Gelli Arts Print Rescues a Sketch

August 24, 2014 in Mixed Media Posts, Photoshop Posts

For those who know me, you know that I have been trying to learn to draw, especially faces, for the past couple of years. It is my goal to be able to one day draw my Grandchildren, so I have some time to get better :-) . There have been a few times when I have drawn something that actually resembles someone –



That sketch took me probably an hour in total. Lately I have trying to do faster sketches in conjunction with some of the online Art classes I have been taking. I sketched this in about 5 minutes…

Fast sketch

Fast sketch

As you can tell, I am even worse at bodies than I am at faces, ;-) . I decided to try to do something with this girl though, and so I brought her into Photoshop along with this cool Gelli Arts print that I made. If anything can salvage a sketch, it’s a Gelli Arts print, right? :-)

Gelli Arts Leaf Over Print

Gelli Arts Leaf Over Print

I played around with some blend modes and such, and my sketch started looking even freakier still-

Gelli-Arts Photoshop Face

Gelli-Arts Photoshop Face


My husband was walking by the computer at the time, and I asked, “Can you look at this?”. He looked at the image, then he looked at me with this quizzical look. It was akin to when your Mother puts her hand on your forehead when you were a kid to check whether you were feeling ok :-) . So, clearly he was not a fan!  I was just about to give up, close the window and move on to something else for this week’s project when I stopped. The window was zoomed in and just one of the corners caught my eye. A crop and a cut and paste later, and here is the result..

Gelli Arts Leaf  Print

Gelli Arts Leaf Print

This one got a nod from my husband, and an almost audible sigh of relief that I wan’t going mad! So, remember even a crop of a Gelli Arts print can save the day!!


Photoshop Conte Crayon

October 3, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

Last week I took a class from Pam Carriker. It was fabulous, and during the class she showed us some sketches she had done of faces. In Conte crayon, so they were this lovely orange-y brown color. They were have done and very sketchy, and I loved them! I had some sketches going, one from the class actually using Pam’s new face stencils, and I decided to see if I could get the same feel as her conte sketches in Photoshop.

I used a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, and clicked the colorize button, and then played around with the Hue slider until I got the orange-y brown color I wanted. I also tried using a Photo Filter adjustment layer with the same color, but I felt that I had more control with Hue/Saturation. Of course I then added other layers to add texture and interest.

Here are some of the sketches after colorizing in Photoshop. This first one is the sketch I made using Pam’s face stencil:

Pam Carriker Sketch class


Here is another one I worked on after taking Pam’s class:

Pam Carrkier Class Sketch


Here is a sketch I drew while in Vermont, and decided to give it the same treatment, but just as a skight overtone, keeping most of the original colors:

Conte Crayon Sketch


This was a fun experiment, and you could do it with any color you like. Just choose Hue/Saturation and click the colorize checkbox at the bottom. Enjoy!!

Gelli Art Rejects

September 18, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts

It is no secret that I adore my Gelli Art Printing Plate. I go through lots of paper, and sometimes I get prints that are not quite so stellar ;-). However, I very rarely throw them away, because often I use those Gelli Art Rejects. Also, when I teach classes with the Gelli Plate, I always tell the folks in class to look at the back of the print.  I use a brayer to roll paint onto the Gelli Art Plate, and after I place the paper on the plate to pull the print, I roll with my paint covered brayer to make sure the paper has full contact with the plate. Often I get a cool pattern on the backside of the print. I call these two-fers- two prints for the price of one. I will scan in the back side of the print, so I don’t have to waste it, if I am planning on using the front as well.

I had two Gelli Art Print “rejects” that I ended up using in my Photoshop play time this week, and I liked the results. I hope you do too!

Here is a background that was super busy, and difficult to use because it tended to distract…


Gelli Art Background in Photoshop
I haven’t used it yet, so I scanned it, opened it in Photoshop, and combined it with a drawing. Here is the end result:


Gelli Arts Print Girl


I like the texture it added to the drawing. It is almost a carved stone effect.

The next print was the back/wrong side of a Gelli Art print. I liked the markings left behind from the brayer, and so I saved that section of the back.  I had another drawing of mine printed on tissue paper (more on that in a future post), and I adhered that to the print. But, Yuck! I hated the way it looked…


Tissue over Gelli Arts Print

It was way too dark, no constrast etc. I decided to try to scan it and bring it into Photoshop to see if I could salvage it. By combining this print with a scan of the original drawing, some other drawings and photos, and a whole lot of tinkering with blend modes, I arrived at this picture:


Gelli Arts Print in Photoshop


So next time you are hesitant to throw away your “rejects” try to see what you can do to salvage them!

