It has been while since posting a project update, as many of the other posts have covered industry insights and experiences.
One of core project that appears to get a lot of attention is the post on how we created a successful game project. A post that is packed full of information on our design approach and what we did.
This Design Post
This post covers a range of packaging designs that were used and are still actively being used in the retail market – a phrase that was used often when creating the packing was “retail ready”.
These designs range from Tech Girl, Satzuma Gifting,Stem and a whole range of projects and pre-production artwork. These products have graced the shelves of Boots, Tesco’sTK Maxx, Robert Dyas, Menkind, Staples and stores across the globe.
These are the completed products based on the designs I supplied.
That’s all on this packaging post!
If you would like any assistance in your latest packaging design be it the concept or putting together a punchy, relevant and cost effective solution feel free to get in touch or have a look at projects on the brochure website.
Retail Ready Packaging Projects – Perhaps you’d like to read :
The best way to draw on a computer is by using a Stylus and Graphics Tablet with an art creation program. As beginner, you may draw with a mouse but this can a bit tricky to use. For more information on how create digital artwork on computer, read on!
This tutorial will outline some of the basic and professional ways in which you can draw on your computer or smartphone. If you don’t have a drawing tablet or stylus, or a large budget there are other low cost ways to start creating digital art – even as novice or ‘newb’.
Beginner – drawing on your computer and creating digital art
Drawing on a computer
can be more straight forward than you think. I started out using a
regular old rubber ball mouse and Microsoft Paint when I was child –
long before a Stylus and tablet came into my life.
So, the absolute bare
essentials for drawing and creating digital art for you computer are
as follows :-
– A regular old mouse – A keyboard – A computer – A graphics program (digital art software)
Is creating digital art easy?
Yes and no, getting
started with creating digital art can be very easy and low cost.
Getting to a stage where you could call yourself a professional
artist takes time and years of practice. The best ways of getting
started with creating digital art is by downloading graphics software
and get practicing to improve you digital drawing techniques.
I wish I could find my very first digital drawing, it was created on a Windows 3.2 in the era of the awesome floppy disk – you can read a bit about me here.
What digital art software should I use?
There are so many to pick from, but for the sake of just creating something you can call ‘digital art’, begin with something you may already have, MS Paint In Windows. by delving into Paint, select a colour and away you go!
There are other art
programs out there which are also free such as Gimp and Krita.
I have personally never used Krita but the results on the website
show what it is capable of and it has also been given a
recommendation from a reputable digital art magazine IFX (Link(. This
magazine is dedicated to creating fantasy, digital and traditional
Advanced digital artwork software
As both a designer and
digital artist, I use 2 main programs to create my art and design
work, these programs being: Abobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.
Adobe Illustrator often gives very clean cut appearance that you may seen in books, posters, life style magazines etc – this is called ‘vector art’.
Adobe Photoshop is a versatile piece of software that behaves like a drawing and
painting tool and offers an intuitive work flow. The example below
shows the two different program styles and what they can create. This
is just an example created by me – Jimmsdesign.
It should be noted that these programs can both be tricky to master and you may be more drawn to one that the other. You can get a free trial or purchase a subscription to use the software by going to Adobe Creative Cloud (link) and downloading it. If you are just starting out on your journey to becoming a digital artist or illustrator, I would test a free program first.
What type of graphic artist or designer do you want to be?
As budding digital
artist, designer, illustrator or painter what sort of outcomes are
you looking to achieve? If you are unsure and just trying your hand
at creating digital art on a computer that is fine a starter step.
Here is what may suit
you more if…
Adobe Illustrator may suit you more if you want to become a designer or a clean cut
vector artist. The way a vector drawing behaves inside a program is a
quite a different to raster art program such as Photoshop. Adobe
Photoshop is great If you are wanting to work as a traditional
illustrator, digital painter, game artist etc.
There are thousands of examples of digital artists on social media with websites and professional blogs. Some to mention : Behance, imagine FX, Artstation. Design Week are filled with a colossal range of talented designers and artists.
This person here is a terrific vector artist and designer – Vicky Doodles
What equipment to use for drawing on a computer?
Using a mouse to
create digital artwork (beginner)
The humble computer
mouse has been around for decades and is often the first got and very
basic tool for drawing on
a computer. You can still use a mouse be it a optic or USB (these
still around?) to create digital art in MS Paint, Paint Shop Pro and
Photoshop or any other 2D graphics software.
Using a computer mouse
when trying to draw onto a computer is fairly simple. It is often a
case of selecting a colour, a brush shape and size and drawing around
the white space. As I already mentioned, I can recall using paint has
far back as Win 3.2 back in the early 90’s. the left mouse button and start applying pixels or digital paint.
A computer mouse in action | digital drawing
This example shows the end result of some digital artwork created using a mouse in Photoshop. It’s a bit trickier to use although it’s not bad for straight lines!
I would advise moving on from a computer mouse at some stage if you are thinking of getting serious with drawing on a computer, be it for graphic design, illustration or your own sanity.
If you are thinking of spending many hours drawing and creating digital artwork, using a different input will save on potential wrist ache also.
