Digital Art

Lady in Purple

Lady in Purple
Lady in Purple

I love abstract; anything that doesn’t fit the norm. Life is more interesting that way. Like the cliche my mother wore out over the years, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” there’s more than one way to view art. Art is an expression of life; the way we think, the way we feel . . . the way we live. It can be happy and carefree, sad and lonely, dark and mystical, distorted and comical. Well, I like distorted and comical. I like dark and mystical too. And happy and carefree are good. But I don’t like sad and lonely. I’ve been tormented by those party poopers most of my life. Now that we’ve parted ways I don’t ever want to hang with them again. I may express sadness in some of my work, but I’m not enslaved to it anymore.

I Hope you enjoy what I did with the following clip art that I downloaded from the internet.

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Digital Art

Critters in the Forest of Dean

Jew's Ears
Jew’s Ears

On November 21, 2014, Colin, atrampinthewoods.wordpress.com, posted some interesting fungi called Jew’s Ears, or better known as Jelly Ears. I couldn’t just leave them there without the rest of their bodies. What kind of digital artist would I be if I did that? So I downloaded them, and like Dr. Frankenstein, I dug up some arms and legs and mouth’s from my files and did some serious surgery. Now they’re complete. A little weird, but complete!

As you can see, Jelly ears gave Oscar a face and Mater gave him a mouth.

Silly Bird was my first attempt using the Jelly Ears photo. With a little erasing and reshaping, one of the eyes became a beak, and the face became his body, legs and feet. I created his feathers using my mouse and RadWarp tool in PaintShop Pro X6. I kept playing around with color till I finally came up with this.

This guy wasn’t ready to be brought to life. He didn’t like his eyes. He didn’t like Mater’s mouth. He didn’t like anything. He just wanted to be deleted! But I came too far to give up on him. After I finally got his face and belly the way he half-way wanted it, I didn’t know what to do about the rest of him. So I downloaded his buddy from the internet who was kind enough to share his arms and legs with him. Thanks Junior!

As you can see, this owl emerged from the same Jelly fungus. I just added a beak, hat and legs to complete the look.

Here again I used the Jelly Fungus for my alien’s face. I borrowed other body parts from the guy standing next to him. Since I never leave anything like I found it, I fattened my alien up a little and gave him my pet Silly Bird to keep him company. I think that made him happy.

I know, this is not a critter, but I just couldn’t resist creating a cute little house from Mr. Jelly Ears. I made it, along with all the others, a picture tube. Now it’s ready to be placed in a mysterious forest, or near a trickling stream, or in a flower garden.

This Turkey Tail fungus made a pair of beautiful wings for my butterfly. The nose-like fungus was perfect for the body. Of course I had to work with it, using the RadWarp tool. After I finished designing the butterfly, I merged all the layers and distorted it slightly. Now I have one butterfly with three different looks.

So there you have it. Critters in the Forest of Dean. Thanks for stopping by!

Digital Art

Misty Angel

Misty Angel
Misty Angel

One thing I will never be is an angel. I’ll never be a devil either, although I come closer to being a devil than an angel sometimes. I’m too human to be anything but what I am: an imperfect soul living in an imperfect world striving to be the best I can be. I don’t always make it through the day without getting my feathers ruffled. I don’t always feel like smiling. And I don’t always want to be around people. They get on my nerves. I get on their nerves too, just ask my husband. I really get on his nerves. Sometimes I mean too, though. But I’m just playing around with him. He hates pickles. I love pickles and wave them under his nose just to hear him holler. And I hide his TV remote control. Every morning he gets up and asks, “Alright. Where did you hide my control?” It’s a game we play. Sometimes I forget where I hid it and we both end up looking for it! And he hates anything cold on him. You ought to see him jump when I flick cold water on his bare back. But the most annoying thing I do is pop my gum. Not crack my gum, pop my gum. Real loud. So loud the dog runs into the other room thinking he’s being shot at. So yeah. I’ll never be an angel. I’m way too devilish to even try!

I spent the biggest part of the day designing the following angel. I forgot to mention that I’m a perfectionist. Another thing that gets on my husband’s nerves!

I began with this picture tube that I downloaded from the internet. That was the easy part. I could never make a tutorial because I change my mind too much about the look I want. Sometimes I change everything so much that I delete it and start over. In this design I applied many layers, texture, a moon, flowers, sparkles, picture frame, border, and special effects. Thanks for stopping by!

Digital Art

It’s a Frog’s Life

I like frogs. Even toads covered in warts. They remind me of my childhood days. Like when my brothers and I collected tadpoles in gallon jars. And like being scared to death of being peed on by a toad and getting warts. And like the times it seemed to rain hoppy toads; hundreds and hundreds of hoppy toads. And like the time a frog got caught between the blades of the old-timey push mower. I got him out and together my friend and I placed him on a clean napkin, doctored his belly with Mercurochrome and a band-aid and prayed he’d get better. Then there were those bullfrogs. Those huge critters you could put a saddle on and ride!

Following are ten before and after frog picture tubes that I downloaded from the internet and used in my digital designs.

