They say you learn something new every day.

I spent yesterday in front of the drawing board again, as I did the other day.

Now, I’ve tried to learn from my mistakes, which I’d love to put as a day’s lesson, but really is the whole point of this blog. I’m not aiming not to make mistakes, I’m aiming to make each mistake only once, and document it, so that next time I’ll make a different mistake.

I started a new picture today. Two in fact. The problem with the first one, really was with the scanning. I drew it in blue, because I had a nice blue pen, but the blue didn’t scan very well.

Later, I found a surprisingly nice black pen, which really made a big difference. We all know a bad workman blames his tools, but I suspect the corollary to this is that a good workman compliments his tools. (And yes, there is a pun there).


This is the picture, penciled. I’ve done some rough penciling her, and then gone over with a stronger line. Somewhat ironically, I think this is my favourite of all them. One of the interesting things is that I made a few mistakes while inking, which I have correct on the pencil one. In particular, the right side of my cheek, my collar and my hood.

Picture inked

Crucially, what I’ve improved here is the nose and eye. At this sort of 45º angle, the nose is a line that continues into the eyebrow. I’ve improved the far side eye as well, I think a little. The ear is better as well; it looks like it has thickness at the top, which it didn’t before. And it’s much simpler as well, which is nice.

My Dad gave me an idea about the glasses as well – leaving a gap between the side of my face and glasses, to show that the glasses were in front of  the face.


I’ve noticed that the scanner is very harsh. I think it’s partly the pen I’m using, and also scanning rather than photographing. On the one hand, scanning is much easier, and I don’t have to do anywhere near as much “cleaning” of the picture in Photoshop, but, it seems to leave holes in the lines.

picture scanned

I actually learnt two important Photoshop colouring tips today. Two for the price of one, eh! Firstly, the secret is to colour with the brush, not with the fill and fade tools, as I thought.

Photoshop Multiply

The thing to do is duplicate the later, and then, on the second layer, select “Multiply”. Can’t say I fully understand this, but it makes the white sections transparent. With this switched on, you are able to paint over the picture, and the black line remains It’s a bit like a layer mask.

Over lines

I still use the magic wand tool, but this time to select all the white outside the main picture to clean up where I’ve painted outside the lines. I was surprised by how well it worked actually.

Picture coloured

The second, and perhaps more important tip, connected to this, is that once you “multiply” the layers, it’s easy to add shadows on. I like the ones on my ear and under my hair line. I think it really brings the picture to life, and I haven’t even taken that much care with the shadows. I suspect someone who knows more about shadows will happily point out I haven’t done them right, but it’s a big step from where I was yesterday.


I think I’m quite happy with this picture. I like the colouring, and the thickness of the line is correct. Compared to the two previous ones, it’s definitely an improvement, anyway.

The interesting thing is, this isn’t because I’m a good artist in anyway, but it’s because I stopped and thought about what I was doing (wrote this blog) and then, when I came back, I attempted to not make the same mistakes again.


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