Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Captain Cracker and Digital Babysteps

I once had a painting teacher who said, if you're going to be out of style you might as well be way out of style. So, I'm applying his idea to the season. Might as well be way out of season. This piece is a finish from a sketch that I did last December. I'm either really early for Christmas or really late, but here it is. The caption for this one would be "Captain Cracker commands you to have a Happy Holiday!" And maybe "Go nuts!" It came about when I took a close look at one of our nutcrackers and discovered that he was looking pretty serious! (A polite way of saying PO'd.) If this ever becomes a card, maybe it would appeal to those Christmas shoppers who are feeling a bit like he does. Well......... Maybe.

My latest digital baby step was a big one, for me! I learned that if you hover your mouse over each of the tools in the toolbar, you'll see a letter for that tool. Simple keyboard commands for tools! Wow! What a difference! I draw on a Wacom Tablet, so while I'm drawing with my right hand, I can just press the letter of the tool that I want with my left hand! No need to press 'command' or 'option' or anything else! Just the letter. So when I want to use the eyedropper, I press 'i.' The brush tool is 'b.' And so on. This is a huge time saver. I've only shown a small portion of the toolbar above. I imagine that you will each have your favorites. Some of mine are the brush (b) the eraser (e) the eyedropper (i) the zoom (z) and the blur tool (r). I should also say, I'm still in CS3 - so far it's doing everything I want. I know you can also customize the letters for the tools. That doesn't seem necessary to me now. But, who knows... good to keep an open mind and keep learning! Go nuts!


Rob Colvin said...

I use the same tools, except the blur tool. I haven't experimented with that one yet. I love the cloning tool, it comes in handy sometimes. I'm also still in CS3. I haven't felt a need to upgrade, maybe someday. My daughter had to be the one to inform me about the keyboard shortcuts, she was frustrated watching me click everything. Yeah, It was a huge timesaver. Looks like you're having fun. Keep it up.

k.h.whitaker said...

They are great time savers, when I can remember to use them, LOL. I go back and forth between a mac and a pc and I get out of the habit, but it really does make things faster. Love the nutcracker :)

Marion Eldridge said...

Thanks very much Rob and Karen!

I can imagine that switching between a mac and a pc would make it harder to remember to use the keyboard, Karen! I forget myself sometimes too and I don't have that extra layer of complication.

I really appreciate what you said, Rob. I've been networking with a lot of illustrators over the years and it seemed to me that there were a number of us that had come late to learning to work digitally. So, I hoped that as I learn these small things that seem earth shaking to me, that they might be helpful to other late digital bloomers.

I try not to use the blur tool very much because I think if it's overdone it can make for a very slick look. But I do like to try and soften some edges and do a little blending with it. Hopefully not too much.

Thanks again to you both for the encouraging words! Very much appreciated!

Marilee Harrald-Pilz said...

Thanks for posting these digital baby steps. You've really come along with your technique! I'm a late-bloomer, but still learning!

Marion Eldridge said...

Oh, you're very welcome, Marilee! I'm so glad to know that what I'm learning might be of help to you! And thanks for the kind words!