Brian Gallagher – Beautiful sky and buildings

Every so often I return to Brian Gallagher’s illustration blog, and I’m always captivated by his handling of buildings. I like how the rendering is actually fairly simple, but they really convey a lot of feeling to me. They are nicely designed and the values are great. I thought this scene was especially nice. The sky has a lot of interesting movement:

CNC engraving bits as scratch tools

I think it’s the nature of scratchboard artists to constantly look for new tools, even if their current set of tools works perfectly well. For example, I have done the majority of my work with #16 and #11 Xacto blades, and they have served me very well. But, tiny steel points don’t hold up forever, and eventually I have to reach for a new blade. Durability is probably the first reason a scratchboard artist would seek for a new tool that does essentially the same thing as an Xacto blade.

Several years ago a friend of mine did me a favor and made me some scratch blades out of discarded cobalt deburring blades. To try them out he let me borrow me a pin vise for a few days and I thought they were great. Not long after that came the flurry of activity in my life that involved getting married and moving across the country. The little steel blades were the last thing on my mind at the time, and lay forgotten in a storage box until last summer. When I finally looked at the bits again, I realized I didn’t need a pin vise. I could drill a 1/8″ hole in a section of dowel and insert one of the bits. They are great tools. I included a photo in a post back in August.

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Of course, I wondered if might want to try grinding some of my own, and I couldn’t remember what they were and what material they were made of (later found out they were cobalt deburring blades). I thought they might be milling bits, but my searches turned up some bits that didn’t look like what I had. They actually looked much better. They were carbide steel engraving bits for CNC machines.

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They look a lot like some of the fancy blades I’ve seen other scratchers use. They fit just right into the 1/8″ holes in my dowels. So, with even more excellent tools, I guess it’s time to dust off some of my works in progress and put these tools to use.

A photo tutorial on perspective – adding elements to a composition

This isn’t a scratchboard post, and it’s been way too long since I posted something about scratchboard. But, I thought this might be useful to someone.

I’ve been talking to my niece recently about perspective she is learning in school. I wanted to help her understand the concepts better if I could. Later, my friend Ginger Gehres posted this photo on Facebook. I saw how the cars all lined up neatly at their tops, and it gave me an idea. Ginger gave me permission to use it for a tutorial on perspective.

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The purpose of this tutorial is to show how objects can be easily added to the composition using knowledge given by the horizon line. It isn’t a comprehensive tutorial, but the information is useful. It shows what can be done even without drawing a lot of vanishing points and lines. I’m using Photoshop to add, clone, and resize objects, but it could be done old school with a photocopier and tracing paper.

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