Sunday, October 18, 2009

Windows Project: "Stingers and Nettles" (wip 1)

Well, as the battle of the windows continues, my battle plan has changed a bit. Rather than working my windows to line them up to create a single surreal scene, I've opted to juxtapose things within each window instead, usually two subjects but one window might have three.

I've also settled on working with lazertran transfer papers, which work pretty well for my purposes... But that's the final step. Let me walk you through the process I've been using so far. It's been a learn-as-I-go ordeal, and there have certainly been mistakes and I've started over once already.

First off I pick which window I want to use for it, measure the size of the panes, and do a digital mock-up of the window's pane
frames... For this window I chose to use one that is 28" tall and 26.5" wide including the outside frame, with panes approximately 7.25" wide and 11.5" tall. The one to the left (it's upside down in the photo). It has a handle lever on top (the one you use to push half of a window up or pull it closed again).

Then I come up with a digital sketch plan. I spend a lot of time looking at photos of potential subjects by using the google images search, flickr, and deviantart, as well as reading up on things at wikipedia and specialty sites. My digital sketches are rough and messy and careless. Getting hung up on these is pointless, as they're only a jumping off point, so why bother?

Next is drawing the lineart for the traditional part of the drawing onto tracing paper. I cut the tracing paper to the size of the window panes and then use graphite transfer to rub my sketch layout's key lines onto the tracing paper for a guide. Then I use a .005 micron pen to draw over those guides and add details. This is my lineart.

In this case, I only drew out the jelly, which occupies 4 of the window panes, because I wanted to work with the other element (the wasps) digitally.

To double-check that things are the way I want, I repeatedly place the drawn tracing paper against the window panes throughout this entire process, right through to the end!

(Beware of audio - feel free to mute! I like to sing to myself and I'm not shy, tend to cuss a bit, and am occasionally chatting with friends who were watching the live broadcast. Also, there are a couple parts where I was rearranging my workspace; feel free to skip around.)

After I've got my lineart done, I start on color. For the jelly (a Pacific sea nettle, by the way), I used nupastel (aka chalk/dry pastel), carbothello pastel pencils (also chalk/dry pastel), and prismacolor colored pencils. Also important to this process are blending stumps and a variety of erasers. Kneaded, artgum, and stick erasers were all invaluable. It is fortunately quite easy to erase chalk pastel and prismacolor off of tracing paper as long as it hasn't been blended into the paper too well. I work one "pane" at a time and then line them up to make sure they're looking alright. I also often switch from having white paper to having black paper behind the tracing paper in order to better see where my color is going.

It's also important to keep track of what colors I used for what parts, as I am partially colorblind. My form of colorblindness is called tritanomalous, because I cannot distinguish yellows very well at all (sometimes they are simply WHITE to me) and struggle somewhat with purples, oranges, and some blues, but can see green just fine for the most part. Anyway...this is why I keep my colors organized and labeled and sometimes write down notes on what colors I used where.

Once I've finished the traditional drawing part of the process, I first put the tracing paper in the panes again just to check that it's looking okay in terms of composition...

Now I can scan the tracing paper into Photoshop at about 300 dpi. I prefer to do this from a Mac computer, as color fidelity is better, but will settle for using my little Windows laptop when I must. When I've scanned things in, I position the "panes" into a digital mock-up of the window frame.

Then it's time for the digital drawing part! I first sketch rough ideas of where I want the wasps to be... In this case, they're supposed to be coming out of the jelly's bell and flying toward the upper right corner of the window.

In Photoshop, with a small pixel black brush, I drew out lineart for a few wasps and then would reposition, rotate, or slightly redraw them as needed as I placed them on the window mock-up. I do a mock-up of the colors I want to use on the yellow jackets/wasps because, like I said, my colorblindness means I need to keep track of my color use at all times. I am very familiar with the position of colors on the digital color palette so that I can estimate which colors are in which places and use this to help me pick colors as I go.

I use soft airbrushes with low opacity and flow to "paint" the yellow jackets on layers beneath their lineart. The first yellow jacket was the slowest; after that the process sped up... Once I finish all these, the next step in the process is painting in shadows to assist the wasps integration with the jelly and its tentacles and oral arms and bell/body.

Once all the drawing is done, the final step is transferring my images to the glass of the windows. Another post regarding this part of the process will come later!


Emma said...

Tracing-paper stained glass! What a nifty idea. I may have to borrow it from you in the future. :D

Nick said...

A very neat idea, indeed!

And what a process to get it all on the window! That’ll look beautiful, I’m sure!

I like keeping up with the steps. Can’t wait for the next one and a finished product in the end!

And now I have another blog to keep up with!

Pants said...

I still think you need to keep those and put them in a house when you're done!

Phoenix Element said...

I've already told you that I love the idea, and I'm enjoying watching it all come together! The jelly is just gorgeous. Keep us posted with more wips, and good luck as you pull the final pieces together! I can't wait to see the finished piece!

Tam said...

Very lovely so far and still love to watch you work. As like everyone can't wait for the next progress report.

Keep up the great work!

Jennifer said...

Hey Kate, This is Jennifer, I really need you to contact me about those windows and I don't know how to get a hold of you!

P.S. I love what you have doe\ne with these windows!!!

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blankenship said...

So this morning I was day dreaming out my window when my eyes focused on the bed to a box of image-to-wood transfers that I'd done months ago. Sticking out of the box was a piece of glass- and I thought "I need to figure out how to transfer images to glass!"
I have a window frame that I need to do something creative with.

Here I was, thinking I had be the ONLY PERSON EVER to come up with the idea of transferring images to glass.
And then I google it and see it is possible with Lazertran, and others have mastered the skill.

Anyways. I particularly like your style. Most of the work I've seen has been random cut outs people have printed from the web, and fixed upon things. Nothing original.

I want to see more of your work- recent stuff maybe? Do you have a facebook or instagram?
I do a lot of photography/digital art related stuff and I'd like to really get inspired.
And you have inspired me!

Great job- and I hope you see this comment, being that this post is a few years old.