So I recently just got back from my “adventure” in working construction out of town. I’m literally back to the drawing board. Drawing. By hand. And I’m enjoying it. It sort of feels like I’m learning all over again and I’m very engaged in it. I’m planning on combining my love of digital graphics with this hand drawn stuff. I mean, all of everything I do is drawn by my hand anyway, but it is usually further refined on the computer. In some ways it makes the finished piece look too clean, so I’m going to go for a combo deal and try both. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll just quit altogether and dig holes or something.
Kris did a great job covering the little stuff around here that had to be done with Crock of Shirt while I was mostly away… away threading and installing pipe in a sawmill. How in the hell did that happen?
Anyway, the first opportunity for the hand drawn stuff is a piece that Monica wanted me to do. She wanted a butterfly made of text that said “social butterfly.” So I grabbed the sketchbook a couple weeks ago and started playing with ideas after work hell. I then did the usual thing I do and took the “close enough” version and imported it into the computer where I traced over it to make my final. It turned out quite nice, but didn’t have a hand drawn feel to it. It was too clean. The edges were too perfect. Upon returning home from work hell, I decided to redraw another version by hand. Here’s the process:
Step 1: Sketch. Draw stuff. I looked at some pictures of butterflies online and sketched out the general shape.
Step 2 Below: This is the challenging and fun stuff. Try to make the word fit in the shape of the butterfly. I have more sketches of this step, but I forgot to upload the pictures. Just look at this one. It’s better anyway. The others were a little stupid, which is why this version won.
Step 4 Below: After completing the red lines, I fill with black for the final. However, the problem now is this one doesn’t look very sketchy. Well, maybe not sketchy, but not rough enough. It’s almost too clean, you know?
Step 5 Below: I decided to redraw it and try something I never do. Below is the redrawn version, which came out slightly different. So slight, in fact, that I probably didn’t need to mention it.
Step 6 Below: Here we go. So this one was inked by hand with a felt pen, which takes the place of the red line computer step from above. This allows the edges of the drawing to look imperfect. I haven’t done this kind of thing in around 15 years, which is hard to believe… huh… that’s kind of sick, actually. Anyway, drawing lines with a felt by hand adds a bit of stress. That being said, I’m combining this with the computer, so I can always repair any screw-ups. I is smart. You can see where my hand smeared a bit of ink on the butterfly head.
Step 7 Below: Here’s the fill step. This is filled with a thicker felt marker. You can see the white imperfections where I missed completely covering with ink. That was part intentional and part sloppy. I wanted to leave those imperfections in the end for a bit of a rough look.
Step 8 Below: This is the final version. From the inked graphic above, I take a picture with my camera or phone and bring the photo into Photoshop. The pic is then converted to grayscale and lightness/contrast adjusted to whiten the background and darken the butterfly. Why? Bring it into Illustrator and auto-trace. Sadly, this is where the computer automatically traces the black artwork. In my defense, it is a copy of what is mine and it still comes out looking shitty, which is the goal in this instance. From here, it will be screen printed to a shirt.
So that’s that! This is the first of several projects for me as I climb back in the design saddle. Stay tuned for more!