June 19, 2020

Airbrushing again - 2pac

After not having touched the airbrush gun for a long time, I picked it up again and started to spray a freehand airbrush portrait of 2pac. Used the Iwata HP-BH and Custom Micron SB, Inspire H2O paint on canvas. Below are the various stages - at this point (June 19 2020) it still is a work in progress. Oldest stage at the bottom, newest on top. Note: the difference in the hue and subtle shadows in the canvas' grooves structure is the result of the fact that some pictures were shot during the day while others were taken at night in artificial lighting.

Colour overlay 3D experiment on computer
to see the effect that I'll perhaps airbrush

May 21, 2020

Vector self portrait

This is a work in progress (as per May 21 2020), created in Affinity Designer from a photo shot at X-mas eve in 2014. In the meanwhile I've grown too old and ugly to have (versions of) my mug published haha! It explains the choice for this old image that is more friendly to your eyes. The long hair is the biological antenna field on top of my skull that allows me to pick up impulses from elsewhere and elsewhen. It also reduces hairdresser costs and distinguishes my appearance from the dull and boring standard look that baffles individuality, making people as predictable as f××k (pardon my French).

This work does not contain a single pixel; it consists of 100% vectors. There is virtually nothing that can't be done in this vector drawing program that bitmap editors are capable of, with the distinction that the images created with it can be re-scaled to any size without loss of quality. It is why I draw realistic portraits exclusively in vectors. Still experimenting with different techniques to create a realistic vector portrait after some four years of doodling in Affinity Designer. The functions offered by this program to draw such a work are many. It suits portrait artists like me magnificently. This time around the challenge I set myself, was to get the maximum result with as little objects as possible. I may fail miserably, but would it kill me? Nope, I guess it won't. 

I work on this portrait intermittently because I spend time living as well. The oldest stage at the bottom, the newest on top. At the very bottom is a vector outline view of the eleventh stage. Click on one of the images to see them in Google's Lightbox. In the Lightbox the mouse scroll wheel can be used to flick through the images quickly. This is possible on a desktop PC and probably also on a Mac. Unfortunately Google in its infinite wisdom (and its desire to make huge profits) recently decided to allow only small images in the Lightbox. So, here's a properly sized version of it on the server of my website. Bear in mind that it's not yet finished, I still need to do some more work on the portrait. Stay tuned.

Stage 13 May 24 2020 - 23:15 hrs

Stage 13 May 24 2020 - 23:15 hrs 

Stage 11 May 22 2020 - 19:46 hrs

Stage 11 May 22 2020 - 19:46 hrs 

Stage 10 May 21 2020 - 20:01 hrs

Stage 10 May 21 2020 - 20:01 hrs  

Update May 21 2020 - 01:28 hrs

Update May 21 2020 - 01:28 hrs 

Update May 20 2020 - 11:23 hrs

Update May 20 2020 - 23:23 hrs 

Update May 20 - 09:20 hrs

Update May 20 - 21:20 hrs 

Update May 20 2020 - 19:00 hrs
Update May 20 2020 - 19:00 hrs 

Update May 20 2020 - 17:45 hrs
Update May 20 2020 - 17:45 hrs

Stage 11 vector outline view

Stage 11 vector outline view 

May 15, 2020

Fire fish graphic vector drawing

I thought I'd try something different for a change. The animal in the image - interpreted loosely - is called Lion fish in English, but I fail to see any resemblance to a lion. Perhaps the bloke that coined the name had one too many during liquid lunch. Anyway I like the German name - Feuerfisch which means fire fish - better although there aren't too many fires inside the sea or ocean (apart from submarine volcanoes). The combination of fish and fire invokes visions of a BBQ on which fish is prepared to be munched, which may be the concealed underlying psychological reason for my seemingly poorly founded preference. Also Feuerfisch alliterates and rolls easy off the tongue. Perhaps that inspired the German biologist to invent that name for the beast (possibly in addition to the effect of a few pints of lager). All this of course is pure speculation that lacks any provable ground, but such fuzzy impulse often is at the root of many a scientific theory as long as it is described in verbiage of which normal people have no knowledge about whatsoever. 

No update sequence in this blog entry because this drawing is relatively simple compared to the type of work I usually create. Most often used in this drawing was the clipping function that offers a world of possibilities. Especially in creating vector art, clipping is important because it offers the possibility to create a variation of edge types (hard and / or blurred) in one object or shape by multi-layer clipping and blurring. This spectacularly shaped venomous creature may look like I had one too many during lunch, but I stopped drinking like a fish a few years back after I quit custom painting bikes for motorcycle gangs. Just joking, smart people would never express such multiple aspect matters in writing (which by the way is circumstantial fishy conduct). Those seemingly compliant role model type of fake people usually are the biggest corrupt pervs beyond the reach of the public eye. Either that or they are people that are easily conditioned due to a lack of wit and insight. 

