Merge Art and Life

Make it Personal    Pamela Hobbs mixed intimate items, such as a vacation photo and a pen-and-ink drawing, together with stock imagery and digital illustrations to create this piece. The final result is a mélange of software effects, traditional media, and personal elements that produce an image rich with character.

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Digital-illustration, painting, and image-editing applications give artists powerful new tools for creating, but sometimes the software's slick effects and filters can crowd out an artist's personal style. Plus, with stock imagery so readily available, artists may get disconnected from their traditional-media roots, as well as overlook items from everyday life that can contribute nicely to a project.

As a classically trained illustrator, San Francisco artist Pamela Hobbs ( http://www.pamorama.com ) takes care not to let the digital tools she uses command center stage. This collage she created for Red Herring magazine's third-anniversary party is typical of her hybrid style of merging intimate material (a hand-drawn illustration, real flowers, a vacation photo) with the power of her digital arsenal and stock-photo archives. She's used this hybrid style for such clients as Sony, Nickelodeon, Absolut Vodka, the Village Voice, and Tori Amos.

Here, Hobbs created the centerpiece drawing of the Hindu god Siva with pen and ink. Instead of working with a graphics tablet, she does all of her line drawings by hand and digitizes them with a scanner. She also likes to experiment with using real objects–such as the daisies she scanned in for this piece–to give polished digital art a more spontaneous feel.

For this project, Hobbs used Adobe Photoshop 5.0, Illustrator 8.0, and Dimensions 2.0; Macromedia FreeHand 5.5; stock imagery from PhotoDisc; an Apple Power Macintosh G3; and a Linotype-Hell Saphir scanner.

http://www.mediacosm.com

August 1999 page: 104

1 Hobbs first drew the image of the Hindu god Siva with pen and ink. She scanned in the drawing and added color to it in Photoshop, using gradient color fills to give it a 3-D look. Next, she created the blue background shapes in FreeHand, successively scaling colored circles in equal increments to generate patterns of shrinking dots. To make the spiked orange half-circle behind Siva, she created a triangle and a circle in Illustrator and duplicated the triangle around the circle's perimeter in 5-degree increments. Then she added a radial gradient fill in Photoshop to create the yellow sunburst.

2 Hobbs then scanned in red and white gerbera daisies. She laid the flowers on the scanner and covered them with a white cloth to minimize shadows and facilitate masking them in Photoshop. She then used Photoshop's Color Balance feature to change the red daisies' color to a golden orange that echoed the hues of the sunburst and frame.

3 Next, Hobbs co-opted the saxophone, guitar, globe, martini glass, and picture frame from PhotoDisc stock-image collections. She trimmed the frame's edges and reassembled it in Photoshop, and she used a Photoshop layer mask and black-to-white gradient to fade the musical instruments into the background.

4 The Buddha image is from a photo the artist took while on vacation in Japan. After scanning in the photo, Hobbs clipped the Buddha from its background in Photoshop, added highlights with the Dodge tool, and adjusted the color in the Saturation dialog box. She then created the three-dimensional 3 in Dimensions and exported it to Photoshop, adding highlights with the Dodge and Burn tools.

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