Using a stylus and graphics tablet to create artwork (beginner + intermediate)
The day I plugged in a
Wacom graphics tablet was the day I changed the way I created digital
artwork on a computer. Using a drawing or graphics tablet can make
the experience of creating artwork on a computer much more organic.
Below is an example of
me sketching something in Photoshop using a Stylus, Tablet. It’s
quicker, smoother and much more human way for creating a drawing, or
in this example a black line sketch.
Reasons why a stylus
and tablet are great options for drawing on a computer
– It will offer a greater level of control when trying to draw on a computer – when you get used to it. – It will offer a better work flow. – It may reduce wrist strain when drawing – The stylus and pen often come with pressure sensitivity, allowing for a greater level for control and hopefully moving you closer to the digital artwork you want to create. – Short cut commands can be added to the drawing tablet to speed up the work flow.
Once I started using a
tablet after a couple of days it became second nature to me.
How long does it take to learn how to draw with Wacom drawing tablet?
When drawing with a
Stylus and Wacom tablet it can take as little as 1 hour to start
creating digital artwork.
I tried an experiment on a friend to see if he could use the drawing tablet… he found it strange at first but quickly got used drawing on a Wacom Tablet (Intuos Pro).
It should also be added that he is neither an illustrator or an designer, or a somebody who can use Photoshop! Within 1 hour, he was drawing! That is how quick you could pick it up, although what who drew on the day wouldn’t look amiss from something a 7 year old would bring home – that is beside the point.
He could use the tech.
Have the drawing
technology wont make you an digital artist overnight. It takes time.
A Cintiq allows you to draw straight onto a computer screen
a Cintiq removes the disorientation of drawing from a Tablet to
screen, you can work straight onto the display using your drawing
stylus. You will create the graphic
art you want sooner but
it is a higher price point as this technology is generally more
A Cintiq is one the best tools to create professional digital art on a computer. It acts just like pen paper offering great results without technological limitations.
My professional use of
Cintiqs is very limited due to it’s price and being satisfied with
Bamboo (now Wacom Intuos Pro) tablet. Cintiqs are great quality and
are top of the range pieces of equipment. If you are a beginner I
would recommend starting with one of the cheaper tablets first.
This video, shows a
Cintiq in action. This is not me by the way.
How to draw on Smart tablets and Smartphones
In recent years
technology has come a very long way for digital artist’s, designers
and illustrators. We are no longer confined to just drawing onto a
computer, we can now create artwork on the go with smartphone and
David Hockney has created artwork on his tablet (iPad) and exhibited it without limitations or reduction to the quality of his style. The only observation I have made is that the edges if the pixel perfect brush strokes is that they have a slight spongy and blurry feel, but that could be due to the scaling up of the artwork from a tablet or phone – a smaller screen blow up big can reduce image quality.
You can now create
digital artwork from your Samsung, Iphone, Ipad, or most ‘Smarttech’
which is available online.
Drawing on a tablet or a Smartphone using stylus can be and low cost way of trying your hand at digital drawing or painting. This the equipment you will need to draw on a Smartphone or Digital tablet :
– A Smartphone or Tablet – Drawing or graphics software download onto your phone or tablet. You can look on the app store or Google play to find an application that suits your phone or spec. – A tablet or smartphone stylus.
It should be noted that I have used a Wacom Bamboo Stylus Mini to create artwork on my phone just for doodling. It’s light, small and convenient. But gave me personally ‘meh’ results.
Summary | how to draw on a computer using a Stylus and Tablet.
you skipped the the basics on how to create digital artwork on your
computer this how to do it simple steps.
1) Buy a stylus and drawing tablet of your choice. 2) Install the hardware on your computer. 3) Check the drivers are up to date – calibrate the software to your computer 4 )Download a graphics program such as Photoshop or one of free applications mentioned previously. 5) Open the software. 6) Start creating digital art!
Summary | how to draw on a computer using a Mouse (PC) in quick steps
1) Check your mouse is installed 2) Open the relevant art program such as (MS paint) or if you have something better – great! 3 )Voila! Start creating your masterpiece.
Credits – All the best with your digital art journey and creating digital awesomeness on your computer.
Thank you for reading,
hopefully this post has given you some insight into how to create
digital artwork and an idea of tools you can use to draw onto a
How to make a simple, pain free Photoshop brush! Quickly
Want to know to make a simple Photoshop brush? It’s fairly straight forward, this short tutorial will have you making your custom brushes in no time!
Start with creating your brush, defining it and adding it to your palette! Lets draw a shape on black on a white background…
) Open PS and make a new document – 300 x 300 px and 72 DPI for good
measure, make sure the background is set to white.
Create Your Brush
2 ) Working in black and white (Shortcut ‘D’ for black and white) draw your brush shape (in black) onto your new document. For the sake of this tutorial I have made mine a solid brush.
Select The Brush
3 ) Either by using the marquee tool or Apple + ‘a’ to select all (CTRL + A for windows). If you have selected the brush you want to define, you can go to the next step! Make sure you have selected you brush artwork, this will basic act as stamp.
