I did weeks ago.

The whole feel of drawing on the iPad is different than pen on a page in the sketchbook. It took me a while to get used to it again. And I miss being able to lean my hand like on the sketchbook! Any touch creates lines on the iPad.

I use a ZXU fine point stylus pen which I found on Amazon. (This is not a sponsored post.) I draw in Adobe Illustrator Sketch and Adobe Photoshop Draw because I like working in layers and you can send your files from the iPad directly to those programs on your desktop.

Do you draw digitally? What tools do you prefer? Have any tips to share?


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Creating a scene

Scarecrow

Now I don’t mean going to a party and ending up with a lampshade on your head! What I mean by “creating a scene” is I’m aspiring to create illustrations that have depth to them. In the past my illustrations and paintings have focused on a single object.

I created the scarecrow on my iPad using Adobe Sketch for the first time. (I’ve been practicing with Adobe Draw). Although I didn’t end up using the more Photoshop-like brushes. I’m still trying to get the apps linked to my desktop. It would be awesome to draw on the iPad and then be able to open the drawing in Illustrator or Photoshop to refine. And I think I had a breakthrough. 😀


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Playing around with Adobe Draw

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Today at the pool I pulled out my iPad and a stylus pen and drew a tree, followed by people in the pool. I’ve used Adobe Draw twice before and it’s something I want to do more of.

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Previously my digital illustration was done by pointing and clicking the mouse in Adobe Illustrator on the desktop. Although I’ve wanted to do more digital drawing, sitting at the computer feels like work, so I usually end up with pen and sketch pad instead.

Earlier in the summer, I notice a scribbly line in notes and started drawing with my finger. After that I read about an artist that uses Adobe Draw and thought, “I need that!” Then I saw a stylus at my mom’s house and ordered one for myself.

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Adobe Draw is awesome because you can work in layers like Illustrator. I haven’t even gotten to the point of opening files from Adobe Draw in Illustrator (to refine them), but I’m under the impression that you can do that, and that they’ll be vector files.

Drawing on the iPad is so quick, compared to traditional materials. Although there are things I’d like to do that I’m still figuring out. I plan on playing around more with this. 😀


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How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop {Feathers my pattern for September.}

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Here is my pattern design for September. As you may have seen, I’ve been drawing and painting feathers all month, so it’s seemed appropriate to turn them into a pattern. I pieced this pattern together from my sketchbook (see below). I wanted this pattern to be much tighter than ones I’ve designed so far this year. This tighter pattern, required more playing and arranging in Photoshop becauses once I thought the pattern was “set” and I tried repeating it, things would overlap and I’d have to readjust and try repeating it again.
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If you know Photoshop and want to try creating a pattern, I’ve included my steps below.

Creating a pattern in Photoshop:

  1. Scan artwork
  2. In Photoshop: separate each element of your design into different layers
  3. Within your artboard, create the area for your “repeat” using guides. (translation: use guides to create a box within your artboard. You can expand the canvas size before this step.)
  4. Arrange your elements. They can go over the guides.
  5. On a separate layer outline the guides to make a box.
  6. Create a group with the box and element layers – call it “original”
  7. Duplicate the “original” group. Drag to the right so the left edge of the box touches the right guide
  8. Duplicate the group again. Drag to the left so the right edge of the box touches the left guide
  9. Select the three groups and duplicate them. Drag the 3 duplicate layers up, so the bottom of the boxes touch the top guide
  10. Duplicate the three groups again. Drag them down, so the top of the boxes touch the bottom guide
  11. If any adjustments need to be made – delete all but your “original” group, make the adjustments and repeat steps 7-10
  12. When you are happy with your repeating pattern, hide all the layers with the box outline.
  13. Crop to the guides to create your “repeat.”

 

Below, you can see my boxes. The center box is where I have my guides (which are not visible).
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Slight variations on my feather pattern.
No distress in the background. 
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Distress shows yellow.
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Which one do you like best? 🙂

Copyright 2015 Eileen McKenna. All rights reserved.


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Sandcastles (My May Pattern)

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Sandcastles is the theme of my May pattern (I know, I know it’s already June). I’ve been working extra hard on this pattern because I’m entering it in a Spoonflower contest. This week’s theme is sandcastles and it’s so fitting this time of year!

With Memorial Day behind us, I can’t help but think of beach days! We are counting down to the end of the school year and making our Summer plans. We are lucky enough to live 10 minutes from the ocean. I grew up in a nearby beach town and as a kid, I spent my entire Summer on the beach. When I was old enough to work, it was as a ocean lifeguard.

When I saw that Spoonflower’s pattern contest was a sandcastle theme, I had to give it a try. You know I’m obsessed with creating patterns these days! This would be my first entry into a Spoonflower contest.

Below is my first draft. I made some edits, because I felt there was too much sand and it needed more details. Voting opens Thursday (spoonflower.com). 🙂
sandcastle


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I’ve hired myself :)

A while back I mentioned that I started a marketing/graphic design blog for my business. What I didn’t mention is that I’ve been creating illustrations for most of the posts! I did share one of the illustrations here, in the post Painting Digitally. That illustration set the tone for the style I’ve used for the rest of the illustrations. I decided it was wise to keep things somewhat consistent and I like the motivation to work digitally. I usually avoid the computer when I’m illustrating, because I spend enough time on it when I’m doing Graphic Design.

Although it takes time, I enjoy creating the illustrations and I think it is good practice if I’m to have a future in editorial illustration. Plus I only charge myself a small amount – ha ha.

Illustrations for Marketing/Graphic Design blog:

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