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Dr. Armstrong Operates, Performs Extraction, Saves The Day (Again)

March 20, 2014

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably thought to yourself: “This guy is a genius!! His work is so perfect! Doesn’t he ever make a mistake??”  Yup, you’ve probably thought that… : )BlankVertSpace.8pixels

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Mistakes are a specialty of mine. Fortunately, correcting mistakes is also a specialty, which allows me to rescue myself.

All of my line drawings contain “the usual” mistakes: a crooked line, somebody’s head is too big, objects are too close together, etc. Occasionally, there’s a truly ludicrous mistake, because somebody got careless (guess who?).

I’m in the middle of an assignment where my line drawing contained both kinds of mistakes. I thought a quick look at the correction process would make an amusing and instructive blog post.

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My client is the Pontifical Mission Societies, and my illustration features a World Mission Rosary and a world globe.

The 5 decades of the World Mission Rosary are 5 different colors, each representing a different continent. Each decade consists of 11 beads which represent familiar prayers: an Our Father, followed by 10 Hail Mary’s.BlankVertSpace.8pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

If you study my original line drawing (below), you’ll get the feeling that something is “off.” You’re right: the right-hand side of the elliptical globe is squashed in a bit, and needs to be pushed out and made rounder.

And if you count the beads, you’ll notice that some idiot put in 12 red beads, instead of only 11. Hm. Who do we know who could make a dumb mistake like that? (Don’t answer that.)

Note: The small arrows below indicate the “Our Father” bead for each decade. You also get to see my note to myself (circled in red) that one of the red beads has gotta go.

Catholic mission rosary with colored beads crucifix forming outline of globe with major continents misshapen too many red beads

I don’t have a neat and tidy solution to these kinds of problems. It’s usually messy and labor-intensive.

In this case, I could see I’d need to move both the red and yellow beads, pushing them outward to the right. I used the Pen tool to cut the strands into pieces, copying and pasting them onto new layers. Since I’m removing a bead and lengthening the right-hand side of the rosary, I clearly need more of the chain which links the beads together. So I simply copied and pasted in bits of chain as needed.

Here’s the result, with Mr. Big Purple Arrow indicating the naughty 12th bead removed by the surgeon.

If you scroll up and look at the original, you’ll see that Africa is now much further away from South America. When mighty illustrators expand the world, they have to realign the continents, too.

Catholic mission rosary with colored beads crucifix forming outline of globe with major continents right edge rounded extra bead extracted

In the following image, I overlaid the corrected drawing with the original red and yellow bead lines. You can see how the right-side realignment gives the globe a more pleasing, symmetric shape.Catholic mission rosary with colored beads crucifix forming outline of globe with major continents overlay compare of original and revised globe right-side arc

How’s the assignment coming along? Here’s the illustration with some flat color laid in. I’ve also added Pope Francis who’s releasing a dove filled with kids’ faces. The illustration’s for the Missionary Childhood Association, which seeks to instill a spirit of mission in Catholic school kids in the United States (“children helping children”).Catholic mission rosary with colored beads crucifix forming outline of globe with major continents Pope Francis releasing dove children participating in missionary work

Ever been involved in mission work, either firsthand or as a financial supporter?

Ever performed any surgery? (Dicing a carrot, peeling potatoes, cutting a piece of cake, etc.)

If illustrators are performing surgery, should they be required to carry malpractice insurance in case they decide to sue themselves??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Chrome, Chrome On The Range

Ring Around The Rosary, We All Stand Together

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How To Recycle A Couple Of King Arthur Tin Cans

March 13, 2014

OK, say you have an idea for a “knight joke,” and you draw up a bunch of knights in somewhat scruffy armor.

You make your joke, but then you keep having ideas for more knight jokes. What do
you do? Recycle your tin cans, of course!

For example, here’s a pun on “Tonight, tonight, won’t be just any night,” a lyric from Tonight, one of the best-known songs from West Side Story:

flirting between two knights in armor, caption: Two Knight Won't Be Just Any Knight

If those two knights look familiar, it may be because you saw them in my last post,
which featured my original knight joke:poster showing nine medieval King Arthur era knights standing wearing armor chain mail with swords spears joke caption succession of one-knight stands

So if you’re an illustrator, what’s the best way to recycle your tin cans?

It helps a lot if you create all your knights as separate Photoshop documents. For example, here’s our first knight and a portion of the corresponding Layers Window. I’d like to copy the entire knight, but leave out the ground shadow and the white background.

But how can I do that when the knight’s composite color is spread out across multiple layers?

medieval knight in romantic pose, Photoshop layers window showing all layers visible including white background

Answer: use one of Photoshop’s lesser known features: the extremely powerful Copy Merged.

How does it work? You begin by turning off the visibility of the layers you don’t want to include. Then you use the Rectangular Selection Tool to select the portion of the image you want to copy. Then you choose Edit>Copy Merged. Photoshop then copies your selection across all visible layers– everything it can “see” within the selection. It’s that easy.

medieval knight in armor, romantic pose, layers window shows background layer visibility turned off for Copy Merged operation

Next, I created a new document with a white background and chose Edit>Paste to
add my Copy Merged image on its own layer. Because the knight occupies an otherwise transparent layer, I can add a texture or anything else I want behind it. medieval knight in armor, romantic pose, copy merged pasted into new document on its own layer above white background layer

I repeated the above steps with my second knight: open the original Knight #2 document, do a Copy Merged, paste Knight #2 into the new composite document, which places him on his own otherwise transparent layer.medieval knight in armor, romantic pose, second knight copy merged pasted into document, also on its own layer

Next, I expanded my Canvas Size, and added my text, all on separate Text Layers.two medieval knights in armor, romantic situation, text added Two Knight Won't Be Just Any Knight pun on famous Broadway musical song title

I had a grungy pinkish texture I thought would work well as background. I copied and pasted it in behind all the other layers.

Then I added a Layer Mask, chose color = Black, and used a soft brush at reduced flow and opacity to mask out the texture in the central portion of the image.

two medieval knights in armor, romantic situation, pink grunge texture added, then layer mask used to hide part of texture

I thought the remaining texture looked a little too faint, so I duplicated the texture layer, and set the layer mode to Multiply. I adjusted the Opacity setting until I liked the result.two medieval knights in armor, romantic situation, pink grunge texture added, then duplicated and mode equals multiply used to darken texture around perimeter

Can two tin cans find love and happiness at the recycling center? We can but hope. Here’s the final again. If you like “knight humor,” you can find additional shining examples at my online store.flirting between two knights in armor, caption: Two Knight Won't Be Just Any Knight

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Do you think my idea might lead to a revival of West Side Story? How about Camelot??

Is it really possibly to flirt in a suit of armor? Can you speak from experience??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

If you enjoyed this post, please click the Like button below.

If you’d like to share this post with others, please click Tweet or Facebook or StumbleUpon or one of the other Share buttons.

I also invite you to get updates. Just click the Get Updates button in the sidebar below the Portfolio Thumbnails, or click + Follow in the blog menu bar.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Oh, No– Abducted By The Cake People!!

Leprechaun Trauma: Wrong Pot, Bad Shock

Hey, Bertie Bott– Time To Brighten Up Your Beans!!

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