Archive | 9:29 pm

Giraffe 2

10 Feb

This is a traced image done in Art Rage 2.5 of a giraffe. The photo I used for tracing can be found here..

For the drawing I used a limited color palette of 5 colors, which I created with both Adobe Kuler and Color Schemer Studio OSX.

Giraffe 2

I needed approximately 1.5 hours to complete this drawing.

The strange thing is, that the parts where I used more of my imagination are much better than the parts where I copied the photo more or less mechanically. It seems if you do the latter, much of the information goes lost in the use of the limited color palette. On the other hand,  if you translate (part of) the image in your imagination (e.g. with the horns on the head) to fit the limited color palette, it comes out much better. I guess that is why an artist needs a reference photo in these cases, so (s)he can translate parts of the image internally before applying color on a canvas or board.

Although this drawing is not as good as the first drawing of the same giraffe, I have learned a valuable lesson here. When in doubt, rely on you imagination, and it’ll come out better most of the times.

That is all.


Replacing the pen tip on a Wacom pen

10 Feb

I have used Wacom tablets for years, but never replaced a pen tip. I wanted to know if another type of tip would help me to draw better on a digitizer, like the Wacom Intuos3, which digitizes pen strokes.

I ordered the replacement kit over the Internet, of course, hugely overpriced (39 euros, including VAT and P&P). Luckily, if you’re being careful, the tips (or nibs as Wacom calls them) don’t really wear over the years, certainly not the standard hard plastic tips, used only occasionally by an amateur draftsman.

Here is the description, as supplied in the Grip Pen Accessory Kit for Intuos3 or Cintiq tablets.

Replacement pen nibs

The different pen nibs change the physical feel of the pen on the tablet. The standard nib (white) is for general multi-purpose use. The stroke nib (gray) is spring-loaded and provides a soft, brush-like feeling. The felt nib (black) has a higher friction than the standard nib.

Replace the nib when it gets too short or develops a flat point. Use the included pen nib removal tool to pull the nib straight out of the pen. Then slide the new nib into the pen barrel firmly until the nib stops.


So I tried this with a felt tip, and once I had identified all the parts I needed, replacing the tip was a cinch.

That is all.

Color palettes

10 Feb

Creating a good color palette is an art in itself. I haven’t mastered that art yet, but I now have two tools to make it easier, and take the guesswork out of picking colors from the standard color palette. As a bonus, I can now create my own custom color palettes. How cool is that?

First, there is the free Adobe Kuler web application, which also has a desktop application, based on Adobe AIR. I tried both, because the desktop application has just a subset of the web application, yet the desktop application is more compact and therefore easier to use.

Basically, with Adobe Kuler, you create color palettes containing five colors. You can also use color palette others have made. Once you’ve registered an Adobe Account and use it to log in to the Adobe Kuler website, you can store your own color palettes online. I like the option to create a palette based on an image, either on your computer, or on Flickr.

Now you have your color palette in your Adobe Kuler application, and then what? Well, unless you have an Adobe application from the CS3 or CS4 suite, not much. You can enjoy the colors in the palette you’ve created.

Enter ColorSchemer Studio OSX. This is a for-pay application ($49.99 USD) to create custom color palettes for several applications, include those of Adobe. More interestingly for me is that you can create Mac OS X color palette files (.clr), that are stored in the color subfolder of your own user library folder (located at ~/library/color/).

Now if you open the color palette in any application that offers that feature (all drawing applications, and many other applications as well), you can select your own color palette from the Color Palettes menu (see screenshot). The default is Apple, but you can select your own from the drop down menu.

color palette menu

So, how do you import the colors in the color palette you created in Adobe Kuler into ColorSchemer? Here is a brief description of how I did it.

I used this photo of a giraffe to create this custom color palette in Adobe Kuler.

Giraffe Portrait - Woburn Safari Park - Monday August 27th 2007 Adobe Kuler custom giraffe color palette

To copy the colors in the Adobe Kuler color palette I used the color picker tool in ColorSchemer Studio OSX, which picks a color as base color. Drag this base color into the Favorite Colors section. Now repeat for each of the five colors. Next, rename the colors into meaningful color names (see screenshot).

ColorSchemer Studio OSX

It is a bit of a hack, but hey, it works!

If you want to use this color palette in other applications on your Mac, you should export Favorite Colors to an Apple color palette file (with the file extension “.clr”), with the export function of ColorSchemer Studio OSX. The file should be stored into the appropriate location on your hard drive (color sub-folder of the library folder of your user account). From then on, the color palette should be available for all programs that offer a color palette based on Apple’s color palette subsystem.

After I did all that, I fired up PaintBrush, and drew a giraffe from memory, using the color palette. In addition to the colors of the giraffe, I created two additional colors, one for the grass, and one for the sky.

Giraffe from memory

I like drawing with a limited color palette, because it makes the result so much clearer. Picking the right colors is crucial, and it is nice to have some applications to help you with that. I highly recommend both Adobe Kuler (freeware) and ColorSchemer Studio OSX ($49.99 USD).

That is all.