My friend Rachel recently set a new personal record for weightlifting – and her husband asked me to commemorate it by Warhol-ing up this photo of her from the competition:
I looked into some tutorials online, but I wasn’t really impressed by any of them. Mainly, the problem was that they were trying to replicate the iconic Marilyn Monroe print with the 2×2 grid of garishly colored portraits. This picture is asking to be Elvis. Beyond that, a lot of the tutorial images just didn’t look that great. They seemed to lack subtlety.
Another obstacle I had to face is that my friend is wearing a black t-shirt and leggings with a high contrast pattern. After isolating the image, and adding some contrast filters, I made masked layers to specifically lighten the t-shirt and the leggings. I did one for her hair as well. To get the rough lithograph look, I added a Vintage Halftone texture from Creative Market. I selected the colors from the Warhol original and painted them on a multiply layer. This came out darker and more muted than the original, so I added a second, low-opacity version of the colors in Normal mode. In retrospect, adjusting the levels on the existing paint layer would have made more sense, but I was sort of making things up as I went.
Because my levels adjustment had to contend with Rachel’s contrast clothes, the shadows didn’t really pop as much as I’d have liked. I added another layer of Halftone texture and masked it out, painting the shadows back in.
All in all, I’m very happy with how it turned out:
Have you checked out the PataNoir app yet? More importantly, have you watched the accompanying music video? My very good friend William Steffey wrote the song and he and I made the video together. As of this posting, 1,500 people have watched it. No great shakes by internet standards, but it makes me happy to know so many people are seeing and enjoying my work.
I’m especially proud of this piece because of the shoestring budget we made it on. We splurged on a green screen and some stock video and shot the whole thing in our apartment.
Yeah, we have a lot of vintage props lying around.
There’s not a lot of animation in the video. I made some scene transitions with bursts of letters as a nod to the text heavy nature of the PataNoir app.
My main contribution to the video was keying the green screen out of the footage. Here’s a little making-of video for one of the shots. (That’s Tim Koelling, of Boolean Knife, on the saxophone.)
At the end of this week, the great yarn dyeing experiment comes to an end. After an exhausting four and a half months, I’m leaving Lorna’s Laces. Trying to maintain a freelance career on nights and weekends became too much for me.
I learned an important lesson about myself dyeing yarn. Even though I was completely ill-suited to the work, I still did a good job. I need to remember this and not sell myself short going forward.
And as for my future plans? Building my skills and looking for more work doing the things I’m really good at!
I really should be sketching every day and I have not been. Today, though, I was inspired to draw my friend Christina so that I could make a cute post about her. I tried not to over think it and just draw. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It’s not a perfect likeness, but – to me at least – it’s clearly the person it’s meant to be.
I brought it into Photoshop and traced it to a line drawing. That part was harder than I thought it would be. I definitely need more practice drawing with my Wacom tablet. The traced drawing lost a bit of the energy of the original, but I was able to get something I could work with.
I spent the long Labor Day weekend going through boxes of paperwork – mostly stuff from my time at the Illinois Institute of Art. Most of what’s in there has gone straight to the recycling bin. In a lot of cases, I’ve captured some of the notes on my phone before tossing the page – either because there was something useful or something completely incomprehensible.
I’m learning a few things about myself from going through these notes. First of all, I’m a really sloppy note taker! I don’t make a lot of distinction between one-time scratch pad calculations, important observations, and things to follow up on later. I guess I assume that everything will make sense later, but really I’m just making a lot of work for myself.
The more important thing I’m learning is that I have a tendency to take on overly ambitious projects. I often feel like I left school with not a lot to show for myself and now I see that this is why. Instead of taking two or three ideas to 100%, I have a dozen things ranging from 50 to 80% done.
As this blog continues, I plan to revisit these projects and look at what worked and what didn’t and what I can do better in the future.