Updated: Jan 17
As I mentioned in my previous post, today I want to talk about how to rescue a not-so-perfect-piece of artwork using Photoshop. That can then be used on social media like Instagram or showcased on your website. This also works really well for print media, such as greeting cards, calendars and art prints. I recently had some Christmas cards printed where the graphic designer did some stretching and adding to the edges in order to fit their greeting card template. I was so impressed. I must learn how she did it. In the meantime this is what I did for this particular painting.
I used to think I had to chuck everything I didn't like. Sometimes I'd be so intimidated with what I was working on I wouldn't even finish it because I felt I'd failed right at the beginning. Not anymore, when you can so easily correct little imperfections on the computer. Surprisingly, the freedom of knowing I can always fix it enables me to relax, loosen up and keep moving through my painting. Resulting in implementing only minor adjustments in the end. For me it usually has to do with size or composition
Here is a little practice piece I painted last year while experimenting with one of my first attempts working with gouache paint. As you can see I wasn't thinking about composition at all as I grabbed a nearby piece of Kraft paper I had lying around. Card stock was not the best choice. I tried to tape the edges the way I'd seen artists on YouTube do, but I've discovered I'm not crazy about the look.
Though slightly disappointed with my finished composition, I did like the paint. I liked what I had done. I loved the colours on the creamer, but it was all too cramped. I suppose I could have tried to repaint it, but didn't think I could reproduce the loose quality of the strokes I'd been trying so hard to accomplish. I left it for quite awhile and chalked it up to a lesson learned. Though I was really annoyed that I'd botched it so badly.
While compiling the work I wanted to show on my website, I couldn't stop looking at this one. There was something special about it for me. I suddenly realized I could fix it in Photoshop.Yay! Not sure I can remember the whole process, but I can give you an idea of what I did. And there are other ways of doing this, but here's what I know. First I brightened it up with the Levels adjustment tool, then added more of the teal and aqua colour I love so much, in the Vibrance section.
Next I cropped out the Kraft paper (which also helped my eye with the colour a lot). Then I copied my image onto a larger canvas in PS, leaving a white border around the entire illustration. And not having a lot to work with since there was hardly any paint at the top of the painting, I copied and pasted a sliver of paint from the upper portion of the painting twice, as this photo shows. You can see the repeated bands of paint layered across the top section of the painting.
Then I did what I described in my last post, using the healing brush tool to blend hard lines and move paint around. I repeated the process vertically and to the right of the painting as well. This gave my subject a little more room to breathe, pushing it off centre, also adding extra light to one side as the finished photo below suggests.
Lastly, I cropped it a tiny bit more, removed my signature, then repositioned it further to the right. Now I was happy enough to show this work as part of my portfolio. My original paintings are all scanned at 600 dpi which provides plenty of detail for printing purposes. The digital alterations keep all of the fine points of the original work intact, ensuring a perfect quality art print if I want. I'm very fond of this little painting and so glad I was able to save it.
Maybe next time I'll talk about the Christmas card I made this year and how the graphic designer at the print shop fixed my awkward illustration dimensions. Love that woman, she's amazing!
See you next time,