Art Preview: Line Art, Alternate Versions etc..

Although I had a full article prepared for today, I wasn’t quite satisfied with it (it was supposed to be an article about computer games, inspiration and storytelling – but it mostly just ended up being a description of playing a computer game.).

So, instead of posting nothing, I thought that I’d show off some of the “work in progress” line art for some of my upcoming paintings (for late this year/early next year) in addition to some alternate versions (eg: with fewer visual effects etc..) of paintings that will appear here late this year/early next year.

So, enjoy 🙂 Normal articles should resume tomorrow (plus, there will be the usual daily art post here tonight too).

“Fan Art – Memories Of Books (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Cyberpunk Ruins (Without rain, digital lighting etc..)” By C. A. Brown

“Aberystwyth – The Green Leaves Of Summer (Line Art)”

“Metal Returns (Without rain, digital lighting etc..)” By C. A. Brown

“Aberystwyth – Bus Station (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Rural Gothic (Without rain)” By C. A. Brown

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The Complete “Work In Progress” Line Art For My “Damania Reflection” Webcomic Mini Series

Well, as usual, I thought that I’d provide the “work in progress” line art for my recent “Damania Relection” webcomic mini series.

Surprisingly, there were hardly any major dialogue/art changes between the line art and the finished comics (the only one I can think of is the final panel of the first comic). This was mostly because, unlike some of my comics, I planned these ones a lot more extensively before making them.

Anyway, here’s the line art. Enjoy 🙂 As usual, you can click on each piece of line art to see a larger version of it.

“Damania Reflection – Gamer Anxiety (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Reflection – Project (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Reflection – Music (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Reflection – Mind, Body & Spirit (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Reflection – Timelines (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Reflection – Attention Span (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

Improve Your Webcomic By Thinking Of Each Webcomic Update As A Whole – A Ramble

Well, I thought that I’d talk very briefly about making webcomics again since I’m kind of busy making a webcomic mini series for late February at the time of writing. In particular, I’ll be talking about a couple of the basic ways that you can improve your webcomic by thinking of each webcomic update as a whole.

For example, here’s a reduced-size preview of one of my comic updates from the mini series I’m making at the moment. Yes, I also previewed part of this one yesterday – although I’ll need to show you a (shrunken) version of the full update to illustrate what I’m talking about here.

The full-size comic update will be posted here on the 22nd February.

One of the first things that can help your comic updates to look better is to pay attention to the colour scheme of the whole update. Try to make sure that the predominant colour or colours in each panel goes well with the rest of the comic (reading about complementary colours might help you here), but that there is also some variety between the colours used in each panel.

For example, here’s another version of the preview with the approximate main colours in each panel highlighted. As you can see, it mostly uses both an orange/blue colour scheme and a black/purple one (with an orange/purple scheme in one panel and – although it isn’t included in the chart – a slight yellow/purple one in the first and last panel).

This is the whole comic with the (approximate) main colours in each panel highlighted.

Although the mixing of these colour schemes isn’t entirely perfect, it helps to add some visual variety to the comic, whilst also avoiding any of the panels clashing with each other too much.

Taking a step back and thinking about your comic update as a whole can also help you to save time with the art too. If you look again at the preview that I’ve shown you, only three of the panels have detailed backgrounds. In case you can’t see it, here’s a chart:

This is a chart showing the level of background detail in each panel.

Because the detailed panels are spread out between both horizontal “rows” of the comic, this allows me to make a more manageable number of detailed backgrounds whilst still giving the impression that the whole comic is more detailed than it actually is.

After all, the reader never has to go more than one or two panels without seeing a detailed background. So, the comic seems more detailed than it actually is – especially when read quickly. Doing something like this also helps to avoid the visual boredom that can come from seeing lots of undetailed backgrounds next to each other.

Those were just a couple of the ways how looking at your comic update as a whole can improve your comic. You can make your comic updates more instantly visually appealing through the choice and placement of colours, and you can save time by varying the level of background detail in sneaky ways. But, these things only work if you consider each comic update as a whole.

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Sorry for the short and basic article, but I hope it was useful 🙂

Two Basic Reasons Why Digital Image Editing Matters (If You’re An Artist)

As regular readers of this site probably know, it’s no real secret that I (heavily) digitally edit most of my watercolour pencil and waterproof ink paintings before posting them here.

So, for today, I thought that I’d look at two of the most basic reasons why I do this and why it’s an important thing to learn if you’re making art that is intended to be viewed on a computer.

If you don’t have a program that you can use to edit digital photographs or scans of your art, there’s a free, non-commercial, open-source one called “GNU Image Manipulation Program” (“GIMP”) that will work on most operating systems and can be legally downloaded here.

If you already have an editing program, then I’ll be using fairly non-program specific descriptions in this article, so it will hopefully be useful to you too. Most image editing programs (old, new, open-source, closed-source, cheap, expensive etc…) contain the same basic features.

But, if anyone is interested in the programs I used for the examples in this article, I used a combination of an ancient late 1990s program called “Jasc Paint Shop Pro 6” and an old version of MS Paint. So, yes, you don’t need the latest fancy graphics programs to improve your art with image editing.

(It also goes without saying that this guide is only intended for improving non-commercial online displays of art. If you are selling the phyiscal originals, or advertising a gallery showing of said originals, then you must display accurate, unedited photographs/scans of the originals. Showing edited copies when selling the original [or selling access to it] is fraud.)

So, why does digital image editing matter?

