Sunday, 29 August 2010

A New Series and Gibberish Baby Talk

Omens and Endurance

Finally, I am writing my last sentence in the Geisha's diary and tucking her in for a temporary slumber. It's been such a rich and nourishing journey for my now somewhat fuller mind. All the knowledge and cultural experience were extraordinary, although I'm sure that I had just barely touched the surface. But who knows? The Geisha might one day reawaken into another transformation. Only time will tell.

So here I am, closing one page of a diary and turning another leaf of a journal. Omens and Endurance is also the first piece of a newly brewing series, Sweet Delights of Misconceptions. It is a series that has been storming in my head for the last couple of weeks under constant consumption of caffeine and a few aspirins (only when desperately needed, of course). Something that I have been putting off to do for so long, after succumbing to my poor time management and my stubbornness to always do things that appear more important than they seemed. Sounds familiar? :)

Anyway, if you've noticed, I have recently been plunging into vaguely known territory of digital painting in Photoshop. My minimum skill and experience in this medium, stored in the bleak memory of my college years,  is by far the biggest challenge. But hey! if I could bear two children for 9 months each, then it could mean nothing, right? Well, all I have now is a sore arm, stiff back and a blurry vision (the aspirins took care of some others). So I think I'm still good to go.

And to answer the questions many of you asked about this alien medium I've been using, here are a few peeks into my very amateurish attempts...

I started with a black and white graphite drawing which was done with softer and more detailed shadings. After scanning it in high resolution, I began 'painting' one color per layer as I would when painting in oil. Yes, it needs precision and definitely a lot of patience as I had to use just the right tones to achieve the smoothness I wanted.

Experimenting with the layers was the the next big step. At first all those effect names came only as gibberish to me. I even thought "multiply" literally meant that I would end up with a dozen different layers and "color burn" would allow me to see the layers turned into something singed and black. Silly old me. :)

Then after carefully painting the whole drawing, I began tampering with the textures with some surfaces I had prepared beforehand. A few crease here, a little smudge there with pastels, and I ended up with a texture template like this one. Of course, many of you are probably a lot more creative than I am, so by all means, throw in some paints or anything else you have in mind.I won't go too deep with all the steps of mixing the template with the painted piece, because all I did was 'plunged and dived'. The only key is to try out everything more than once.

So like a child with a new toy, I discovered that Photoshop is a haven of layers and effects. It's fun to try different things, singularly or by mixing them up. I know, I know, this whole step-by-step description probably sounds like 'baby talk' to most of you super experienced digital artists. But, I am, without a doubt, just a baby in this medium. But babies will walk and run someday, don't you agree? So if you're like me and have been putting off to create art digitally, maybe it's about time you dipped your little finger in and just see how the water suits you.

Believe me, you won't lose your touch with the traditional skills you already have, but you'll find them more enhanced than before.

Have fun!
Amalia oxx


  1. It is absolutely beautiful! Photoshop is very powerful tool indeed (I often combine PS with Painter -works fine!)

  2. Amalia, you've done beautiful work with Photoshop here. I have never tried it myself - but you are right, baby steps! I'm a huge fan of red heads with freckles, too!!!!(my daughter has red hair and freckles) so, I absolutely ADORE her...

  3. well, nothing about any of these has looked "amateurish" to me. I think you stepped right in and took to it beautifully. It will feel easier and more comfortable with time and practice. I love your poetic description of "multiply" and "color burn". I think you could turn anything into poetry! :) Oh and she is beautiful, love the little caterpillars.

  4. Sooo beautiful Amalia! The girl is very sweet and love the bird!
    I don't think you have 'minimum experience' in digital looks very professional to me!
    I also like experimenting with Photoshop...there are so many options and variations you can do with it that I easily get lost in time! It can get very addictive sometimes! :)
    Anyhow, it's nice to see your work digital!
    Wish you lots of fun with your new series! :)

  5. All of these latest pieces are stunning! I love the Japanese elements, the colors, the geishas, birds...stunning, stunning!

  6. Love this, and love that you showed your process. I have a small suggestion. Putting the bird's foot on her sleeve would make it seem like it is interacting with her more in offering the treat. Good job!

  7. I am completely in awe and bowing before the computer screen...can you tell?
    I, who fear and avoid Photoshop, actually learned a little from your baby-talk, and it was a delight to see the work in progress.
    However, when it boots up, I shall still run as fast as I can....;D
    Lovely, delightful...impressive....


