Learning More Graphic Design Tricks

So, I have been focusing a lot of my recent efforts on writing tech articles for Forbes and marketing for InvoiceOcean (even though I no longer work for them I have done some vidual ads for Google Display Network, which I shared in my last post). However, since I fixed my Mac by purchasing an external SSD drive and running Sierra from it, I’ve decided to reinstall Illustrator and get back into graphic design.

I have also decided to play around with some of my multimedia work as I was looking at graphic design template ideas for CVs or resumes. I saw one template that had an artistic interpretation of a small self portrait and decided to import an old pastel drawing I quickly did by hand and saved on my iPad and play around with the concept.

Here is the original image all done in pastels and pencil, which you may have seen me post here. I did not feel like retaking an image of it, scanning it or looking for the non-water marked version I have saved somewhere on my drive. So, because I needed something to import on short notice, I simply cropped out the one I had to remove background and worked from there.


Below are further images I have created purely with graphic design on my iPad as the image above was done purely by hand using pastels and pencil.

I then decided to playa  around with Artstudio HD and Procreate to create funny interpretations of it and the concept to later maybe use in the Illustrator CV/resume portrait.

Here are some vintage interpretations with a worn-out paper look below and below that image a more abstract variant:



More of a plastic version after I inserted this raster image (done entirely on iPad) into Illustrator and added an effect:


I have also been working on some robotics concept images and gifs, which I may post soon in an update so stay tuned.


Started working on another black and white illustration

So I started playing around with the idea of a cloaked man or a cloaked warrior exploring the u unknown lands or venturing out on an adventure. The idea is reminiscent of many computer role playing games as I have some ideas on doing artwork for game companies or just marketing ads.

Obviously, I am just practicing my digital stroke right now and fine tuning my techniques of shading and using various brushes with an iPad, stylus and potentially finishing my work in Photoshop.

It is a fun learning process and this is just another multimedia skill I am improving. If anyone is interested in using any of my work for Web ads, images inside software, box covers or book covers or ańything else, please let me know. Please also let me know if you want to ourchase any prints on specialized paper from me based on any of my work or even want some additional modifications done (such as commissioned requests or changes). I can also do commissions froms cratch combined with my journalism skills or adding catch phrases or good writing to anything.





And a few other variations: 



I think the idea making it black and white works well because it is more of a comic book style of a backdrop that way. With the previous two side by side pieces (not last one above, but above it), I tried adding a wall or clear definition of a cave of sorts, but I think making it a bit more abstract works better for this particular project.

Here I’ve decided to play with invert colors and some other adjustments such as sharpness and noise effects:


And lastly some more brush tools at work producing interesting effects — in this case stones or rocky surface in background:

Here I added a more of a snow storm effect to the ground:


All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

Another Evolution Concept of Drawing Digitally

As you guys may have recently seen, I posted a blog post about using the iPad and a stylus to digitally restore or enhance pencil drawings from black and white to color. You may also have noticed the various interpretations that can result from each piece as there are so many different ways to accomplish this: from different filters to brushes and layered effects.

I wanted to add another project here as unlike my previous blog post about the pencil drawing turning into a digital piece, this one I mostly started digital from the get go — outside of photography I added and the two soldiers from the previous piece I worked on. This project started out from a basic concept of a cloaked warrior or wizard standing in front of a gate; this being similar to how many computer games or RPGs, in particular, have as either a box art or in game title screen art. However, over time somethings got worse while other things improved in the pieces you will see below. Either way, it was an interesting learning experience.

Here was the very basic outline concept as I worked my way down into something completely different using photographs for pillars I took (on iPad) and inserting them into the digital image along with a door I took as a photo in Barcelona Spain (also with an iPad).

(Oh and by the way, I mentioned how I started working on this piece at the end of my last blog post.)











I am thinking of working out the concept further with the last piece, but including the solders as ai recently reanimated them or some other additions. I also do not know id the metallic or artificial-looking pillars are cooler looking than the photograph-based versions. It is in the eye of the beholder to judge.

Here are some ideas for cover art or marketing ads that could be done (Obviously instead of “Welcome to Mike-Lata.com”, it would say something like “Welcome to Spiderweb Software”).



[Heavy Edit]: And after all that, here is something else I created:


Here I tried to make the cloaked figure more into a wizard:


The mouse seemed to big so I changed it along with a glitch near left side of ghost soldier where vapor or mist is hitting:



Some ad ideas I created, or potential marketing pitches (before last revision though, which could be done to it or any of these revisions):



All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.


Using the iPad to Turn Pencil Drawing Into Something More

I recently decided to experiment trying to use my iPad and stylus in order to turn one of my pencil drawings into something more digital and alive. This drawing I decided to work on I thought is almost medieval or game-like in appearance and could be used for game cover art or something so that is why I choose it. It is currently available in its original form (and has been for a while thus you may have noticed it) in the Artwork section of this site.

The way I spiced it up, and you will see the overall process of progress below, was done all using the iPad, a stylus, amd some filters within an app called Artstudio Pro. I also ended up adding or changing bits and pieces of the original to make it quite different from its original form and more vivid. Here is how the step-bystep process and progress that I am showcasing as the artwork went from a simple hand drawing to a digital and colorful piece:



















Here is the final piece or close to my final vision for it. I took the bottom of hanging latter out cause it didnt make sense with the water fall there as that is farther back and cliff is in front. Also note how there is no mouse this time like there was in the original pencil drawing, but a cat somehow materialized instead.


