I would like to welcome Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Graphics.
She is sharing how she creates her graphics!
Creating Clip Art From Scratch
I am quite often asked about the process of making clip art. Although it is a lot of work, for me there's nothing quite as fun and rewarding as seeing a little drawing I've made pop up in another teacher's fantastic educational product. It must be similar to how musicians feel when they hear their song on the radio for the first time!
I began making clip art for my own classroom activities. As a teacher who makes my own lessons, it was so frustrating to be unable to find images that helped convey the idea I was trying to put across to students. Since my background was in visual arts before I began teaching, I naturally began to just use my own drawings. Back in the old days before the internet, that meant drawing pictures right on the page and then photocopying! Now the process is so much more professional looking and so much more gratifying.
Since this is a clip art blog, I thought I'd share with you the basic process I use for creating my clip art for my own products, and for requests from other teachers.
I start with a basic sketch. It is very rough and messy since I don't want to spend too much time on details. I know very well I'll be obsessed with fine details later! Sketching can be done on an ipad using a drawing app (such as Brushes, Art Studio or ProCreate), or it can be done the old fashioned way in my sketchbook before scanning it. Either way it has to be exported to my computer or scanned. In this example, however, I started sketching right into photoshop using a wacom tablet.
I create a document that is 8.5x11 inches and set the dpi at 300. This gives me a large blank document that can be enlarged without losing resolution once the image is drawn. Next, I start my sketch, or drag my sketch into the page if it's being imported. Either way the sketch remains a separate layer and is only there for reference. In the example below, I was using an owl to represent the different holidays in a school year.
I choose just one image to work on at a time, since whoever purchases this set will want to use just one image at a time in their product. Essentially I am tracing over my sketch with clean black lines.
Because my drawings are quite stylized, I go over the lines many times to smooth them out. When I zoom in I can see that lines seeming fine are actually quite jagged! I spend a lot of time going over them to smooth them out. Although it might not be noticeable in a worksheet, if someone purchases my clip art and wants to enlarge it for a bulletin board decoration, those messy lines won't look good if I don't fix them. This takes a very long time for a perfectionist!
Below you can see the enlargement before and after I've cleaned it up. If I am looking for something that is completely clean, then I can use a different tool in photoshop, or even a different program such as Illustrator. However, my style looks clean, but still hand-drawn. That is all personal preference.
Once I am happy with the drawing, I delete the sketch layer and compress all layers together. With the magic wand tool, I highlight the background and delete it.
I save the file as a png, and it's ready to use as a black and white image. Now that the background is gone, there will be no white box around the image when it's used in a document.
To add color, I use either the paintbrush tool or the paint bucket tool. I usually spend a lot of time choosing colors until I have it the way I like it. When I'm satisfied, I save it with the name indicating that it's the color version.
In the case of the Holiday Owls, I used the same original image repeatedly for consistency, but changed the outer details as needed for each holiday. Once they were all completed, I compressed them together in a zip file for uploading to TPT.
This cover shows all of the owls; the cover page was made by dragging all the images into Powerpoint and adding text.
If you'd like to know more about how I create clip art, you can contact me over at Whimsy Workshop, where I talk about clip art and other daily happenings in my class and my life. You can also find me on Facebook and at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I look forward to hearing from you!
I'd also like to say a big thank you to Tammy for inviting me as a guest on her fantastic blog!