Lion fish of Fuerfisch

Click the image to see a proper size version of it 

This is the first drawing in which I used 'Styles' rather a lot. Some styles are tricky though, because when overlaying them with strokes of objects or shapes the colour of the objects on top does not comply with the ones selected in the Colour tab. Maybe it is the act of clipping that causes this oddity, but simply drawing them on top of things excludes the possibility to restrain the overlays inside the borders of the overlayed object. When creating highlights or shadow edges in an irregularly shaped object I clip strokes or objects inside the object that I want to give highlights and / or shadows because I want their edges to comply. This gives more control than applying 3D fx to the object in which functions affect each other. Clipping highlights and shadows allows to draw them as intended, except when certain types of styles are used that apparently influence the colour of the overlayed clipped object or stroke.

Image with transparent BG for T-shirt print

Image with transparent BG for T-shirt print

An other (colour) variation in the rings

May 8, 2020

Vector portrait of Mike Ehrmantraut (Breaking Bad)

This is the vector portrait of Jonathan Banks who played Mike Ehrmantraut in 'Breaking Bad'. The portrait was created in Affinity Designer in which I still am experimenting because I continue to discover different ways to create certain effects. In this particular work I often used the clipping of strokes, (custom made) brushes and objects (shapes). I used Gaussian blur a lot on both the clipping objects as the clipped objects, which can go several levels deep without a problem. ALL objects are given the parameter: scale with object, so that the image can in theory be re-scaled to any size without loss of quality.

Mike Ehrmantraut - 'Breaking Bad'

Some details, like the eyes, are intentionally drawn differently from what they look like in the reference image to enhance the visual impact of the image without giving up likeness. In every portrait the eyes determine 'the look' of the artwork. The choice of more or less differing colours can also be used to create a more dramatic effect. These are among my most used tricks to draw portraits that are more than just accurate copies of photographs. I prefer to create some sort of visual metaphor that reflects the way I perceive characters in an attempt to highlight the essence of their personality by revealing what (I think that) hides behind which is obviously noticeable at first glance, because everyone wears a mask, a fact of which some are not even aware that they do. I like to suggest to the observer to look beyond without encouraging to dissect in an invasive way, because when observing becomes judging one can no longer enjoy art. 

Custom designed vector Brushes can be used as textured shapes in various ways that I may explain in a video tutorial when I have enough money to by a decent cam and get the hang of video editing software. It is a very interesting option for artists that use a lot of organic texture in their artwork, but it is not an obvious thing to do. Affinity Designer is able to handle the unusual array of functions applied quite well; it doesn't crash. This currently (May 09 2020) is a work in progress. It is still far from perfect, but I learned a lot. Again (seems to be a never ending process). The various stages of development you see below - the oldest stage at the bottom, the newest one on top. At the bottom of this page is the vector outline view of stage 13 for the vector initiates. Click on one of the images to enter Google's Lightbox that allows to quickly scroll through the images with the mouse wheel (for those viewing this page on a PC anyway).

Mike Ehrmantraut - 'Breaking Bad'

May 19 2020 - stage 19 - 19 hours

Vector portrait of Jonathan Banks

May 09 2020 - Stage 15 13 - 14 hours of work

May 08 2020 - 13th stage - 11-12 hours so far

April 22, 2020

Re-created my VectorWhiz website

I re-crated my website - https://vectorwhiz.com - because the previous one, built with Pinegrow all of a sudden mysteriously became corrupt. It was beyond my skill to fix it. I rebuilt it with Mobirise, since Pinegrow would not allow me to re-install the version that I bought a few years back (in which I had lost trust anyway) and Bootstrap Studio still requires too much coding. This may be a good thing for hardcore coders, but not for me. So Mobirise was probably the only option left to get back on-line within a reasonable amount of time. The site needed some changes, so this was as good an opportunity as any to do it.

VectorWhiz logo

The site logo, by the way, is based on Marko Rodin's vortex math, that I believe to be related to (beneficial) ancient occult knowledge that has a more intimate bond to the real reality than what it is commonly believed to have. In a kind of cynical way this personal perception is circumstantially substantiated by the fact that Rodin's site has disappeared from the web. Making true information go away is one of the specialties of the powers that be that are interested in carrying out their concealed agenda, not in the truth. Obviously I do not share that point of view, since it is based on values without value, i.e. on a system that demands submission and obedience to a totally corrupt entity.

