Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Graphics Tablet Coolness

I splurged and invested in a Wacom Bamboo graphics tablet at the beginning of this year. I've been using it to play with GIMP, figuring out some of the bazillion things that can be done in that program. And is it ever fun. Allow me to demonstrate.

(BTW, please do not think that this is in any way, shape or form an exhaustive or excellent demonstration of the resources available with either of these tools, I'm just getting started and I've never used any kind of real image manipulation software before).

Start with this:

And then play a little bit with paths, feathering and gradient fills, add one ferry trip between Duke Point and Tsawassen, and Beginning GIMP, to get this:

Amie Roman as burnishings on Flickr
While I think photo manipulation is fun, and I'm sure I'll do more at some point, I really wanted to be able to use these tools to draft ideas for printmaking, one way or another. I thought I'd try using a few of the tools I'd used in that exercise with this photo:

drew a path around Murri, copied & pasted into a new layer in another file (which I'd started with a black fill as background), then used the Ink tool to draw elements over top of the cut-out of Murri. I would hide the Murri cut-out layer intermittently to check my inking progress. It's quite a challenging tool, because it acts quite a lot like an old-fashioned cartridge or fountain pen in that if you're not careful, you'll blob ink everywhere! But the gorgeous variation in line thickness and shape, I just can't resist. I added a few gentle details using the regular Pen tool, too.

Amie Roman as burnishings on Flickr
I went back to the first photo:

and did the same thing:

Amie Roman as burnishings on FlickrThen I thought I'd do a reverse of the colour scheme, black on white. So from this:

I got this:
Amie Roman as burnishings on FlickrClick on it for a larger view. I think it's my favourite so far.

One more:

Amie Roman as burnishings on Flickr

Kind of similar to my earlier pen & ink Murri sketches on paper:

Amie Roman as burnishings on Flickr

but much easier (especially as this photo Murri doesn't move around!)


Jan Allsopp said...

These look great! You have inspired me to think about dragging out the tablet I bought last year when I just couldn't function a moment longer without it... and then found out about the learning curve...

Jeanette Jobson said...

These are wonderful! I love the clean lines and white on black of the sitting cat pieces.

I have a graphics tablet but haven't done much with it. My technical ability is limited and I should learn more. You've inspired me to try it again. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Thanks, ladies. The learning curve is not small. And it didn't help that the first time I plugged in my Bamboo tablet it wouldn't work with GIMP at all! So then I spent a couple of hours troubleshooting on the internet and discovered that I needed the newest GIMP. Problem solved (although it still acts goofy now and then). And the user manual that I bought is really helpful; not everyone would need it, but I sure do!

Tracey said...

Oh my gosh, totally cool! I have a tablet the hubby got me years ago and have not even tried, yet! Hmm, I better dig it out. I love the first two portraits, so simple & elegant. And the next two are so cool as well, the fur looks so cool. Ugh, a whole other 'medium' waiting to be explored, yikes, like I needed that, thanks ;)

Robyn Sinclair said...

Very impressive debut, Amie any one of these would make a great print.

You've made me want another tablet - my last one got acrylic medium spilt all over it in a packing box on its way to Italy, so I never got to learn to use it properly. My Adobe Illustrator works fine but I've never managed to learn to use that properly either :(

Will look forward to more of your tablet adventures though.