Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gator Pox by Russ Cox

 © 2011 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio
A few months ago, I was learning Painter and trying out a new style. After chatting with some fellow illustrators, I thought I would try Photoshop for a digital painting. I chatted with Photoshop master Will Terry and followed his video tutorial to get a jump start. This is my first attempt. I must say that I found Photoshop easier to navigate and was able to create my own custom brushes very easily. Not that I am ditching Painter but I will do a few more pieces in Photoshop to get a handle on painting this way.

My first step was to do a quick sketch and scan into Photoshop. I have no idea where the concept came from. It was the first thing to pop into my head so I went with it.

After tweaking the overall contrast of the scan, I did a quick gray scale under painting to figure light direction and overall value.

I then blocked in some dark tones in various the layers. I played around with the "Multiply" settings with each layer so it would pick up some of the values from the layer underneath.

Working from dark to light, I slowly built up the colors. By using a custom made brush, I was able to create a texture on the gator. Also varying the brush width, it allows me to work in some details.

Continuing to add color and working in the dark lines, help bring the illustration together. I also wanted the original sketch to shine through.

A few highlights were added at the end. The colors were a little flat so I played with the "Saturation" setting in Photoshop to boost the color. This is the final piece. I have sketched out two more pieces that I want to try painting digitally. Maybe one of them will be in my next post.

Stay tuned next week for a special announcement from Pixel Shavings!

Smiling Otis Facebook Fan Page
Smiling Otis Studio Blog

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Magic Carpet Ride by Hazel Mitchell

Early August is the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. Every year there is a portfolio showcase and this year I will be entering a portfolio on the theme of 'flying'.

I have taken different scenarios and created an image for example: fairies, ladybugs, superhero cat, a boy constructing a model plane.

This is my second year at the Los Angeles conference and I am very much looking forward to spending time with other illustrators and writers, to say nothing of the fantastic faculty this year. These gatherings give a tremendous boost and really get the juices flowing!

Attending the conference this year will be Sheralyn Barnes and Debbie Ohi, fellow Pixel Shavers, so it will be quite a reunion given that we live in far flung areas of North America.

Here is the Magic Carpet Ride image - 2 versions, one colour and the other with grayscale washes. Both are created with graphite and finished in photoshop.

Thanks for dropping by Pixel Shavings ... next week there will be something yummy from ace illustrator Russ Cox.

Catch me on google+ under 'Hazel Mitchell'


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Off to join the Circus by Sheralyn Barnes

I've spent the last month continuing to hone my computer painting skills and getting my portfolio updated for the upcoming LA SCBWI conference. Although I feel as if I've been going at a snail's pace for the last few months, it was incredibly inspiring to pull out my portfolio from last year at this time and compare the work in it to the work that I am doing now. It makes all the long hours of learning and fussing at the computer worth it.

On my last post, I left you with a couple of digital paintings of my newest characters of a little girl and a bear. Well, at this point, at least the bear has a name (Simu) and both of the characters personalities are starting to come together for me. I've been doing more sketches based off of Illustration Friday's weekly suggestions. 
Here is the sketch that I did for the week that the topic was "Swept"....

And here is a portion of the re-worked digital painting of the Shadow puppet piece that I posted in my last post. I've been working on adding color and making the characters a bit more personable. Still have some tweaking to do, but it's been fun to experiment. I've really grown attached to these guys and look forward to getting to know them better!

 Thanks again for checking in!
Tune in next week for more fun and inspiration from Hazel!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Photoshop method by Fred Koehler

It's a hot summer in Florida, and I thought I'd give you a glimpse of a Photoshop method I used with this sketch of my daughter at the swimming pool.

 Choose a base color for the background and sketch on a new layer.

Under the sketch layer, add dark and light values.

Create a new layer with the blend mode "color" and bring in some selective dominant color.

Add some interesting background detail and you're all done!

See more at and check back next week to hear from the magnificent Sheralyn Barnes.