I've always clung to the principle that disobeying the insane is never illegal, which I also try to reflect in (most of) my art, even if not in an obvious way. This is for instance done by assigning values to drawing functions that either comply with vortex math principles or the numbers preferred (for good reason) by Nikola Tesla. So, the magic goes into the invisible meta data of the images I create and not observable doesn't mean absent. If you're really interested in what this implies, I'm sure that you'll find more information on this subject somewhere on the Internet. To the aware it will be worth their time and effort. Visit my site and have a nice day.

April 6, 2020

Renault Alpine A110 vector drawing

This Renault Alpine is my all time favorite car. Its lines are almost sensual, a caress to the eye, but it is as aggressive as one can get from a small block that was placed in the back (not a mid engine). Especially the front is brilliantly designed. Although it looks like it was created by one of the Italian master designers, it was conceived in France, the birthplace of many underestimated, but talented design geniuses. This image is drawn in vectors in Affinity Designer. The drawing does not contain a single pixel, it contains vectors only. The texts are still editable, because I tinkered with the Character functions - tilting of individual letters, height, width and spacing between the letters.

A few remarks considering this project:
  • When exporting to a size (a lot) smaller than the dimensions it was drawn in, jagged edges appear in the near horizontal and near vertical edges and lines. When exporting to the native size (in png) and re-scaling afterwards, this problem no longer exists
  • For this particular work exporting in the Bilinear Resampler with the Apple RGB ICC colour profile ticked and palettized deslected works best with the profile embedded. This profile can be saved and used in other projects. The colours are richer and of slightly darker tone than the standard settings in Affinity Designer
  • The most tedious objects to draw were the head light lenses, the radiator grilll, alloy wheels and bonnet hinges. Still Affinity designer allows to adjust these easily and quickly afterwards
  • The Character functions in Affinity Designer allow to create realistic text that is observed from an angle, while the text remains editable. This is a hugely useful feature for projects that contain text that isn't viewed from an angle perpendicular and centered to the text
  • The Gaussian blur function, combined with gradient colouring and transparency, allow to create hyper realistic vector images that require far less time than the mesh-fill function in Illustrator and CorelDRAW (to create the same) and makes adjusting afterwards a much faster process than what is offered by the competition. When re-scaling the image to a larger size it stays sharper than images created with mesh-fill techniques that is basically replacing pixels with vectors, which only takes away jagged edges but does not change the relative pixel density of the image. When using the mesh-fill technique in which a transition is originally drawn in 10 steps, it remains 10 steps no matter what re-scaling is applied, while using the non mesh-fill method of Affinity Designer the transition is simply recalculated with every act of re-scaling, which equals a smooth infinite number of steps, without 10 steps having to coordinate the effect of individual steps
  • The alloy wheels are drawn in Rhinoceros 3D, turned into the proper viewing position and then placed into Affinity Designer to trace and edit. This also applies to the tire groove patterns. In doing so I can design my own wheel and tire patterns, while keeping their appearance realistic and in the correct perspective. Later these objects will be traced manually to keep the drawing all vector, so that it can be re-scaled to any size without loss of quality
  • The size in which this drawing was created is eight times bigger than the exported png's in this post. When printed in approximately 70 x 35 cm the details will appear much better than is visible here
  • The reference image was of poor quality and had mistakes in them (it was a drawing), but it was a dynamic image nevertheless. I needed to look at many different photographs to give the car an authentic appearance. Still I added some detail that make it unique (which is what I always do in every drawing and painting that I create)
  • There may be two versions - one the street version of the car and the other a stickered rally version. The stickers will be on a separate layer so they can be turned on and off at will. I must find the time to do this though
  • I struggled with the right front wheel well, because the reference image has extended bulgy wheel wells, which I dislike, until stage 19 where this was corrected. Since this stage the car has its original subtle wheel well. I came across this because there previously wasn't enough space for the secondary blinker and type plate. Now there is. Check out the difference between stage 18 and 19 by clicking on the stage 19 image and flicking between the two stages in Google's Lightbox

It is still a work in progress at this time (I started this project on April 3 2020). The oldest stage is at the bottom, the newest on top. Click an image to go to the Google Lightbox that allows to swiftly flick through the stages by turning the scroll wheel of the mouse. Unfortunately this works in desktop computers only.