Photoshop Color and Pattern to our Glamour Girl

May 24, 2013 in Digital Related Posts, Photoshop Posts

Well now that we have the shape of the drawing looking a bit better, it is time to have some fun! The drawing is still in black and white, but I wanted some color. And texture. So I took one of the prints from one of my Gelli Art Printing Plate sessions and brought that into Photoshop as another layer. Since that layer at this point would be sitting on top of the drawing, in the stack of  layers, you can’t see the drawing now. However, we can fix that with something called “Blend Modes”.

If you look to the top right of your layer’s palette, you could change the Opacity of the texture layer and you would then be able to see through the top layer to the image of the drawing below. This can sometimes work depending on the look you are going for. It is the equivalent of using vellum, or tracing paper, or tissue paper on a collaged piece. If that top paper is translucent enough, you can see the layers underneath. However there is a better way.

If you look to the top left of the layer’s palette, you will see a pulldown, that by default is set to “Normal”. This is a list of blending modes, and they determine how that layer, that you have selected at the time, will interact with the layer(s) underneath. There a lots of folks who understand the mathematical calculations of how black, white and colors will interact, but I am not one of them (sorry, Dad!). I usually just scroll through the different choices to see what things look like in the different modes. As I have mentioned in another post, if I know I want to lighten something, I will usually use lighten or screen mode, and I will use darken or multiply for a darkening effect. However, there are lots of other modes including ones that reverse colors, and so you can get some surprising and cool effects as you wander through the list of blend mode choices. It is especially interesting when you have 2 layers that both have colors and patterns.

In this case, I used a blend mode of  Overlay. Actually, I used a my Gelli Art prints a couple of times, and some used other blend modes like lighten and darken, and some of these layers were masked to only interact with certain portions of the drawing. See more about this later.

I then decided that I wanted to black out some of the space behind the girl. A quick way to do this is to use the Ctrl key (command on a Mac), and click on the layer with the subject, in my case the girl. NOTE: I had no background around the girl’s head at this point so this trick will work: when you control click on a layer, it will select the non-transparent areas of your layer. In this case, it selected the girl’s head. Since I really wanted to select the background, I used Select->Inverse (shortcut is Ctrl-I) to change the selection to the opposite, which is the space surrounding the girl’s head.

Then, I used an adjustment layer of Solid Color, and chose black as the color. The Solid Color adjustment layer will create a new layer filled with the color black, but in this case, the girl, which is not selected, will be masked out. So, only the background is covered with black- the girl is left looking like she did before the adjustment. Remember that Adjustment layers are found at the bottom of the layers palette, and the icon looks like a half black/ half white circle.

When you choose an adjustment layer, a layer mask is automatically created for you in that adjustment layer. It will show up as a rectangular thumbnail, next to the thumbnail of the actual layer image, in the layers palette. Usually it is all white, allowing the adjustment to be seen/applied through to the layers below it. However, if you have a selection at the time, when you choose to create an adjustment layer, only the area that is selected at the time will be filled with white. The rest will be filled with black, and just like black paper, you can’t see through it, so the adjustment will not show in the non-selected portion.

Photoshop Glamour Girl Multiply

Photoshop Glamour Girl Fill With Black Multiply Blend Mode


You can also use layer masks directly on a “normal” layer (as opposed to an adjustment layer), in order to hide some of that layer. If you choose a layer in the layer’s palette, and select a portion of that layer, you can then choose the button to create a layer mask. The layer mask will show up as a rectangular thumbnail, next to the thumbnail of the actual layer image, in the layers palette. The “Create Layer Mask” button is down at the bottom of the layers palette, and it looks like a square with circle in the middle of it. Now when you click on the “Create Layer Mask” button, only the area that is selected at the time will be filled with white in the mask. The rest will be filled with black, and just like black paper, you can’t see through it. So the portion of the layer that was not selected, and has the mask filled with black, will not be visible. Unless you delete the layer mask, or paint with white over the black portions of the mask. Then those portions of the layer will be visible again. This is a nice way of “removing” a portion of an image in a layer, without actually deleting the pixels. So if you want some or all of that image back, you can either paint with white on the mask, and that will reveal the hidden portion or remove the mask entirely to show that entire layer again. Just make sure that you have clicked on the layer mask thumbnail in the layers pallete, if you want to paint on the mask.