This little guy reminds me of my husband. He’s always up in the middle of the night looking for something to eat. He wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of pajamas though. Especially a pair with hearts all over them!

As you can see, I changed the color and texture on this little guy. I began with the frog (picture tube). I then added a picture frame, shadows, snow, color and texture. I merged all the layers, then using several of my favorite tools, I played around with more color and texture till I was happy with the final results.

Most all my designs contain one or more picture frames as well as a thin border. It’s a good starting place for my digital designs.

Well, that’s it. Thanks for stopping by!

Digital Art

What Are Picture Tubes?

Little Red Birdhouse
Little Red Birdhouse

I’m not an expert on anything, especially digital design. Like playing different instruments, I am self-taught. In other words, I do it my way. So it is with digital design.

I wanted to learn digital design so I bought the Corel PaintShop Pro X3 program. From there I kept upgrading till I’m now using the Pro X6. The new X7 is out now, but I haven’t upgraded to that one yet

I studied other people’s work online, bought books, and watched tutorials. Mostly I learned by doing . . . on the job training they call it. And since I’m not there yet, I repeat the process. Again. And again.

So, what’s all that got to do with picture tubes? Nothing. I just like to ramble sometimes.

Since I won’t get the definition right, I copied and pasted this information from the internet:

What are Picture Tubes? What are .TUB and .PSPTUBE files? Can I use Tubes in other software?
Answer: “Picture Tubes”, or simply “tubes,” are a feature of the photo editing software Paint Shop Pro, which was originally developed by Jasc Software and is currently owned by Corel and marketed under the brand name Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo. The Picture Tube is a tool in the Paint Shop Pro software which allows users to “paint” with a series of objects. As the user drags the Picture Tube “brush” across the document, the objects are sprayed onto the page.

Clear as mud, isn’t it? So, as best I can, I’m going to show you what a picture tube is. Unless you know a little something about PaintShop Pro, or Photoshop, it still won’t make much sense to you. But here it goes:

I designed each of these graphics (clip art, embellishments, elements; whatever you choose to call them) and exported them as picture tubes into my PaintShop Pro (psp) files. Here’s how:

1. In order to export a picture into your psp tube file, it must have a transparent background. That’s because a tube can only have one layer. If it has a background color, even if it’s white, it has two layers. To export a picture with a background you must click on Layers in your toolbar, click New Layer, then click Merge Visible. Your picture will still have a background but it now has only one layer.

2. Click File on your toolbar. Go down to export. Click on Picture Tube. A window opens where you will give your picture a name. Click OK. Now you made a picture tube. Wasn’t that fun?

Now it’s always at your beck and call. Just click on your Picture Tube on the left side toolbar. A little window at the top left will open. Click on your freshly made picture tube, click on your layer, and Poof! Keep clicking and you’ll have pictures all over your page.

Once I finally learned how to make picture tubes I didn’t know when to quit. A girl can never have too many picture tubes!

When you get the hang of how the tube thing works, you can turn your photos, drawings, downloads; just about anything into picture tubes. I call it clip art at your fingertips. It’s that easy.

These are cards I designed using picture tubes. The little critters I designed using various shapes and the Rad Warp tool found under Effects in the KPT collection in PaintShop Pro X6.

Well, that’s it for today. If you were looking for help concerning picture tubes, I hope you found it. If you were looking for entertainment, I hope you found that too.

Digital Art

From Photos to Greeting Cards

SandiA

I was extremely introverted growing up. My favorite place in all the world was my tiny bedroom where I’d sing and play my accordion, write songs and poetry, paint and draw. I had one best friend. That’s all I needed. Anymore than that got too complicated. Too dramatic. Too stressful. I don’t like complicated, drama, and stress. That’s why today I still choose art and music and writing over the noisy world. I don’t even watch much TV. I hate commercials. I hate stupid. And commercials are stupid. Even most of the TV programs are stupid. And if I watch too much of them, I’ll be stupid!

So what’s a senior citizen to do with all her free time? Well this one creates. Not to make money, and God knows I need it. Not to get famous, which would scare me to death! And not to pat myself on the back, because I can’t reach it. But I create because it fills a void. It makes me happy. It helps with depression. It makes me feel close to the Creator. And because I’ve struggled most of my life with low self-esteem and insecurities, I’m thankful to God for His special gifts to me. He knew I needed them.

Below are greeting cards that I designed using photos I’ve taken, as well as photos that Colin, atrampinthewoods.wordpress.com has taken and shares with his readers. Thanks Colin. You are an inspiration to me!

I'm Sorry
I’m Sorry

This is Colin’s little side-kick, Fizz. I just love using her in my digital designs. She is so well-mannered!

The Little Squirrel
The Little Squirrel

This is another photo that Colin posted on his blog. This little guy loves wishing everyone a Happy Birthday! Is today your birthday? Then, Happy Birthday!

Hello
Hello

Isn’t this little guy adorable? He’s always dropping by to say hello. Thanks to Colin, this little Skipper Butterfly fluttered from his post into my cheery greeting card.

