It was a joy (and probably therapeutic) to create some new character art for my Vree Erickson books. Below are the characters in the Green Crystal stories and the Luminary Magic ones.
The art is mostly graphite drawings that I ran through some computer programs to enhance the images. I did this because the gray-scale scans from my scanner often ended up dark and “muddy” looking. Brightening them via the scanner destroyed a lot of high-value detail, so I experimented with some art/photo enhancement programs until my copies passed muster and weren’t storage hogs.
First up is Vree.
Next is her friend Nick from the Green Crystal series of books.
If you follow this blog, Lenny needs no introduction.
His twin sister Gaylene is Vree’s best friend. I think Devil’s Advocate is the best 2-word description of her.
Gwynessa is a Fae who becomes trapped in a green crystal pendant in the Green Crystal series of books.
Last but not least is Vree’s cousin Whitney. She plays a major role in the Luminary Magic series of books.
I wrote in a recent post about my interest in manipulating my photographs to make them look like paintings. The sample I included was a skyscape. I like skies. And water.
Skies would not be skies without clouds. I could look at clouds all day.
The photo above is another skyscape. It is a combination—a collage—of photographs and paintings. I used oil paint for the sun and some of the clouds and watercolor for parts of the sky. It looks almost surreal.
A lot of effort went into making this picture—more time and effort than I usually contribute to this style of art.
But it was fun. And for me, that’s what art is all about.
Photo manipulation has a long history, beginning not long after the creation of the first photograph (1825) by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. Anyone interested can read the history at Wikipedia.
I recently became interested in manipulating some of my photographs to make them look like paintings. I tried various methods of applying paints and inks to the photos and came up with some interesting if not bizarre results. Learning to control those results has become a skill with a bit of good luck thrown in.
Other methods—to name a few—are cutting and pasting different photos into “coherent” collages, scanning and printing photos to paper, and using computer programs like Adobe Photoshop to manipulate the photo images. These three methods are not new either. I made photo collages 50 years ago in high school, scanned and printed photos at college, and played with Photoshop in the 1990s. Using Photoshop is a major task to learn and one I never had time for or took seriously.
Manipulating photographs has a stigma of deception to it because it fools the viewer into believing something that is not true. This issue arises because too many of us believe the camera does not lie. Any photographer can tell you that our camera lenses distort reality every time we snap a photo.
But I am not here to argue the science of photography or the ethical implications of photo manipulation.
For me, manipulating a photograph is another artistic form of expression. I did it with 35mm film when I froze it and then thawed it before loading it in my camera. Freezing cracked the emulsion on the film and made interesting web-like lines on the photos when developed. Adding inks and dyes often enhanced the crackled images.
I also experimented with double exposure, negative scratching, shooting with special lenses, and darkroom manipulation involving dodging, burning, and masking.
Lately, manipulating images has been fun to do again. And having fun is the key to being an artist who constantly produces art. The more I work with manipulation, the more abstract my art is. I understand better how colors, shapes, and designs attracted abstract artists.
Whichever side of the fence you are on, photo manipulation is an interesting visual tool—it makes a picture well worth a thousand words or more—and requires a lot of creativity, precision, and skill.