  8. Hey Amalia, it's really nice to see how you work, it gives everyone a greater insight as to how a piece is created and the process the artist goes through. I find myself using a similar technique myself, adding colour to a drawing and then texturising it. It's real fun, don't you think?
    Also, there is nothing amateurish about your digital work! Before now I had no idea you had little experience in the digital field, your work looks incredible to me!

  9. your work is really good and delightful :D beautifully done and great result!
    Thanks for sharing the process :)*

  10. She is stunning, Amalia!! Thanx for sharing your process with all of us!!

  11. My dear Amalia, good luck with the new series! I don't know what's happening in your mind and imagination, but you sound quite enthusiastic and eager to draw your visions and share them with us! I like this drawing - I can breathe freely, with a smile, without worrying or searching for difficult answers. It's colourful, full of life (again this beautiful symbol for a new beginning - the butterflies)! But aren't you still exploring the Geisha theme, or perhaps this is just an echo from it?...:-) I feel that the process of digital drawing you are explaining brings you joy and unexpected discoveries!! And this is the most important thing in your new journey. I do hope that you will not lose your unique skills in drawing with coloured pencils!!:)))))))

  12. Oh, Amalia! if you hadn't write about it, I may not discover that you've painted this beautiful girl in Photoshop, perhaps because the drawings maintain the texture of the graphite. Your mixture of techniques is very good! I've never worked with photoshop in this way ... I think your picture has given me a push to experience (but I still don't know how start). The advantages of turning another page of a book to continue reading it (in this case, I'm the reader and you the writter), is that any time we can go back to remember... but with a different impression :) have a wonderful week, Sister Tree (hugs!)

  13. greetings blody real good this one :)

    be back in a while and give you the wonderous verbosity which this one deserves

    thanks for the lesson as well and love those freckles :)

  14. the colors, her expression, the details....everything is wonderful about this. I loved reading how you brought this to life. Amazing. I have not learned PS, so it is fun to hear that you are enjoying mixing computer art with your wonderful traditional skills.

    I look forward to your next piece, I can feel your passion in your words.

  15. your artistry is very very lovely.

  16. This is so good! I have absolutely no idea how to get smooth shading on photoshop, hope you do many more! it really doesn't look like youv'e only just begun doing this!

  17. hadooooooohh pusing gw kalo ngebahas-bahas soal beginian, skill tradisional digital whatever, pooooor me xD

    aku tuh baru nyadar i know nothing about anything of anything concerning to anything (pusing ga tuh), sighs...
    coba ajarin cara menggambar yg baik dan benar, tradisional or digital...
    kadang bingung kalo mo komen secara gw ga tau pokok permasalahannya tradisional or digital...

  18. ah tapi diluar itu semua, she is beautiful INDEED!!!!


  19. aku tau kamu belom mandi.
    jangan bete gitu dong teh.


  20. Hello lovely people!!

    It's wonderful to read your generous comments on my gibberish baby talk. Really, I worked with Photoshop very little during college and even after graduating. See, I've always been the conventional type and I never listened when people said that "technology doesn't bite". Stubborn that I am. Heheh.

    But I'm glad that my curiosity got the better of me and now I find it as a new wonderful playground to lose myself in. Although, I think it's best to try to incorporate your traditional skill with PS just to make sure that you don't get rusty with it.

    Again, thanks for soothing my heart with your kindness and inputs are always welcomed!!

    ~ big hugs ~

  21. Hi dear ,very instructive your explanation.. because yes.. why I am not baby and yes an embryo in that digital art. :(
    I am very happy of you to give us these explanation tips.
    I still didn't try to do anything in digital art.. but I admit that I feel a lot of desire of doing.
    To purpose.. will their texts become a book?... why would I like a lot of to have a copy and to read their poetries and thoughts.
    I love in matter this new illustration.. the colors heat up my heart and the wealth of details is magnificent.

  22. I have never used digital painting before, but may give it a go after reading your brief lesson. This is a beautiful image, you have such great imagination!
    It looks as if the child is about to be fed by the bird, she is being nurtured by the wild world in which she inhabits.

  23. Hey Amalia! it sounds like you have inspired a few fellow artists to attempt digital art. Very cool!..and I can see why... you really took to PS like a caterpillar to a squash leaf. This is so beautiful. I can't believe you are "just experimenting"It is fun just playing around with all the tools. Like you, I was a little confused by the mode names. I thought overlay was when I was doing artwork between flights :o) When I finally figured out the multiply... it was a dream come true for shadows and such. Gorgeous work Amalia... can't wait for the rest of the series!