The Lord is My Shepherd
The Lord is My Shepherd

Colin lives on a beautiful farm in the UK. His landlord raises sheep. When Colin posted this beauty I just had to download him. He’s a lovely sheep with a great message.

Thinking of You Birdhouse
Thinking of You Birdhouse

Finally, I chose one of my own photos to use in this greeting card. It’s amazing how many different pictures you can get from one photo. That’s why digital design is so much fun. Many photos wouldn’t be trashed if you could see them as art. It’s only been the past few months that I even considered using my photos in my designs. In the raw, they’re trash. In a digital design, they’re treasures. At least they are for me.

Trust in the Lord
Trust in the Lord

Since I’ve learned to use PaintShop Pro X6 and discovered all the wonderful tools it offers, I enjoy taking pictures. No matter how terrible the shot, I can usually turn it into something worth while. Sometimes I can’t, though. Like when it has too much or not enough exposure. Or if it’s too blurry. Those I consider trash.

Merry Christmas Santa
Merry Christmas Santa

This is my husband’s favorite Christmas decoration. So I decided that when I get too lazy to decorate, I can give him this greeting card to look at. As with all my designs, I began with a picture frame then built around it using lots of layers and texture. Because I play around with different effects trying this or that, a card like this one takes me hours . . . and hours. I’ll keep you guessing just how many hours. I do take a few toilet breaks, though. And eat. And let the dog out. Sometimes I even wash the dishes! So all in all, ten hours isn’t too bad . . . is it?

Thinking of You Watercan
Thinking of You Water Can

Okay. So this isn’t a photo. I designed it using picture tubes. I’ll explain what they are in my next post. But for now, just know that I had just as much fun designing this card as I did all the others. Hope you enjoyed your little tour. Come back and see me again, hear?

Digital Art

Before and After

I’m not a photographer. I just aim and shoot . . . the camera, that is. Sometimes I get it right, most of the time I don’t. But that’s okay, because I know how to make it work for me. It’s called, “Digital Design.” Using PaintShop Pro X6, I can take a ratty photo and turn it into a piece of art. Anyone can. Just try it and see for yourself. It’s fun!

I love impressionistic art and use that style in many of my photos. Anyone using PaintShop Pro X6 can download Harry’s Filters plugins. This tool is free and offers many special effects for photos as well as digital designs. Another great free plugin is Xero. That’s the one I use the most. It has many great special effects.

Below are the before and after photos that I had taken over the years and used in my digital designs.

The Back Porch
The Back Porch
The Back Porch

In this design, I used a photo of my back porch. The teddy bear is a picture tube that I added for interest. That’s what I love about digital design. You can add or remove whatever you choose.

The Front Porch
The Front Porch
The Front Porch
The Front Porch

As you can see, I added several picture tubes in this design. With the right program you can turn your photo into a dreamland, and get lost in it!

Crepe Myrtle
Crepe Myrtle

My main focus was the Crepe Myrtle hanging over the Azalea’s and Heavenly Bamboo.

The Crepe Myrtle
The Crepe Myrtle

Now the photo gives a homy feel. That’s what I like; that homy, comfy, country feel. Nothing big. Nothing fancy. Just home.

The Flowerbed
The Flowerbed

This photo screams I don’t know what I’m doing! I had to do some cropping and enlarging to achieve the look I was after in this one.

The Flowerbed
The Flowerbed

So, I cheated a little. Okay, a lot. But it works. I took out a bunch of stuff I didn’t want and added things I enjoy: a hummingbird, bird nest and eggs, and a little note with a pretty bow. Now everyone’s happy.

The Birdhouse
The Birdhouse

What I like about digital design is I can fill in the bare spots of my flowerbed with beautiful flowers if I choose. Or I can leave it like it is and focus on the birdhouse as I did in the following design.

The Birdhouse
The Birdhouse

See how easy that was?

First Snow
First Snow

And last but not least, our first snow. Living in the south, we don’t get a lot of snow. But when we do, I love watching it come down. Sometimes my husband and I bundle up and sit on the back porch with a steaming cup of coffee, talking and giggling like a couple of kids. That’s what makes life worthwhile.

First Snow
First Snow

For several reasons, we don’t decorate the outside for Christmas. One year however, we went all out and strung garland and lights on the banisters, put a big red bow on the light post, and hung wreaths on every window. And that’s where everything stayed till the following Spring. When my husband finally got around to taking it all down, birds had built nests in the Christmas wreaths! So the decorations you see here are all picture tubes.

Digital Art

The Little Owl

My daughter-in-law, Christy loves drawing pictures for her youngest child, Jacob. She amazes me because she doesn’t agonize over her drawings. Give her five minutes and she can draw the Eiffel Tower! When she showed me her little owl picture I fell in love with it and asked her if I could use it in my digital designs. The first picture is Christy’s drawing. The second picture is my recreation of it using PaintShop Pro X6, lots of layers, texture, color, and buttons for the eyes.

Pencil Drawing by Christy Staton
Pencil Drawing by Christy Staton
Digital Design by Sandi Staton
Digital Design by Sandi Staton