Fun with a Cintiq

Fellow IMCer McLean Kendree introduced me to this exercise. You simply take a screen snap of a scene from a DVD, set it to one side, make a blank canvas that's the same size and then start sketching. If you watch the sequence that your image is from a few times before you begin sketching you'll have a sense of the mood, environment, and character(s) that you just won't get when working from a photo alone.
Since I struggle with color, this exercise helps me to learn to see the colors more correctly. I first guess at what they are, then when I finish a section I use the eyedropper tool to sample the colors from the screen snap and check them against my sketch. Wow, were my shadow areas way off! But now I know what I really need to work on. McLean can finish one of these in about 15 minutes, but it's taking me closer to two hours! With time I hope to catch up to him, and finally get all of those shadow areas right the first time around!

Oh, and another tip: try working in three layers when you start one of these (sky, background, foreground). I had to move Orlando to the Southwest halfway through, and if I haden't used layers to begin with that would have really slowed me down.


tlc illustration 18 September, 2009 22:48  

Interesting exercise - what a great idea. Me being a total noob to this digital illustrative stuff - can you tell me how to do the screen snap step?

JenniferGOliver 18 September, 2009 22:57  

I use Ambrosia software's Snapz Pro X (I'm on a Mac), but many newer PCs have a "grab" feature that allows you to make a copy of anything that's on your desktop, including a DVD image. McLean would know about that; I think he uses a PC.

tlc illustration 19 September, 2009 00:00  

I use a PC - will see what I have. Do you take a snap of a moving image, or do you pause it? (I don't remember who McLean was... Do we have a picture of him or his piece?)

JenniferGOliver 19 September, 2009 00:05  

Here's a link to McLean's blog:

I just pause the DVD and take the snap. I think that McLean draws from the paused DVD without taking a snap, which could work too!

David Nethery 19 September, 2009 23:28  

JING is a free screen capture software (there's a "Pro" version too, which costs a bit , but the free version is fine for quick screen caps ...)

Rebecca 25 September, 2009 21:44  

love that exercise!
totally good way to beef up skills without getting too tight-really like what you did with it too Jenn!
Sweet figure drawing below as well!

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