Friday, December 26, 2014

Time To Get Started

OK - I finally have time to start being a clip-artist!  With Christmas now behind us and another 5 days with no kids bugging me, I'm able to take the time to get everything organized to start the business.  I had already put the logo together a couple of weekends ago and had set up the new website, along with "stores" on both Teachers Pay Teachers and Etsy, so there's no excuse.

I'm starting with Shapes - basic ones at first, in order to get a feel for the process.  I never knew the more technical side of clipart until making my first images.  The biggest question is which software to use.  I've worked quite a lot with Photoshop over the years, but don't own my own copy and am not about to plunk down hundreds of dollars before I even get started.  I also have had a little experience with Illustrator, but I don't think I'll need Illustrator's capabilities, at least not right away.  I had already decided my clipart would be more of a freehand-sketch kind of look, so a raster-type program is what I want to use.  I had heard about Gimp as being a poor man's Photoshop (particularly since it's free!) so I downloaded it and started playing with it.  After about a half hour or so I had figured for what I want to do Gimp was going to work just fine.  It has layers which are easy to manipulate, can easily transform artwork already on your screen, and can export images into many different file types, particularly PNG.

However, there are a lot of decisions to be made, particularly with the software setup.  But instead of trying to figure it all out before drawing, I just started with test images.  I knew transparency would be important and I wanted to be sure all of my images are in high-resolution.  The first few basic shapes and body outlines I drew looked very jagged and pixelated.  So I switched from pencil to brush and sampled a number of different brush sizes until I found a pixel width and hardness that I think will give me the right kind of freehand look.

So now I'm drawing shapes for my first product ... can't wait to finish and see how my first completed  project looks!

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