I played with several copies of the Gelli Art print and sometimes I used layer masks to only show portions of that particular layer. I used different blending modes to lighten the texture over the girl’s face, and overlay or multiply in other areas.

Photoshop Glamour Girl lighten

Photoshop Glamour Girl With Gelli Arts Print as Background Lighten Blend Mode


Then I added color to her lips and eyes, just like I added black to the background, and just masked off everything in the image except for her lips and eyes respectively. I used some cool eyelash paint brushes  to paint on eyelashes.

Photoshop Glamour Girl with eyelash brushes

Photoshop Glamour Girl Eyelash Brushes


Finally I applied some more textures and colors using more of the darkening blending modes to darken the area surrounding the girl. And I added a photo that I had taken of some Holiday lights to give that sort of “Bokeh” effect. In order to get that shot,  I took the picture at night and first focused on a tissue held in front of the camera. Then I took the tissue away and snapped the picture and it blurred what it thought was the background, which was actually the lights.

More blending, and she was finished. For now ;-).

Photoshop Glamour Girl with bokeh lights

Photoshop Glamour Girl With Bokeh


I love playing with Photoshop with my drawings. I can get some cool effects by combining drawings with Gelli Art prints and photos. The sky is the limit!! Enjoy!

Photoshop Glamour Girl Makeover Puppet Warp

April 27, 2013 in Digital Related Posts, Photoshop Posts

This week is another installment in the progress on the Photoshop girl. I am going to intersperse the next few lessons with other stamping posts, since Mom (who is my most faithful reader ;-) ) doesn’t do Photoshop. But for this week, let’s discuss Puppet Warp.

I’ve talked about Puppet Warp in Photoshop before. I love it for tweaking small sections of my work that are off- usually the eyes, or nose, but sometimes I even use it for the shape of the face. Puppet Warp gives you a little bit better control than the Edit->Transform->Warp tool does. So you can warp small sections of the image while keeping the rest of it intact.

Note that this tool is only available in later versions of Photoshop. If you have earlier versions you won’t have this tool, but you could try the Liquify filter instead, as we discussed last week.

Note that with Puppet Warp, I always copy the image onto a new layer and make edits to that copied layer. Use control-J (command-j on a Mac) or right mouse button click on the layer in the layer’s panel and choose Copy Layer.

When you choose Puppet Warp, you will see your image with a “mesh” overlay- a pile of lines that describe the contours of your image. You can change how many lines you see, or how dense your mesh is, by using the control on the top for Density. The default is normal, but you can choose to use fewer or more points. For tweaking small areas like eyes, I generally change the Density setting to more points.

Photoshop Puppet Warp Mesh Large

PhotoShop Glamour Girl Puppet Warp Large Mesh


Photoshop Puppet Warp Mesh Small

Photoshop Glamour Girl Puppet Warp Mesh Small


Then I usually set points around the whole of my image to keep the outline or general shape intact. You will see this in action- if you don’t set points, once you start moving things parts of your image that you don’t want to change might start moving on you. If that happens, just un-do and go around the outline of your image and set points in the corners and in the middle of each edge.

In Puppet Warp, your cursor will look like a little thumbtack.  To set points just click on the image where you want to put it.  I set points around the perimeter of the image as I described earlier, and then I narrow in and set points around the perimeter of the area I want to move. Often I also set a few points  surrounding that perimeter of what I want to move, so the keep the immediate area outside of the move area intact as well.


Photoshop Puppet Warp Mesh Points

Photoshop Glamour Girl Puppet Warp Points

The next step is to click on the points that you set on the area that you wish to warp. When you click on a point you already set, you then can drag that point to start to warp that portion of the image. My suggestion is that you do a little at a time, so that you can see exactly what is moving and warping, and what may be getting out of whack. You can use ctrl-z (command-z on a mac) to undo one move, but if you move things to fast and realize that two steps ago you may have moved a section too much, then you will need to cancel and start over.

I use the Puppet Warp command to edit small areas of my image that need fine tuning, where the regular Warp command doesn’t work, or where I need a bit greater control than I can get with the Liquify brush. Give it a try and see what you can do with the Puppet Warp command!

It appears as if I blew away the sample of the girl after Puppet Warp, but here are two quick examples of before and after Puppet Warp:


Photoshop Before Puppet Warp

Before Puppet Warp


Photoshop After Puppet Warp

After Puppet Warp