Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Make a beeline to Apple.com

My "Bee" Inkpad drawing has made it to the big show!... I was pretty stoked to find it featured as the Inkpad graphic under Educational apps on the Apple website. Click on the link and scroll down to Art, Music, and Creativity section - then click the Inkpad button.

Screenshot from Apple.com/education/apps

"Bee" was my first serious attempt at illustrating with Inkpad. Inkpad really is an amazing app.
If you're a professional illustrator or aspiring artist, Inkpad has plenty in store for you. You'll be impressed by it's feature set and clean interface. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Using gradients in Inkpad - Part 2

There are times when glows or shadows can be used to create contrast or definition to a drawing. One of the quickest and easiest ways to accomplish this is with a gradient. 
The gradient should contain two or more stops with the outermost stop set to complete transparency in order to blend with background behind it. Now, you might think that when you set the outer stop to 0% that color will blend consistently with the background. That is not always the case. Sometimes unexpected results occur. Read on to discover how to tweak the transparent color settings to make your drawing look fantastic!
If you look at the color of the radial gradient behind the flower in figure A, you will notice the stop on the right has identical values as the one on the left, but is set to 0% transparency. However, there is a noticeable halo around the edge of the gradient (see figure C and D as well).
The color of the transparent gradient in figure B has been tweaked to match the background color. Take note of the subtle change in the gradient preview area. There is a blueish tinge between the two stops. In this case, adjusting the color to dark blue helps eliminate the halo and blends the gradient into the background in a much smoother fashion.
Depending on the look you are after, the color of the halo can be edited and used to your advantage. Examples C and D illustrate how changing the color of the transparent color stop can warm or cool the glow behind the flower.

Experiment and see what you come up with! I'd love to see some of your work.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Using gradients in Inkpad - Part 1

Vector art lends itself very well to a graphic, flat style - flat lines, colors, shapes (Figure 1A).  This may be the style of art you are trying to produce; however, here’s another option that will help bring your artwork a sense of volume. Gradients. If used properly, gradients can help your art produce a sense of 3 dimensions.  
There are two types of gradients - linear (gradually changing straight lines) and radial (gradually changing circles). I will be focusing on radial gradients in this post.
You can apply a gradient in Inkpad by creating/selecting an object, tapping on the Fill button and selecting the gradient button at the top of the Fill panel. Although Inkpad is only limited to 6 color stops (color changes) that is enough to create some fantastic artwork.
Below (Figure 1) is an illustration showing the conversion of a mushroom from a flat 2D style to a 3D look using only radial gradients. Each step shows the gradient colors used. You can also see where I’ve placed the gradient control handles to maximize the placement of the gradient

A - Original art
B - Radial gradient applied to mushroom cap
C - Radial gradient applied to mushroom cap spots - with lightest color removed to keep spots visible slight tweak to control handles. Stroke removed
D - Radial gradient applied to stem. The top of the gradient is darker shade to simulate shadow cast from the mushroom cap. Stroke removed
E - Radial gradient created to simulate drop shadow. This is one of my favorite techniques in Inkpad. To create this effect draw a circle and apply a radial gradient. Center the gradient by moving the control handle for the first color stop to the center of the circle. Next, use the scale tool to flatten the circle. This can be accomplished by performing a non-uniform scale on the circle (hold down a second finger while dragging the scale tool). By this stage the mushroom is starting to look pretty good and you might be tempted to stop here, however, there are a few additional steps you can take to make the art  more zippy. You can see the steps for step F in Figure 2.

F - Cap Highlights - There are 3 radial gradients added on top of the cap as highlights. These were created by setting the gradient colors to go from the highlight color in the first stop to 100% transparent in the second stop.
Stem Highlights - 2 highlights, created in a similar manner to the cap highlights, are stacked on top of the stem. The one on the left is larger as it illustrates the light cast by the main light. The second highlight represents bounced light and helps define the right side of the stem.
Glows & Shadows - additional glows and shdows were added to the mushroom to further enhance the 3D look.
I continue to be very impressed with the features offered in Inkpad. In fact, all artwork in this post was created on iPad using Inkpad.
Stay tuned for Part 2.