Copying Masters, Getting Acquainted with a Tablet, and Surgery Games.

The spring semester has started (although nothing about all the snow in Chicago seems “spring” to me) and the projects are under way.  In Illustration Techniques, we’ve started learning the “pain”staking art of line drawing – both with traditional pen and ink, and in the computer, thanks to programs like Illustrator, Photoshop, and Painter.  To set the mood, we are practicing copying the works of some of the great Pen-And-Inkers.

This is my in-progress copy of a pen and ink illustration by Melloni in Photoshop.  And if you have a keen eye, you may have noticed a major change in the resolution of my screen capture: it’s huge!  Christmastime was good to me, and I splurged on a new laptop, switching from Mac to Windows (and shocking creative/artistic minds everywhere).

The beauty of this exercise is finally getting close to my Bamboo tablet, and some of the very cool features.  After a major driver update from the Wacom site, I discovered this gem:

OP 5 is a Wacom Tablet App that uses the tablet to play doctor.  Make incisions, replace hearts, mend bones, remove clots by drawing with your pen!  Needless to say, its a great tool to (ahem) refine your pen/tablet dexterity.  The Bamboo Dock (that came with the driver installation) has a ton of other fun time-wasters to play too.  Since this was medical themed, I couldn’t pass this up!

Teaser: My Website!

After a very filling Thanksgiving and break, the last week and a half of classes are in full swing.  I’ll be posting a lot of upcoming projects, but today I wanted to share the in-progress status of my personal portfolio website.

This is the website pulled up in Adobe Dreamweaver.  This program allows me to simultaneously add HTML and CSS and preview the results side-by-side.  HTML and CSS are languages interpreted by the computer to display particular content and layout.  Many popular social networking sites, such as MySpace, allow users to use HTML and CSS to customize layouts and change the weight, color, etc, of text.  Wordpress lets users format their blog posts with HTML also:

Example:   <strong>weight</strong>    <span style=”color: #993300;”>color</span>

The site will be up and running next Monday!

Illustrator Training

Learning the wondrous ways of Adobe Illustrator today with a basic assignment from the Instructional Design class.  Just getting a feel for using the basic functions of Illustrator by copying the labels from a drawing by our teacher (a working medical illustrator/graphic designer Denise Wurl) onto a blank one.

Screen shot of Adobe Illustrator on my desktop.

I’m so glad this class is starting with the very very basics, since I have little (if any) expertise on this stuff.  We are also doing a lot of things with graphic design: looking at layout, typefaces, etc.   I only know two things about graphic design: 1) Helvetica is EVERYWHERE and 2) Comic Sans is the bane of every designer’s existence, so it’s good to get a fresh start.

The image I’m labeling (up there) is of the brachial plexus – a web of nerves starting at the spinal cord at the base of the neck that descend to the arm, forearm, and hand.  The classes are (thankfully!) pretty well in sync with each other: we are learning/dissecting brachial plexus and upper extremities in Anatomy now and drawing the scapula/rotator cuff muscles for Anatomical Visualization.