About the Computer Art…

The basic steps I follow to create a typical image on my blog are shown below. For the technically curious, I am using an HP tablet PC and the software is Gimp.
rough sketch
rough sketch

Step one above is the rough sketch. This is made in a layer that will be turned off later. It can be very rough but I like to establish the key elements – for this small piece that would be the eyes.

hard line drawing with outlines for colour areas
hard line drawing with outlines for colour areas

In step 2, I trace over and correct the drawing in a new layer. I pay more attention to the thickness of the different lines as this will give the drawing character and make it have the feeling of something created by hand… I am drawing it after all, even though the computer is the medium! The program can be set so that the harder I press on the screen with the pen, the thicker the line will be – just like using a pencil.

areas filled with colours
areas filled with colours

Step 3 – I fill in the areas with whatever colours I feel like that day. I discover as I go that some areas were not completely enclosed when suddenly the whole background becomes the colour of skin – luckily it is easy to undo errors!

filter applied to smooth and blend
filter applied to smooth and blend

Step 4 – I apply a Gimp filter which smooths out the lines and blends the colours a bit. It’s like magic!

final touches
final touches

Step 5 – I do touch ups with a “paint brush” blending, creating shadows and highlights. The sparkle in the eye always seems to bring a portrait to life! Finally the signature.

Here’s a slide show of the steps.

slide show of process
slide show of process

images (cc) 2009 Hilary Farmer


4 thoughts on “About the Computer Art…

  1. Hilary, this is really fascinting. How long would it take you to get from your rough sketch to the finished product as you have illustrted the process above?

  2. This one is fairly simple so likely about an hour to an hour and a quarter max. (I wasn’t timing it.) More complicated drawings with more characters or lots going on in the background take upwards of two hours… still, faster than oil painting lol.

  3. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing your step by step. I have Gimp on my desktop but never thought it could be for a tablet also. Is it the XGimp Image Editor?

    1. Thanks Marlene!
      I have not actually been doing too much computer art recently since I’ve been focused on oil painting but I yeah, I use Gimp (which stands for Gnu image manipulation program) on my Wacom Cintiq which is a tablet computer. Gimp is fairly similar to Photoshop but free which is always nice.

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