Saturday, October 6, 2012

Drawing by Subtraction

I took a third Photoshop stab at my middle grade novel illustration.  This time working with a scratchboard effect (click on image to enlarge):


No actual boards were scratched in the creation of this picture.  I took my original pencil sketch scan

and inverted the colors in Photoshop.  Sorry, I have no picture of the inversion, but the effect was to turn the background black and the pencil lines into faint white guidelines.  I then "scratched" away with the eraser tool, varying the size and type of brush (you can use the same brush specs for erasing as you do for painting) to get different textures and levels of detail.

I think I have hit upon the right method for this particular book, which has a lot of physically dark scenes.  It's a very forgiving method.  Easy to "re-ink" an error and "scratch" again.  Better than real scratchboard that way.  Also better in that I don't have ink crumbs everywhere and a hand cramping around a knife tool.  It is significantly better than real scratchboard in the amount of control I can get over finer details like facial features.  That and the fact that it is FUN are the most important reasons to carry on with this method.

Next, I will work up light pencil sketches for two more chapter illustrations, then give them the Photoshop scratchboard treatment.  As I get better at this method, I may decide to rework this illustration too.  And I need to be thinking about a sample cover illo to submit with my query packet.  Perhaps a "scratchart" illustration in color.

2 comments:

  1. Great experiment. And I love that you came upon a solution. Nice work!!

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