1) It makes your art look bolder: Depending on the scanner you use or the lighting when you take digital photographs, digitised copies of your art can look somewhat faded or “flat”. Faded artwork tends to bring out every small imperfection and it can also give artwork a slightly “amateurish” look too. Like this:

This is a cropped, but otherwise unedited, scan of one of my paintings. As you can see, it looks somewhat faded.

This used to puzzle me for a while, especially since most art that you see on the internet tends to look a bit bolder and more vivid. But, I learnt how to solve this problem fairly quickly after I started using image editing programs. All you have to do is to look for an option in your editing program called “Brightness/Contrast” or “Brightness and contrast”. Once you’ve found it, then lower the brightness levels and increase the contrast levels until your picture starts to look a bit more vivid.

You’d be surprised at the difference it can make:

… And here’s the picture with -15% brightness and +71% contrast. As you can see, it instantly looks a lot bolder and more vivid.

After this, you can further increase the boldness of your art by looking for an option in your editing program called “Hue/Saturation/Lightness” (or something similar). Once you’ve found this, crank the “saturation” levels to maximum. Repeat the process if necessary. This should make the colours in your art look very slightly more vivid.

Here’s the picture after two “100%” saturation increases. The difference is slightly subtle, but the colours are a bit more vivid than the previous example.

2) It allows you to correct mistakes: One of the great things about digital image editing is that it allows you to correct mistakes that you made in your original painting. This can be an absolute lifesaver sometimes, not to mention that the experience of salvaging a slightly failed painting can be an oddly satisfying one.

Although explaining all of the techniques would take far too long, pay attention to the “pick color”/”color picker” tool in your program when you’re correcting small mistakes. The icon for this tool looks like a pipette/eye dropper in most programs and it allows you to change the brush colour to the exact colour of any pixel you click on with the icon. This means that small corrections will blend into the rest of the picture a lot better than if you just use the stock colours available in your editing program.

Likewise, do you remember the “Hue” part of the “Hue/Saturation/Lightness” option I mentioned earlier? Adjustments to this will change literally all of the colours in a selected area of your image (or the whole image if you haven’t selected part of it) by a set amount.

So, small adjustments to the hue level are one thing you can use to improve the colours in your art. Likewise, you can also change the colours in your art by looking for options labelled “colourise”/”colorize” or “Red/Green/Blue”, which are best used to change the colour of smaller selected areas in your artwork.

There are, of course, lots more things you can do with even the more basic image editing programs. But, if you take the time to learn and experiment, you’ll have the confidence to salvage paintings you would have abandoned or to improve paintings that you already really like.

For example, here’s a newly re-edited version of the example picture (my original edited version from a couple of months ago can be seen here). Compare it to the unedited example at the beginning of this article and you’ll see how much difference digital editing can make.:

This is the picture after some extensive additional editing. With the exception of the rain in the background, most of these changes are fairly subtle. But, they include adding more depth to the painting through the use of blurring effects, brightness changes and extra shadows. They also include adding more realistic skin tones, altering the hue and saturation levels even further, correcting countless small mistakes and altering the framing of the picture slightly too.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

The Complete “Work In Progress” Line Art For My “Damania – A Cynical Christmas (2017)” Webcomic Mini Series

Well, since my Christmas webcomic mini series finished recently, I thought that I’d do my usual thing of showing off the “work in progress” line art that I scanned whilst making it.

If I remember rightly, there weren’t that many major changes between the line art and the finished comics (I added a MS Paint snowman to the final version of “Spirit” and there were some very minor art changes to “Display”).

Anyway, here’s the line art. You can click on each piece of line art to see a much larger (and more readable) version.

“Damania – A Cynical Christmas (2017) – Novelty (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – A Cynical Christmas (2017) – Spirit (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – A Cynical Christmas (2017) – Movies (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – A Cynical Christmas (2017) – Display (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – A Cynical Christmas (2017) – Carols (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – A Cynical Christmas (2017) – Sales (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

The Complete “Work In Progress” Line Art For My “Damania Revitalised” Webcomic Mini Series

Well, since my “Damania Revitalised” webcomic mini series finished recently, I thought that I’d do the usual thing of showing off the “work in progress” line art that I scanned whilst making it.

Unlike some of my other webcomic mini series, there weren’t really that many major art/dialogue changes between the line art and the finished comics. The most notable one is probably in the “Marathons” comic, where the dialogue in the final panel differs slightly between the line art and the finished comic. Plus, in the “International” comic, Roz says “gunpowder” instead of “fireworks” when answering one of Harvey’s crossword questions.

As usual, you can click on each piece of line art to see a larger version of it, since it’s probably too small to read otherwise.

“Damania Revitalised – Timeless (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Revitalised – Ahead (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Revitalised – Marathons (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Revitalised – Tribute (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Revitalised – International (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Damania Revitalised – Wavegate (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

It’s Another Line Art Preview :)

Well, although I’d prepared an article for today, I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. So, as a last-minute replacement, I thought that I’d show off some of the “work in progress” line art for several paintings that will be appearing here quite a long time in the future.

Enjoy 🙂

You can click on each piece of line art to see a larger version of it:

“Kitchen Window (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“The Backup System (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“The Solitary Zombie (Line Art)” By C. A.Brown

“The Forgotten Food Court (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“At Midnight (II) (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Aberystwyth – Taxi Ride (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

“Aberystwyth – Haunting (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

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Sorry about this last-minute replacement. Normal articles will resume tomorrow 🙂