[Edit] I’ve decided to keep working on it (hence the new feature image) and turn it into an ad for this site of sorts (and below that a further revision of the weapon or iron hammer):


Some more variations:


With some text thrown in for good measure and the filter effect fixed that made the arms on the figure on the left too wide and too narrow in places:


I have also been exploring in creating multimedia content by adding up previous hand-drawn work with photography and graphic design into something I will reveal and showcase soon.

All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.



Minimalism in Design: Out of this World Computing

If you are an artist, you may have heard the concept of minimalism. Creating interesting works out of minimal content, or making the content simple in appearance, but deep or profound in execution. There is also the concept of purism, which appears ro be quite similar in nature to minimalism.

Andrea Manchen from swfiss Advance described the difference here:

Purism is an art style and was/is about using abstracted geometric and mechanical forms. But what does this mean to design? In my opinion minimalism is quite close to purism. Minimalism began in post–World War II Western art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s (Wikipedia). So it is also an art style. Minimalist design reduces the subject to its necessary elements. Best known slogans of this design direction is “form follows function” and “less is more”.

Thus, began my interest in this art style. Whether you want to call it minimalism or purism, I decided to create some shapes as they relate to computing. I will refer to my work and this concept as, “Out of This World Computing.” Here it is in different evolved steps (from pure minimalism to more complex ideas forming):













The first one is really minimalism/purism in its essence, the second can also be labeled as such, but I am starting to think with my designs past the dirst two started going away from the concept — as too much visual flair and business started to emerge. Either way, I really like this concept of mi inalism and sometimes I think it is the most effective way to show an idea or add visual context to text such as article writing, blogging or even in-game design. As artform all onto itself it is also great because it can make you think moreso than art filled with objects and business for you to lose track in.

You can check out some examples of purism here and an example of minimalism along with an example here. It does appewr that purism is more complex and minimalism is really where my idea fits. The third image above I created might fit well with the concept of purism. Anyway, both styles offer an interesting outlook on things.

Getting More Out of my iPad Through Visual Design

IMG_2827The iPad has become my multipurpose device when it comes to content creation as well as content consumption. I am using it as an artistic instrument and a drawing tablet rather than what it was originally intended for. This is real interesting because I am having a blast doing it and I am doing it on a regular 2017 iPad and not the Pro that has the awesome multi-touch stylus that does angles well.

I am using Art Studio right now because I still have not updated to iOS 11 due to game compatibility — I have many games that haven’t been updated to 128bit and would like to complete them before moving on. Then I will dig into the infamous  Procreate mentioned in this best of iPad art app write up on Creative Bloq.

I am doing this while watching Illustrator tutorials and trying to get into vector-based art on my Macs. I have Illustrator, but I hate the aspect of memorizing keystrokes and dealing with so many options at once such as vector masks, live paint, its weird trace options and just learning the program. Art Studio for me right now is just robust enough to do fun things while using a stylus to draw.

Yes, I am using a stylus on a regular, non-pro iPad, and it works well although not nearly as well as the iPad Pro’s. I got the one that has two tips: the fat finger-like tip that almost looks like an eraser, and works well as one when using the eraser tool, and the finer point encased by a see-through round plastic tip. The stylus is available on Amazon for $15 and is reviewed at 4.5 stars currently.

It surprisingly works real well, like I mentioned, and can be lined up well during tracings due to the circular point being see through and the true endpoint being in the middle of it. It truly shows you don’ really need the iPad Pro to start creating great works. Here are some of my recent projects, you may have noticed I have been adding to my graphic design section of the site:



Everything in these pieces was hand-drawn using the stylus, app, iPad and no cut and pasted objects. SOme of the objects, like the door in the first image was done using Art Studio’s square selection tool and fill border, but rest including the circle in the second image was done entirely using the stylus and layers. As you can see, you can do some cool stuff even on the non pro-version of the iPad with a descent stylus and Art Studio.
This is an app not much talked about due to other options out there like Assembly or Procreate, but I  like it more than Adobe’s drawing options and it has great use of effects and layers on top of a canvas that reacts well to touch. I will continue to update the graphic design section so look for more content and may keep posting about it as well. So get to drawing, because whatever tool you use or device and whether you are on an iPad, Bamboo, or a Mac/PC, there is no excuse with so many options available for artists.



Here is a third image I have been working on lately (post publishing this post initially) and it has also been drawn all on iPad using a photo of a cloud in the background (the white one coming out) that I added my own clouds onto and the bird(s). I tried to also add a UFO effect of sorts and some lighting in later revisions:




The funny thing it was created from scratch using the iPad even as a camera and the added on content all via Art Studio on top of the single photo of the light blown-up cloud in the background with UFO coming out of it. Everything else is hand drawn though using a stylus.

Photo Sketch is Pretty Amazing of an App for Artists, Photographers

If you are into photography, art or a little of both, you must check out an app called Photo Sketch. This app turns your photography into works of art.

It does this by analyzing your photo and sketching it out in pencil while you have various options to choose from. You can make the images darker, lighter, the pencil work deeper and more refined, or lighter and more transparent. You can even set different background hues and textures.

The app truly allows for some outstanding effects and I highly redommend it for historical photos, photos of landscapes, photos of street srt and graffiti, and photos of detailed urban settings. Here are some of the things I created using it.

As someone into photography, art (particularly sketchwork, pencil and charcoal), and iPad apps you know this app captivated me from the sedond I tried it. It will be quite a while before I get bored with it considering all the manipulations and esperimentations you can do of just one image.

What’s awesome about it is that it is completely free with additional IAP options as long as youa re willing to sit through ads and can deal with its limited number or background selections. It is just another reason why I love the iPad as an artistic espressiom tool amd a tool for self learning.