Nov 27, 2008

An example of the process . . .

Geisha Fairy is one of my newer pieces. I thought you'd like to see how she started out. She was a postcard I bought for $10. I scanned her at 2400 dpi at 50% output.

I took her into picnik photo editing and adjusted the focus, contrast and exposure and re-saved her. I printed her out on acid free premium card stock. I cut her out - this can take 15-20 minutes or longer depending on the details.

After I finish trimming, I start laying her on backgrounds and looking for wings, trying things out. The backgrounds I paint in batches - maybe 50 in a day and that would take most of a day. I have a process of using water soluable pastels, liquid watercolor and distressable inks and sometimes bleach. I kind of choose a background and wings together - color of the wings vs. color of the background. Some backgrounds may look good with the color of some wings but the wings may not fit the main picture - too big, too small, too much color, not enough color, etc.

I was using Dover clipart for butterfly wings, but I was not happy with the "drawn" quality and just purchased a digital volume of real butterfly wings from Great Musings. Even these wings I felt needed to be adjusted in picnik for sharpness and exposure and a bit of color. I usually print out several pages of wings at a time and spend an afternoon trimming them all out at once. Copyright issues are very important to me. I try very hard to make sure the images I use have no copyright restrictions, I own, or I have permission to use for sellable art. I don't usually print from people's freebies (like flickr for example because I have had some of my images taken and used by someone else and I wouldn't do that to someone else. That stinks.)

After I get a general "feel" of where I want to go, I start hand-coloring the main picture to work with the background and wings. I use a variety of mediums to do this: colored pencil, pastel, markers, etc. This is when I really feel how old my eyes are getting. I am only 42 and when I'm coloring I feel like I need the strongest glasses possible. I color skin, hair, and clothing usually. When that is done, and if I colored in well and didn't go outside the lines, I start more fine tuning. I make sure the trimming is right, no jagged corners, no dark outlines left, etc. Then I very carefully go around all the edges of everything cut and sometimes the background with marker or distressable inks so that you can't see a white edge from the cutting.

Next, it is attaching time. Before I actually stick it down, I lay it out, pick it up, move it, try it, place it, measure it, etc. over and over again, try it with a matte, without the matte until I think I see exactly what I want. This is usually when I decide if I want a crown or hat or other element and prepare it as well. Then I start running things through the xyron machine(s). If all of the pieces make it this far, and sometimes they don't (sometimes get ruined in the coloring process), they may not make it past this part and I have to start all over. Sometimes I attach wings or heads with glue before running a combination of pieces through the xyron. After the xyron it is sometimes tricky to get it in just the right spot, and I often don't, because it is so sticky it cannot touch the background at all until it is in the place it needs to be. I have more than once accidentally let it touch in the wrong place and all bets are off. It either needs to stay where it is or I have to start over.

Geisha Fairy took two attempts. I had her all attached and then decided to color her lips with a darker color and got a little carried away and that was that, started over.

So, this is how Geisha Fairy turned out . . .

Here's another postcard I bought and how I used her in two different pieces. When I scanned the postcard I cut out all of the writing, you can see just a bit in the corner . . .

Probably obviously, for the second piece I colored skin, hair, and dress. For the last piece I just used her head (skin and hair colored by me) and colored hands from another picture to match her face.

1 comment:

Linda M. Cain said...

they are all stunning!!!!!