A Few Tips to Help You Draw from a Bad Photo

Ideally, if you’re going to be drawing from a photo you should try to get a good photo with good lighting, etc. If that’s not an option you might be able to make some adjustments in Lightroom, or whatever editing program you like to use.

I zoomed in a little and I adjusted settings in Lightroom to make it a little easier to see the details. If you’re not sure what to adjust, start by just playing around and comparing to the original until you get the desired effect.

What I adjusted for this image: 

  • Increased Clarity (+33)
  • Increased White Clipping (+22)
  • Increased Sharpening (+22)
  • Decreased Black Clipping (-69)
  • Decreased Shadows (-24)
  • Decreased Highlights (-22)

I played around with Exposure, Saturation, and Contrast but those changes didn’t help any. It’s probably hard to see the differences, but the picture on the right has details showing that the picture on the left does not. These adjustments didn’t make a huge improvement, but it’s good enough to help me out.

I also had the 4×6 print to measure and double check things. I admit . . . I guess I got a tad bit dramatic about the difficulty of this drawing. Turned out not to be that hard once I finally put in a little effort.

I started with a page of thumbnail sketches to warm up and work out some quick mistakes. Then I started a larger HB pencil sketch . . . It’s not too bad . . . my proportions look pretty good and it actually resembles Dynamite. *sigh of relief*  The details in her feet and eyes are pretty much indistinguishable in the photo, so I still have a lot of work to do before I’m happy and ready to start the finished piece.

P1050965

I’m not sure what medium the finished piece will be done in. Maybe Prismacolor pencils . . . maybe something else. Dynamite actually died a couple of years ago and her owner has been missing her a lot lately so I was thinking of giving it an ethereal quality to indicate that she isn’t with us anymore but that she’s loved and missed. I still have some time to decide. Better get to work.

 

 

 

Waiting for That Decisive Moment

Photography is an art, and you can’t rush the process – even with the ready-in-an-instant digital camera. I love the moments when everything comes together quickly and easily for a perfect storm of artistic goodness.

Lately though, my projects require a lot of sitting . . . and waiting . . . and repeating the whole process to get the perfect picture. Improving my art and getting precisely what I want is a challenge, but totally worth it – when the decisive moment shows up.

Henri Cartier-Bresson was known for this concept of the “decisive moment” – that perfect moment when everything comes together to create a picture with balance and clarity. Trust me, patience and determination are definitely required.

Place de l'Europe, Paris, 1932 Copyright Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum

Place de l’Europe, Paris, 1932 Copyright Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum

Cartier-Bresson sat . . . and waited . . . until he spotted it – the decisive moment. He captured it immediately after the man reached the other side of the ladder.

I like that he took the picture before the man’s foot touched the ground. If the man was trying to avoid splashing in the water, it doesn’t look like he will be successful and land on dry ground.

The reflections in the water, of the man and the scene in the background, give the composition balance and unity. As you study the photograph, you can see how everything comes together to create a visually aesthetic moment in time: the decisive moment. Cartier-Bresson shows us that the photographer’s eye and mind intuitively recognize that moment when it arrives.

You can read more in his book – a great book to have in your home library.

I was recently reminded of Cartier-Bresson’s work when I heard my dog’s loud, screechy bark. I know that sound. She had found the scent of a rabbit. (I don’t want her to get hurt, but I know she needs to hunt.) Squeamishly, I let her go after it. Wildly and happily, she ran through the woods so fast that she was almost flying. How could I say no to that?

Meet Sunny. My smart, wild, and energetic Jackabee.

Sunny, the best doggy in the whole wide world!

Sunny, the best doggy in the whole wide world!
Copyright: Morgana Horn 2012

She looks pretty calm when she’s chewing out her frustration on a bone. BUT, don’t let that sweet face fool you!

Th-th-th-that’s right folks, it’s Wabbit season and my Jackabee and me are hunting wabbits.

Copyright: 2001 Warner Bros, Inc.

‘Toon in next time.