Have you tried the the Nik Collection for photos?

Brugge canal houses
Brugge canal houses: A photo from my Canon Powershot with some curves applied in Photoshop. This is what I used for testing out the Nik Collection; it’s a lo-res version of original image).

Google has a set of photo filters that are really pretty powerful. There are loads of presets, and with ranges of layers that can be selectively controlled.

They say the filters work with Photoshop, Lightroom, etc, but you’ll see that they are installed as stand alone apps; I presume they draw upon Photoshop‘s engine to work their magic.

You will suffer from option paralysis!

Below are a few samples, with names of filters within each set. Captions note which are presets, and which have been modified. One of the most impressive tools in all of these is the integration of control points, with which you can affect specific areas of the image, when a global change isn’t optimal.

Analog Efex

Classic camera 2 [preset]
Brugge canal houses
Classic camera 4 [preset]
Silver Efex

Classic camera 5 [modified settings] Continue reading

Working with ink: three renditions of a narrow place

ink drawing of treesThis relates to my post yesterday, regarding a drawing of birch trees.

This is the finished inking of a closed in, tangled forest scene I drew last week— album art for a client. This was drawn with pale graphite, then outlined and hatched ten thousand ways to Sunday with a Micron .01mm pen, and finally some washes (a gentle blend of India  ink and water).

This piece was very much inspired by an illustration from Comet in Moominland, by Tove Jansson. The final art for the record sleeve is below, as it looks with color layered in digitally.

And below is the drawing prior to the background hatchings and ink washes. I quite like it as a snowbound clearing, but the purpose of this image (for the record) is to underpin a feeling of being lost, and in a dark, narrow place.ink drawing of trees

 

Multidisciplinism? I’m gonna talk about it in Charm City. (update)

Poster for Elizabeth Daggar, visiting artist at the Light City Festival in Baltimore, April 2017Observations of a Visualist

If you’re in the Baltimore area for the last night of the Light City Festival on April 8 at 7:30 pm (that’s 19:30 World Time)— do join me in the at the UMBC pop-up gallery in the Inner Harbor for a chat and presentation regarding the importance of  multidisciplism (see also: generalism) in the technology-driven world of design these days.

See you in Charm City! x

 

Floor plans of a room: art archive

map of a room; layout design
A two-dimensional layout

I’ve no recollection of what these plans / designs were intended for; sketches at least 18 years old. Regardless of their erstwhile infamy, I don’t know what the three screens were about, and don’t know to what room these referred. And what on earth is “Model of Strategy”? It had to be for work (“Time to Market” is a phrase I’d never use otherwise. But there’s a midget!? Or I was just taking the piss.)

At any rate, I’m fond of both the spirit and execution of these sketches.

map of a room; interior design
Now with three dimensions!

 

Process: from manuscript to illustrated book

process_image
From manuscript to finished book: a brief process overview

This is a post about a project I’ve been participating in for a few months. It’s a noir-style children’s book in which nursery rhymes meet police procedural. A friend and client of mine, R. Andrew Heidel (owner of famous The Way Station bar), wrote True Crimes from Rhymes Square years ago and finally found an illustrator who was right for the job— Eric Hamilton. They hired me on as the publication designer.

Copy fitting process with thumbnail drawings
A sample spread during the copy-fitting process with thumbnail drawings

Eric spent months working on loads of thumbnails and sketches to work out the characters (of which there are many), as well as working out the illustrations. He provided me with no less than four thumbnails for each page/spread. I worked with the copy and layout design to arrive at a good balance of text-to-image, and Andy and I art directed during this process.

The same spread, after months of editing copy, Eric refining the illustrations, and me refining the design of the book

The book is being produced with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, and will be a sort of work-in-progress limited-edition hardcover, comprised of rough drawings, polished pencil illustrations, and final painted illustrations. It will serve as proof-of concept when Andy approaches publishers to create a series based on this initial story.

More images after the jump!

Continue reading

A table restoration project | Process

Before and After: a Queen Anne style reproduction, restored
Before and After: a Queen Anne style reproduction, restored

A few weeks ago, as I mentioned in this post, I found a discarded table around the corner from my apartment. It’s a modern reproduction, a simplified (straight legs not curved) variant on a Queen Anne style (yay, more QA!). It’s a gaming table to boot, as the top flips over and the obverse is felt-lined. A really pretty and well-constructed piece.

The post referenced above has a few ‘before’ images, including ones in which the Gaming Table aspects are shown, all of which have remained intact after this restoration of the exterior (top and legs only).

Bottom of the table, showing the beverage rest drawers and the inner section that holds game pieces
Bottom of the table, showing the beverage rest drawers and the inner storage section, as well as the hardware and joints where the legs connect
Wood stripping and refinishing supplies
Stripping and refinishing supplies*
Queen Anne style gaming table to be restored
Ready to dismantle and begin stripping the finish off

Drop cloth in place, the top surface is ready for stripping. Heavy duty gloves and disposable foam applicators, as this stuff is destructive (it will eat through latex gloves, don’t use ’em).

I used the fast-working type of stripper (with windows wide open and fan on on a very breezy day). Slather it on the wood— thick so it doesn’t dry too fast. You have to scrape the coating off while it’s still wet or it gets hardened.

Table top slathered in first coat of streipper
Table top slathered in first coat of stripper

06This part is immensely satisfying, all those layers of old finish coming off. I learned as I stripped the piece that several types of wood were used, which explains why it was finished in such a way that looked stained and polished like an antique, but was in fact an opaque, painted finish to hide the discrepancies. That also masks places in which wood filler was used.

Continue reading

A dilemma, revisited

09-06-16_table_sketch
Funny little visualization in the sketchbook

After a week of percolating and indecision, an idea for this table hatched and I began the work (unironically) on labor day. I’ve stripped the top surface and all four legs, and have a plan to create a backgammon pattern on the top.

Having seen how beautiful the wood beneath the old finish is, I’ve elected to leave half of the diamond-sharp points natural, paint the other half metallic gold, and the remaining space will be completed with a dark stain— possibly dark walnut for contrast, or I may also try to match the existing finish still on the lower portion, where the legs connect.

08
Stripped and sanded; as you can see, two kinds of wood were underneath

My primary concern: How to mask for stain? Stain is penetrating by nature, unlike paint which sits on top of a surface, so tape isn’t going to result in clean lines. After a bit of research, I found an ingenious solution: mask for where I don’t want the stain and spray clear coat there. Those areas will then have a kind of permanent mask, preventing the stain from soaking in.

I plan to polyurethane the whole thing when all’s said and done to achieve a unified surface (as well as for protection), so the ‘mask’ areas will blend away and not look conspicuously shiny.

I’ll not be sawing off its shapely little legs for use as a coffee table—instead leave it as a moveable table / island nearby the windows in the kitchen.