Inky Valentine: Love, Superheroes, & Laughter | Skillshare Projects

Shuku Li

Choral conductor / Fledgling Calligrapher



Inky Valentine: Love, Superheroes, & Laughter


Done! I can't believe I actually got this done in time, but it was an amazing lot of fun (except for fiddling around in Photoshop and trying to troubleshoot.) I did two versions because I couldn't make up my mind, but I think perhaps I like Version 1 best because of the Big Ink Splodge (as it's been named on my layer). Look Helene, it's the mouse!

Version 2 is cleaner and will likely do if I ever want it printed, or something. I tried working with a few coloured backgrounds, but in the end i still came back to white.

I have really, really enjoyed this class, and learned so much from it! I'm going to be doing the 5 Tools of the Trade next, if only because I jumped into the class late, and I could probably use more practice doing simple layouts for maximum effect. 

So there we have it: Non-Traditional Geeky Valentine (and anyone who can name all the elements right off the bat, they definitely deserve to have this 'un given to 'em.)

Thank you so much Tom, for everything, and to all the classmates who have been so inspirational and given such wonderful feedback!





UPDATE Feb 14th: Ungodly Hours of Project Insomnia

I still can't get the layer mask to work - so I just worked completely around it by avoiding it entirely and finding other less ideal, but decent enough solutions. I also put the central text in to see just how much blank space I needed to allow for it to look uncluttered, but not overly lonely.

I totally forgot about the mouse, so that needs to be inked before I can do much more. I'm still trying to decide if the overall white spaces look a bit...empty, or if the paper plane needs any more texture on it. 


UPDATE Feb 13th:

After wrestling with the quirkiness that is Photoshop and the Transform Tool (thank you SO much Tom, for your help and patience with it!), I put together a quick test with inky blots just to see how things would look. It's coming together slowly but it actually is starting to look like something, which is exciting!

The only issue that's come up now is the layer mask - I tried using it to erase that extra bleed off the side of the frame and it refused to work. Time for another round of troubleshooting, oh sainted aunts and butter.


UPDATE Feb 12th: Milestone 4

I think I might have gone a little OCD with my ink marks. But they are done, scanned, and they...look kind of chaotic to be perfectly honest but that's the point isn't it?

I wound up with four sheets of ink marks. Most of it is lines and calligraphy, but that seems a little excessive!





I'll start playing around with them tonight, to see whether any of it is going to be successful.

SON OF UPDATE Feb 12th far too early:

Decided to putter about a little more with Photoshop to get used to the whole pen tool thing and all, and added in the Batman logo, and holes for the mix tape. Was thinking about adding the smaller holes at the bottom of the tape too, then decided I'd save that for some inky texture.

It's getting a little easier to not panic when opening Photoshop, which is a huge step forward from oh, four days ago when I started this. FOUR days ago? Wow. It seems longer somehow.


UPDATE Feb 11th: Milestone 3

I bit the bullet - hard - and plunked out my base illustration. I'm a total Photoshop novice - I've never used the pen tool before today, so it took a little research and a lot of trial and error, but I don't think things turned out too badly! There's a few sections that I'm irritated with - the paper airplane has a tiiiny segment that doesn't line up properly with the darker segment, and the mouse has a little bit of overlap with the note sheet he's holding, but that is likely OCD talking. 

I did cheat a little with the colours - the grey is just black at maybe 29% opacity, and the darker shades of turquoise are a couple of degrees darker than the original, but it IS still two colours, barring the white bits.

Now for ink marks tomorrow. I may actually be able to DO this after all, which is...pretty amazing considering the total lack of digital skills I came in with. I do admit it's not super professional-looking, but I guess that will come with time.


UPDATE Feb 10th:

Three more layouts, just to sort out the brain and simplify shapes. 







All things considered, it's a toss-up between 5 and 6, but I think 5 may have a slight edge in terms of movement. I'll revisit 7 at some point, I suspect, just because it's fun, but for this project, either 5 or 6 for sure.

ADDENDUM: Layout 3 & 4

Tom, you'd mentioned Warhol and the shadow superhero portraits re: Inky Illustration style, so I tried a 3rd and 4th layout. I had in mind both 'Superhero' and 'Noir', with the Femme Fatal, only one girl is less of a traditional Femme Fatal, she's a Fair Fatality, and the other is a ninja - a literal Fair Fatality!

Any thoughts or pointers on which of the two styles (1+2, 3+4) work better? I'm still undecided as of now. The 4th one would give a bit more chance to showcase Inky Blots and Stuff, seems like. Though 1+2 would definitely be fun and less...conventional?





UPDATE Feb 9th: Milestone 2

So I did some narrowing down on the idea dump by talking it over with a friend who's much more knowledgeable about graphic novels than I am, with the result that 'Superheroes' is definitely the theme of things. I also wanted to include the quote 'I always wished for a friend to laugh with'.

I ended up listing down iconic elements of several superhero characters (1960s Batman, Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog, Underdog, Mighty Mouse, the Incredibles, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Tick, and Deadpool), as follows:


The five elements / things I ended up picking were: the Shark Repellant Batspray (that's so ridiculously cheesy it's awesome), Mighty Mouse's "Here I come to save the day!" in calligraphy, Awesome Mix Vol. 1 from Guardians of the Galaxy, The Tick's infamous Spoon, and Deadpool's equally infamous chimichanga.

I did two layout sketches, but I'm not entirely satisfied with either yet. I like the neat layout of #1, but think that the Utility Belt was probably extraneous. I like the simpler Shark Repellant cannister of layout #2, but it still seems...I dunno, a little crowded. I'll try it again with more space for the quote and spread the objects out a bit more, maybe even make them bigger.





Thoughts or any words of advice? I'm a novice to graphic design and all, so this is working my brain in ways I'm very happy about, even if it's scary.

Feb 8th: Milestone 1

I am so late to this party, I am going to have a loooooot of catching up to do. Oh lord. So I jumped into the fray and did a brainstorm session, writing down ideas and free associations. I'm a musician, so I started with songs that caught my attention - usually what I start with when I have absolutely no clue - and then parts of a book I was reading. The whole section on wishing for a friend to laugh with resonated enough that I copied the whole segment down, and one particular term of endearment, 'Fair Fatality', slipped my brain over into thinking about Superheroes. 

From Superheroes, it was only a short hop to rough doodles to 'Angels Would Fall', and 'Drops of Jupiter'.

I'm still a little ways from narrowing things down totally, but I definitely would like to feature either 'I always wished for a friend to laugh with' as a quote with superheroes worked in somehow, or 'Fair Fatality: Superhero Muse', or something like that. 


I've put together an Inspiration Board so I can put all my research on style, calligraphy, colours etc on the project into one place for easy access, in case anyone's interested:

A couple of the images that I love, stylistically and in terms of subject matter, are these, so I'll be interested to see how to work those into the final project:






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