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Yet more fun with drafting film! I had no luck double-layering the stuff–lost a lot of detail and I couldn’t get the pages to lay as flat as I liked—so I went back to one layer of film over a print.

This is honestly the perfect way for me to work—I figure out all the problem spots digitally in painter, lay down big blocks of color and some rough sketchy lines, then I can work over top of it and do the delicate texture-y bits with colored pencil. The way this will take white linework makes me unbearably happy. And the frosting gives it a soft focus quality in the background that I rather like, too. Like slathering Vaseline on the lens to make the trees sexier.

I want to be clear that that sentence totally made sense in my head.

8 x 10, colored pencil on drafting film. This one is going to the gallery show. I have a mat lying around with rounded corners, and when I grabbed it, I loved what the rounding did so damn much that I went back and did a “framed” version of the image. I don’t know what it is, it makes it all…illustrationy.*

For my next trick, I may try doing one in sepia-tone. Pray for me!

Prints available, etc.

*A high school teacher once told me I was a brilliant wordsmith. Clearly she didn’t have to live with me.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.


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That frog looks incredibly pleased with himself.

You are a brilliant wordsmith. It's just that instead of ploughblades and horseshoes you're turning out interdimensional doorknobs and the Dark Crown of the Coming Apocalypse. And the occasional wrought-iron wombat.

You are a brilliant wordsmith, your imagery is instantly there. Either that or I'm just as weird as you are, as the word image painted needed no further explanation or elaboration.

Just tell me that the frog will be able to get loose from those tree roots/fingers when he's ready to. Please.

He carries the roots around with him,

He's a tree frog.

Thank you. I was going to ask why the tree was growing out of the back of the frog. Shoulda expected a reasonable explanation.

Sigh - I <3 your artwork, and St Mantis needs to get framed.

I use printing vellum to transfer line art to leather for carving. Might that give you a similar effect, but be layerable? (I don't know if it's a word. I'm using my English degree as a bye.)

Like slathering Vaseline on the lens
Oh my god I can't describe how my face contorted after that. I know photographers did this (and got some amazing results), but I don't even touch my polarizing filter with my fingers, much less the lenses!

No the lenses. You get a blank (just clear glass) filter and use that. Probably have to keep it in its own baggie and clean it thoroughly between uses. Or I suppose you can buy filters that are specifically etched to give the effect.

You sure can get haze and smeary filters, the thing with vaseline was that you'd just do the edges, so you end up with a soft focus vignette. They've got filters to do that, but with vaseline, you can make whatever shape you like, and it just comes off clean with alcohol, or any of several other camera-compatible solvents. Old, metal cameras and lenses anyway…

Ah. Alcohol. Didn't realize that. This is something I haven't done personally, but my father was a photographer. With old metal cameras and lenses. Before he discovered just how awesome digital was to play with. I have a memory from a VERY long time ago of dad putting vaseline on the living room window and photographing me against it. Made for a very cool effect but all I remember is being self-concious about being photographed.

That makes me feel way better, not gonna lie :) I imagine a filter is probably the neatest solution.

Filters are a whole other set of things you can get for cameras. Or used to. Has Photoshop taken over that? I've never been sure whether there were more lenses or more filters available for cameras. But with lenses that let you customize any way you want, it becomes it's own separate area of fun. I imagine there are lenses that come as two rings so that you can put a gel between them to get just the right colour filter that you would want.

I've seen some really neat effects where the photographer has just fogged the lens with their breath.

You'd have to be quick, I suppose! Or I guess you could focus, hold it, and get someone to help you >.>

There's a trick to getting it to lay flat. Drafters (in the days of actual drafting with paper and mechanical pencil and drafting table with awesome mechanical armature…) tape it down in the corners. Also, drafting tables are covered with one of two surfaces, depending on the drafter's preference and/or materials: Either glass (best when you're working with a thick medium, like card stock, large papers, heavy bonds, etc) or a just-barely pliant silicone/rubber surface, great for heavy lining, but you'd have to put down a second sheet of paper when working with vellum or fragile stock. Glass is also great for tracing, obviously, because you can backlight it.

I always preferred the pliant surface when working with drafting film.

Oh, and I always preferred graphite on film, but the softest graphite I had, and as sharp as possible. The big fat graphite leads in a drafting pencil, sharpened in the crazy little machine. Oh, I can't believe I'm waxing nostalgic about drafting…
I'm sure you've already figured this out, but masking off portions with spray fix allows you to do some interesting things too. If you have a good matte fixative, you can add more layers of pencil, along with just preventing smearing.

I'm taping everything to a chunk of stiff backing board---tape print flat, tape film over it, then I can just mat the whole deal up and call it good. The problem seems to be getting the film to lay completely flat and flush with the print layer--I had been taping all the way around with the stuff off the roll, but it seems to get a slight wobble that made me crazy, so I wound up going to just top and bottom with the flat sheets off off the pad so that it had a little more give.

You are a brilliant wordsmith. Just, sometimes, dictionaries don't cut it. Ask Will Shakespeare - he made up lots of words when he needed to.

Try working on both sides of the vellum.

Plaidomatic is right about the drafting board cover. It was slightly soft and had a green side and a yellow side (both very light pastel colors!).
Try for drafting tape to hold the page down, masking tape will work but is stickier.

There should be different weights of drafting vellum available from almost tissue paper thin to stiff.
Also - try drafting mylar if you can find it.

Just bear in mind: often drafting vellum is toothed on one side, smooth on the other.

I love this piece! Man you've really hit on something lovely Ursula! I can't wait to see some in real life (which I imagine would be next AC presuming you still like this style then) and now I want to play with vellum... haven't done that since college!

"Hey Mister Tree-Frog! How deep is that water?"

"Knee-deep. Knee-deep."


Edited at 2013-07-22 06:32 pm (UTC)

That frog needs to move more often! But he looks happy, so I'll let him be.

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