4 ) Go Edit > scroll down to ‘Define Brush Preset’ and click on it! label your brush, I called this one ‘blob’ and then click ‘OK’
You have created a brush in Photoshop!
Well done, you should now have designed your very own custom brush and saved it to your library. If you press F5 to look at your brush palette, you will see the brush you have just made listed at the bottom of your library.
Why not open a new document and test out your newly created Photoshop Brush, I hope you enjoy making more awesome brushes.
If you felt this was useful feel free to share on social media! If you need a Professional Designer experience in Photoshop with come and say hello!
Black can be a trouble to work with when it comes to print, especially with all of the varying print processes, paper finishes and general variations with commercial printing machines, inks, screen calibrations and so on – working with a black is a headache and I’m sure many others would agree! So, I have put together some tips and tricks to assist with your projects – it can be a dark and treacherous path. This post will mostly focus on creative approach rather than the pure technical aspects of Black ( K ). Working with 4 colour printing and spot colours is a detailed topic in its own right which is worthy of a post.
Illustrators, painters, artists and photographers
If you are a designer / work in print skip this paragraph!
Firstly, does it really need to be BLACK? When I say does it need to be ‘Black’ are there many things in the real world that are completely black? Aside from an all light absorbing, all-life-drinking black hole that absorbs all light and colour? Besides… that’s something that;s not of our world as far as I’m aware. Looking at the world around you, you will see come to see how lighting, surface, atmosphere and texture will absorb surrounding colours, including what you would what you would call a black surface. For example, someone is wearing a black t-shirt, more often that not if, even if it is new, light will catch on the folds, the creases and the contours of the fabric giving the black fabric a slight hue or tint depending on the light source and ambience.
Study things! I like to look at surfaces and objects that have an interesting finish for example : gloss surfaces, bottles, matte paint, skin, fur, hair, shadows, animals, sunglasses, cloth, etc. Another good source of reference of how to use light and dark with dramatic effect is Chiaroscuro – do some research online – research Caravaggio (one of many artist’s using this approach) and see what comes back. Caravaggio used light and dark with excellent dramatic effect framing the narrative in light and shadows. This is potentially subjective but hopefully… it will be food for thought – if its jet-black you’re after then please read on! ( I have attached a little image below with some dark but not black shading )
RGB BLACK… A HACK
Typically, I like to work in RGB first and then convert my files to CMYK afterwards, especially if I’m working on a bitmap illustration or digital painting. Why? Because working in RGB generally gives me more creative freedom in the beginning and it also allows me to move between digital and print at a later date anyway. This is a my preferred method when working on an illustration and by no means a rule, just a preference. I’m not the only one working this way. By doing a Google search I stumbled upon a commercial artist who also likes to work this way – this writer and artist goes into much greater detail about the in’s and outs of color channels on their blog. I recommend having a read at some stage – perhaps after you have read my post.
Unexpected Results – Designers a pleasant accident
I was always taught to work in CMYK for print and RGB for digital. I still champion this for working with professional printers as trying to print from RGB file may produce some erratic results, be it for leaflets printing, flyers, and other mediums. I accidentally ran a test print from Photoshop in RGB (Thinking it was CMYK) and the results were far more superior than the CMYK version. Both were printed on the same satin finish paper, on a Canon Pixma A3 with an impressive result. Despite my efforts and tinkering with the levels in the CMYK version to replicate what had happened In the RGB Version, I couldn’t produce the same results. I will make an assumption that my Inject printer translated the RGB to CMYK and just knew what I was after. I can’t complain too much as this project was sent to print and retained all the vivid colours and strong black colours. Saying this, I still recommend trying to stick with the CMYK for design and print despite this result as this is typically what is asked – best to be safe, but something worth exploring for the future.
Digital Black Colour in Photoshop – Add a Hue
Unless your are working in RGB and your artwork will remain for screen (digital) only. Then may be best to work with ‘Designer Black’ check the numbers. Although the computer says it black (or you’ve had it calibrated) it is best to drop a bit of colour into the mix – and do test print it.
Last Round Up Hacks!
Take Notice of the colour warnings when you are in the colour picker window. This could save a lot of headache later on. (Yellow Triangle)
Let the printer do the leg work. Send your artwork to the printer and try to let them help you. A printer worth their salt will want to help you and have your return custom. To reinforce your expectations, send them a physical sample from your home printer – assuming you have a good quality home printer.
A HUE, if you are working on an image with a lot of dark areas why not add a little hue / tint of colour? 20% cyan for example or some magenta/red for a warmer image.
Avoid working with 0, 0, 0, 100 K, as this best reserved for font/text printing and can your work charcoal appearance. Use a ‘Rich black’ or ‘designers black’ instead. 20, 20, 20, 100 k for example.
Avoid 100, 100, 100, 100, CMYK as this is reserved for crop marks and using this colour can drown the paper – no one wants drowned paper!
Don’t be fooled. Your screen can be way out of the sync with your printer. Do some test’s first and see what results come from your printer (even printing on your home printer cannot guarantee the finish you require when you send your work to print) So take note.
Yes… black can be painful to work with! And can be tricky colour to tame!
Thank you for reading how to work with black in print!
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