  24. You have very charming work :)
    I look forward to visiting again!

  25. my favorite parts are the small areas of transparency... yes.

  26. Very sweet. Nice touch with the freckles.

  27. Hmm so I have finally returned from unimposed exiled exile. Okay wow. Did I say that. You know the halo is a grande touch, gives us that glow. The 'pencil' work on its own is superb, so soft delicate refined but sure (gottabigheadyet?).

    Yes this is blody good stuff. As well as the last one. As my teacher used to say it's a turning point perhaps.

    You know I've been mucking round with photoshop elements serioulsy for a while. I just use multiply soft light overlay and colour in the main. Best thing to do is select the little window which has the eg 'overlay' parameter written in it. Then push the up and down buttons on the keyboard and the ps will run through all the paraameters and you can see what difference each makes.

    cheese from oz

    back to exile :)

  28. Hello hello hello hello.
    I is been bad.
    I is no visit.
    I is no say hello for long time.
    I is no remember to espeaki Englis.
    I is happy to be here.
    This is absolutely beautiful.
    I know nothing about digital art. I am just a pen pusher...

  29. Ces donworry.
    Whenyou are gone then we no you are making art. So all is good

  30. Hey there!! Well, I'm lucky, that's for sure. To have all of you wonderful people leaving great comments like these... (and yes, most of the time I get a big head from reading them! Haha!)

    But seriously, your words are like vitamins and they help me grow. So thank you, thank you, thank you!! :))

    PS: Nice to see good friends returning here...some from exile, some was missing in action...Well, you know who you are! *wink wink* (^___^) Cheers for popping in!

  31. Amalia, I would really like to learn photoshop. Your work is very beautiful. I love the golden hue surrounding the lady and that she is a redhead, because I'm one too! ;-)
    I also like the Japanese influence in your work. My very favourite book is 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. It is captivating. The film was lovely as well. Have you seen it?
    Sweet greetings.
    Jo. xx

  32. She is just beautiful, I think you did a wonderful and very professional-looking job in Photoshop! I would really like to learn how to do this. I cannot get Photoshop right now but I have been playing around with an open-source version, Gimp. I have avoided learning about layers, but you have motivated me to give it a try! :) ~Lauren

  33. Heh lifted this from a forum I infrequent ....

    "As a rule, when you need to "brighten" ..... (snip) use a screen, soft light, lighten, linear dodge blending mode. When you need to "darken" (ambient occlusion pass etc.) use the multiply or darken
    mode. Overlay does both (darken where it’s dark and lighten where it’s bright)."

    sounds about right?
    what thinks yourself?

    cheese from oz :)

  34. It's beautiful, Amalia... and a stunning choice of colors. I would never have guessed that you are an 'amateur.' I think you must be kidding yourself, my dear!! Looking forward to your next series... and sending a hug!

  35. I like the combination of your hand and the digital work you are doing. Still has the same feel as your earlier pieces. Still lovely!!!

  36. Wow! This is so beautiful, all of your pieces you have done in this way look so polished and professional, I've never used photoshop so this all looks very alien to me!! Love your work though!!! The sketch is beautiful too!

  37. Wow Amalia! I've been away from visiting blogs for so long and just look what you've been doing! Baby steps? I think not! Getting this effect is very sophisticated and you've acheived an amazing image, well done! XX

  38. Stunning work, Amalia!! Wow! I think your illustration translates well in this new medium...and you are a fully grown artist here, that's for gibberish at all. It's wonderful to see the steps you've used to create this gorgeous little geisha..she is a delight. I hear you - so many hours on the computer can lead to Advil for me! Ha! I am always so thrilled to swing by here and see what you've been up to and oh my, you have been SO hard at make it look so effortless! Hugs to you!!

  39. Hi! It's me again, still grateful and big headed as before from reading all of your generous comments! Hehehee.... (^-^)

    I'm now more than encouraged to plunge deeper into this medium. Although a friend of mine thinks that I shouldn't switch sides to digital and stick to traditional ways instead. Apparently, he believes that it's too easy!! Well, my wrist was awfully sore for a while after doing this image and my eyes saw everything double...So, definitely NOT an easy medium, but bad for the health! Hahahaha!!!

    Thanks again all!! (HUGS)


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