Stage 19 15:19 hrs, April 17 2020

Stage 18 11:42 hrs, April 14 2020

Stage 17 13:24 hrs, April 10 2020

Stage 16 23:00 hrs, April 9 2020

Stage 15 23:00 hrs, April 8 2020

Stage 12 12:50 hrs, April 6 2020

Stage 8 23:00 hrs, April 5 2020

Stage 4 13:00 hrs, April 4 2020

Stage 1 14:30 hrs, April 3 2020


Outline view, 3D parts and reference image

Stage 18 vector outline view -
Alloy wheels and tires must still be traced
The wriggly red lines below the editable texts
indicate the entries (Vectorwhiz and Cibie)
are not present in the dictionary
while Renault actually is

Alloy wheel drawn in Rhino 3D
seen from a different angle

Tire drawn in Rhino 3D
seen from a different angle

Reference image

March 19, 2020

Realistic vector portrait of a beautiful woman

After having mostly created logos lately, I finally got to doing what I love most - making vector portraits. In the magnificent Affinity Designer of course that is way ahead of its competition where creating organic images is concerned. Its Gaussian blurring of vector shapes is unsurpassed and the custom gradient colouring and applying of transparency are unmatched, allowing artists to have almost complete control over creating subtle transitions. Illustrator and CorelDRAW don't even come near and I've worked with those programs for decades both professionally and privately. Only the fantastic open source program Inkscape is capable of doing the same, but its UI is still somewhat enigmatic, although its developers have made a lot of improvements recently.

Below you see the progress sequence. The oldest stage at the bottom and the newer ones above that. This currently is a work in progress and I have only began drawing today (March 2020). I am trying out a new style (for me at least) and use techniques that I haven't used in creating vector portraits that I made before. I plan to make tutorials, but have only recently started fiddling with the video editor Olive. I hope to find the time to familiarize myself with this program and compile a tutorial about how to create a realistic vector portrait in Affinity Designer. I've written about this in previous blog posts, but I will present a short recap here of why Affinity Designer is better than Illustrator and CorelDRAW for making realistic vector portraits.

Realistic vector programs can be made in those programs, but only when using mesh-fills, which is a horrendously tedious business. The Affinity Designer functions I mentioned in the first paragraph allow to create realistic portraits AND allow to quickly tinker details afterwards, which is something the competition is unable to do. Creating realistic vector portraits is all about tweaking, so you've come to the right program with Affinity Designer. This is a huge time saver and it prevents headaches. Check regularly to see the progress I will make with this portrait after this day. By the way, the reference image was a rather average photo of the stunningly beautiful artist Monique Klemann who sings in the duo Lois Lane with her (also beautiful) sister Suzanne.

Tip for watching
Click on an image to see it in Google's lightbox. It allows you to flick between stages by using the scroll wheel on your mouse (assuming you're on a PC or Mac). This makes it easy to compare the difference in the stages. Some progress may seem small, but involved much work, which is a characteristic of creating portraits. Tablets and smartphones unfortunately do not allow to scroll in the lightbox.

12th stage March 25 2020

10th stage March 24 2020

9th stage March 22 2020

8th stage March 21 2020

7th stage March 21 2020

6th stage March 20 2020

5th stage March 20 2020

4th stage March 19 2020

3rd update of March 18 2020

2nd update March 18 2020

First stage March 18 2020

Vector outline view of the 12th stage

Notes March 22 2020
The real complexity is in tuning the gradients of each object where it concerns, colour, intensity, direction and positioning. Affinity Designer's approach is however far less tedious and time consuming as Illustrator's and CorelDRAW's that use the mesh-fill technique to create realistic portraits. The portrait on this page so far cost me four days of working on it and off (more off than on actually). Had it been constructed with mesh fills I would have worked on it for a month or longer. The mesh-fill drawing method is translating a cluster of pixels of a similar colour into a vector shape or stroke. This means gradients are all different clusters. Colourful images therefore have an absolutely huge palette. Depending on the subject being drawn, this can require a tremendous amount of drawing. Making changes afterwards as a result also require a shedload time and effort. Due to its available functions Affinity Designer does not force artists to struggle with these particular chores.

The 'new' techniques that I referred to in the second paragraph are textured custom brushes to create and edit irregularly shaped strokes that are too complex to edit with the stroke panel and blurred strokes clipped along the irregularly shaped edge inside an (also blurred) shape to apply a shadow effect. Clipping blurred shapes into other blurred shapes allow to create objects that have a varying level of blurring on their edges, which is quite useful when drawing portraits. It would of course be more clear if I were to demonstrate this is a video clip, but at this point I am still learning to use the video-editor Olive. Once I've mastered that I may create a video tutorial on these techniques.