Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Digital Portrait

Some years ago, after I learnt Paint Shop Pro, I started getting into digital painting and even bought a digital drawing pad. It's kind of ironic though because I have never really painted with real paints before. Well actually I can think of one time at school when we had a project to paint a wooden spoon for a Mother's Day gift. So I made a butterfly which I copied from a nature book. Years later my mother showed it to me, and I was quite impressed! Apart from that, I had only ever used coloured pencils and pastels and I didn't create anything particularly fantastic.

The reason I think I enjoy digital painting more than on paper is that there is the undo button - and I tend to use it a lot!

This picture is the only portrait I have ever made on the computer. Other than that I only ever did a few pencil portraits at school. Technically I am not sure I can really call this a portrait because I actually used someone else's portrait painting to make mine, seeing as I didn't have the luxury of having a real live person to paint. Why I chose to copy someone elses art I will never know and I don't even remember who the artist was. My picture doesn't look like the original either.

There are some things I love about this picture and some things I hate. First of all I never made a background for it, the ear seems a bit on the small side and I know I rushed the hair. Perhaps I got bored with it because like always I starts questioning why I am going to all that trouble. I am working on changing my internal dialogue! What I do like though is the face; particularly the eyes and the lips. It gives me a glimpse of what I am capable of. At the same time it leaves me a little sad that I never went to art college, the biggest regret of my life.

Anyway, if you would be interested in me making you a digital painting, maybe from a photo of you, or a family member, or of something else, I will certainly have a go (and I promise to put in a background :-) )! Just leave a message here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A bowl of glass grapes

Time goes so fast and it's hard for me to believe that it was over ten years ago that I belonged to many online groups relating to Paint Shop Pro. I remember one such group where they would post an image as inspiration for the members to create their own image. Once completed you would share your picture with the rest of the group and they would give feedback. I remember some people had such exceptional talent that it was a real privilege to see what they had created.

One week this photo was put online to give us inspiration.

As you can see by my version below I changed the background to a darker background which I felt made the glass grapes stand out more. The bowl I made fairly similar to the original just by creating a half circle which I filled with blue and dabbed with a grey colour. The grapes I am pretty sure I created with just one oval which I then duplicated, recoloured and rotated several times. Looking a little closer I am fascinated at how I created the highlights of each grape. I do sometimes forget how I created a certain effect unless I write it down at the time which luckily I did nine times out of ten. But this time was the exception I guess.

As always, if you have a picture/s you would like me to use as inspiration for a new image just let me know and I would be happy to create something for you.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Calorie-Free Banana Split

One day I was playing around in Paint Shop Pro, as I often would do, and purely by accident created something that looked to me like a banana. With just a slight adjustment of colour it looked pretty good. So after thinking a short while how I could best use it I decided to make an banana split. After all there are so many tasty things that go into a banana split it would be a fun challenge to try and recreate it.

Luckily I wrote down a tutorial so I can make it again, but I may well modify the instructions a bit as several things are not as I want them. But for better or worse here is the result:

So what do I need to change I hear you ask? Well I want the ice-cream scoops to be bigger for sure, and the overall appearance needs to be glossier and tastier looking. Also there should be strawberry syrup on the strawberry ice-cream and caramel on the vanilla ice-cream - at least that's the way I would make a real banana split if I ever stopped counting the calories. I think I would also put nuts and chocolate sprinkles over too.. hmm I'm starting to get hungry all of a sudden!

Let me know whether you would find this a fun tutorial to do in PSP. I could soon finish off the instructions and put it on this blog if there was enough interest.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cool Tiling Background

Working with Paint Shop Pro has always been a favourite creative outlet of mine, because when you play around with the software you don't always know what creation you are going to end up with. Sometimes just changing one little setting can completely transform your image and I have often discovered very interesting effects this way.

Today's picture is one such creation. I wanted to create a Christmas background for a project I was working on at the time offering free web set graphics. Unfortunately web sets went out of fashion before I ever completed this project but I still really like this background as it gives a sort of optical illusion, where the lines that make up the squares start to look kind of slanted. Feel free to download this image and set it as a tiled desktop background tiled. I find it a cool effect anyway.

It is so much fun to create these repeating backgrounds and I am itching to play around with PSP again. If you need/want a background to co-ordinate with your website or as a fun desktop background I will gladly make you something. Simply leave me a message here and I will get right back!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pixel Building

Over the last 10 years or so I have spend a lot of time online (who hasn't) and I am always on the lookout for interesting graphics. What I have seen though is that things that were popular a few years ago seem to die out when the next new craze comes out - just like in "real" life. One thing that used to be really popular at one time were pixel graphics. I used to fanatically save any picture which would wow me, and there were many!

What I did notice with pixel graphics that sometimes a certain detail could just be copied and pasted to save a lot of time. Bearing this in mind I decided to use as a reference a little picture I had of an office building as there were a lot of repeating details. This the office building that I made:

It may not be one of the prettiest pictures I've made, but I like it nonetheless. And even though I obviously did a lot of copying and pasting, it actually was a lot more work than it may appear at first sight. But it was also a lot of fun!

I really enjoy making pixel graphics, they look pretty cool, and I wish this was still a popular pastime. Shough you know of any pixel graphics sites out there please let me know. And if you want to request a pixel graphic from me, let me know too. I am up for a challenge!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Cameo in Paint Shop Pro

Some years ago when I was learning Paint Shop Pro I came across a few tutorials on how to make a cameo. Although the end results were pretty, I felt no-one quite nailed the effect. So that's when I decided to have a go myself. For my first attempt I found a font I liked which, instead of having all the letters of the alphabet, had elegant ladies in place of each letter. I found an image I liked and made the cameo below.

It turned out quite pretty but it wasn't very creative - I just added a shadow to the figure, added gold framing and that was pretty much it. And really it didn't feel to me like a real cameo, it was barely 3-dimensional, so I would have to think up another method.

After many unsuccessful attempts I went on to other things and forgot about the cameo. That is, until one day when I was playing around with some effects and settings and created a wonderful 3D image, suitable for making a cameo. I quickly wrote down the steps I'd taken so I could duplicate this effect again. The nice thing is you can make this out of any 3 dimensional looking image, so I found one that I thought would make a great cameo. Here is what I made:

If you would like to find out how to make your own cameo, post me a message and I will tidy up my notes and make this tutorial for you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Victorian Sig Tag

At one time there used to be lots of web groups online and I belonged to several Paint Shop Pro web groups. They used to be so much fun and typically a group would post links to great PSP tutorials, set challenges to encourage creativity, and image sharing was eagerly encouraged. The images would be cut out from an image and shared as a PSP tube which could then be used in any number of ways to make a completely new graphic. My inbox used to get very full!

Although these kind of web groups don't seem to exist anymore (let me know if you know different), I still have lots of these tubes and still intend to use them for future PSP projects. I find them particularly useful for creating sig tags. A sig tag is a little graphic that has your name and can be used signing off an email. So not only is it pretty but it is functional too. 

Here is a victorian sig tag I made a number of years ago. I created it in the style of a real victorian notecard and I love the way it turned out.

One of the things I enjoy about making sig tags is finding a font that looks good with the image, and by using different text effects (shadows, colouring, embossing, etc) you can get a really unique effect.

I am planning to make this into a tutorial if there is enough interest. I can also make a personalised sig tag by request, either using this tag or completely from scratch. Perhaps you already have an image you would like me to use? Leave a message and I will see what I can do!