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Drawing With Graphic Libraries

Have you ever watched a cartoon on television, and wish that you could create your own characters? Anything that is complex can be broken down into simple shapes. Many drawing programs, like Freehand, Photoshop, or Flash have libraries. Without getting into specifics of the program you happen to be using, I'll show you how to create characters, and do cool things with them.

The Result:

The purpose of the library is to hold stock images and drag them onto the main "stage" to be manipulated. Here is a sample image of a fish I've used in quite a few drawings.

Notice the fish is made of a few basic shapes. Circles tear drops, and some spiky things. These basic shapes are layered on top of each other to create our final fish. Here is the context of where this exotic looking fish was used:



Now that we've spent all this time drawing a fish. I've placed it in the library, so that I can use it again, without having to redraw from scratch. Use some creativity, and repurpose drawings in many places. I try not to be obvious about reusing images, because that will make your drawings boring. Here are other places where I've used the fish.

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The plants in the background are actually the fins of the fish. I simply drag the fish from the library, throw on some colorizing effect, and now it looks like a plant.

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In this case, I used the library item of my fish to add more detail to the BBQ scene. The purpose of this is to spend less time drawing everything from scratch. It's an old animator trick.

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To make this piece of sushi, it's simply an eye tilted sideways a little bit. I then increased the black line surrounding the eye from 5px to 40px, and that makes it look like the rice is wrapped in seaweed paper. Of course, upon close inspection this doesn't look like seaweed paper, but from far enough away, you can't tell the difference.

This isn't a "how to draw" tutorial, but will give you ideas. Yes, it does take some experimentation to figure this out. Sometimes it would've been faster to draw from scratch. However, now that I've figured this out, it's a good trick to use next time I need to draw a plant. I'll even see what other library items I have that I can apply this effect too, and therefore I'll have a whole set of shrubbery without having to draw any of it.