Photoshop Help

My Surface Pro 4 Review

Several years ago I did a job for Mission Hockey and as part of the payment process I received a bunch of their latest hockey gear. For some reason my wife is not fond of this sort of compensation package (she seems to be a big fan of hard cold cash) but I loved it …and I’m STILL using those Mission hockey gloves!

I just finished another job that had a unique payout at the end. This time I got one of those new Surface Pro 4 Tablets. For years I’ve been looking for SOMETHING PORTABLE that I can digitally paint with and the Surface Pro 4 claims it can fill that bill… so I gave it a test drive to see.

Because I use an older version of Photoshop (CS6) I had to jump through a couple of hoops, but basically got it loaded onto the tablet with no problem. The Surface Pro 4 comes ready to use out of the box with a pen and screen sensitivity, so using the 8 megapixel camera on the device, I snapped a picture of a crumpled up sermon note that was in the trash can, opened it in Photoshop and got busy. To make a long story short, it worked great. (I write really short reviews) I can now sit in front of the tv with a full blown version of Photoshop on my lap and make goofy pictures with it. I’m really impressed…

…and oh, did I mention it’s also a pretty slick little gaming computer. It runs Steam games really well to boot.

WaterBuffalo01 WaterBuffalo02



Flying The Coop

This is for my friends on YouTube who continue to send me kind letters asking what my work process is.

This picture started out as a doodle in my sketchbook. I scanned it into Photoshop, (CS6), made it a multiply layer and began blocking in color on a normal layer underneath. When I get the mid and darker values established, I create a normal layer above the line art and put in the lighter values. At the very end I add just a little black line but not too much… too much black will kill the picture. I merge all the layers together, then create a green layer underneath the art. I erase everything I dont want on the art. As I do this, the green layer underneath helps me to see what I am doing. My image is cut out and now I need a background. I type into Google “blue sky” and find some clouds which I drop into the background. I add just a bit of glow around my figure to separate him from the background and I’m done.

A Day In The Life

A job came in on Friday, I opened it on Monday and it was 50 spot illustrations due in one week. Fifty of anything takes forever, so I got busy, and then the phone rang. It’s the music leader at my church. The bass player that was supposed to play this Sunday is out because of an emergency, can I fill in for him this Sunday? I said sure…

Now I have 50 spot illustrations AND five new songs to learn before Sunday. I download the church songs and try to drag them into iTunes, but I accidentally drag them into Photoshop instead. I figure Photoshop will not open mp3’s but much to my surprise the mp3’s open and I see something I have never seen in Photoshop before… some sort of a video editing interface.

I know I have 50 illustrations due in a week and 5 songs to learn by Sunday, but I drop everything, grab a stop motion puppet I’ve been working on, shoot some really bad footage with my iPhone and start playing with the Photoshop video editor because having the ability to edit video in a program that I actually know how to work is pretty darn awesome.

I don’t know if I will be able to make the 50 spot illustration deadline or if  I will torpedo the band on Sunday because I don’t know how to play the songs, but at least I figured out how to make a crummy little video in Photoshop this week!

My Somewhat Unconventional Pencilling Process

Over the course of the last several years, I have worked with a lot of high quality art materials; expensive watercolor papers, high end illustration boards, hot and cold press bristols, you name it, I’ve worked on it… so it was a bit of a shock when I looked down and realized I now work on cheap card stock from Walmart and copy paper from Staples. How in the world did that happen? Here is my somewhat bizarre pencilling process…

I really like the feel of Georgia-Pacific Card Stock to do my loose pencil work on, but it only comes in an 8.5X11 size. That is a bit small and I usually run out of room.

On this picture, I ran out of room on the right side of the page, so I just taped a little more paper onto that side. Then I needed more space at the top, so I taped a little more up there, too.

Very professional, eh? It is now time to do a clean pencil to work from. For this I like the feel of Staples Laser Copier paper.

Of course, it is too small also, so I tape a couple of those together and use a light table to redraw a tighter version of my loose sketch.

I scan that tighter pencil sketch into my computer, fire up Photoshop and I’m off to the races with the color work.

Photoshop CS 6

I installed the latest version of Photoshop last week: CS 6. I fired it up and the first and most obvious thing I noticed was the base interface has been changed to a much slicker looking, smoked gray color. I haven’t quite got all of the newer intricacies figured out yet, but that would require reading and unless funny pictures are connected to the words in some way, I’m just not interested.

The reason I upgraded was to get the Adobe Design Package that included InDesign. I have been building iPad eBooks with the Apple app called iBooks Author, but there seem to be some limitations with it that will not work for what I am trying to do. Hopefully I can get InDesign figured out and accomplish what I want with it. I am hoping there are funny pictures in the InDesign instruction manuel.

Background Fuzz

This was just a quick experiment to see how painting something up on a somewhat “fuzzy” brown background would work. Several years ago I made the switch from traditional media to digital. Digital art can come off extremely slick looking if you want it to. I needed to keep my work looking as much the same as I could for my clients sake, so I have always tinkered with how to keep things looking as rustic as possible.

The Animal Football Game

My pastor used this story as an illustration a few weeks ago…

The big animals and the little animals were having a football game. As the first half went along, the big animals were scoring at will. Every time they got the ball they would run it in for a touchdown. Then came the second half…
FIRST PLAY: The elephant runs the ball up the middle. BANG!! Tackled for a five-yard loss. The little animals go back to the huddle cheering and congratulating each other. “Who made that tackle?” asked the ant. “I did,” said the centipede.
SECOND PLAY: The rhinoceros runs the ball up the middle. WHOP!! Tackled for another five-yard loss. Back in the huddle the flea asked, “Who made that great stop?” “I did,” said the centipede.
THIRD PLAY: The gorilla tries an end sweep, led by the hippo throwing the lead block. SMACK!! Centipede tackles him for a 10-yard loss. Back in the huddle, the gnat asked the centipede, “Hey man, where were you in the first half?”
The centipede replied, “Getting my ankles taped.”

Painting Yoda

Today I will finish my Yoda sketch from yesterday. I scanned the pencil drawing, opened it in Photoshop, tossed an interesting green background underneath and started painting on top of it. My goal was not to do a highly finished piece, just something loose and quick… and I would like a little extra cheese on the music, please.



It rained most of Saturday, so I stayed inside and did a quick picture. I recorded it so you could see my work process. For the Photoshop painters out there, you might find it interesting how I have my workspace organized. I never liked the way Photoshop had all the tools on the left side and all the palettes on the right. I’m right handed, so it made sense to me to just cram all the tools and palettes into the top right hand side of the page.