There is a certain amount of work involved in making an original drawing suitable for publication on the web or in print. My latest drawing is of the outspoken British politician, George Galloway, in this post I’ll try to explain the digital process I used to prepare this drawing for publication.
Above is a montage of the drawing from initial scans, top left, to a more finished illustration. To start with I’m not equipped with a large-format scanner for my large-format drawings (they cost an absolute fortune) so I have to scan my artwork in sections, then puzzle them together in Photoshop. Thankfully, Photoshop automates this process, before I used to do it by hand in GIMP (open source photo-editing software) which was very time consuming.
Here two sections are joined, before adding a third, Galloway’s accusing finger, which is then moved into position on a separate layer. (Photoshop enables you to work in separate layers, like sheets of glass stacked one on top of the other.)
I used sticky ink, and a dried up pen brush to draw ‘Gorgeous George Galloway’. And made all the streaks you see to bleed off excess ink before making dry brush strokes, these will have to be removed by trimming around the portrait.
The scanner picks up a lot of ‘background noise’ the problem now is to remove this noise without inadvertently removing all the fine detail in the drawing. I always zoom in and check if the detail is intact before obliterating, here it’s safely guarded by Photoshop’s marching ants. Next I adjust the tone of my line work, to make sure it’s a rich inky black, close to the original drawing.
Finally I add colour, which I paint separately, scan, and layer in behind the line work. This convoluted method evolved from collage work; I used to draw, and print, on pieces of different coloured paper, cut them out, and arrange them before glueing down. This is basically the same process, only digital.
When I’m happy with the result, I merge all the layers into one by flattening the image. Then format the file for print, and web.
I hope this post has shed some light on the process. And I’ll post the finished illustration shortly.