Brushes In Action

Bird in Winter – New Year Hope

Bird in Winter

Happy New Year

Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings. ~ Victor Hugo

We are all perched on a frail branch, and yet we can sing and share to make the world better– may your new year be filled with gifts of the heart– to you and from you as we venture further into helping each other through the pandemic.

About the Illustration

This was one of my practice pieces as I explore brushes in Procreate. I started a category here called “Brushes in Action” to share whenever I take a dive into native brushes for an app. I liked it so much I added the greeting to the new year and a the wonderful quote by Victor Hugo.

About the Process

I started with the stems [ink bleed] using vertical symmetry. On separate layers I add the leaves and buds or berries. I group each type of floral and then duplicate them to flatten the duplicated version, turning off the symmetry so I can cut/paste and rearrange the florals to make a better arrangement. I also needed to adjust with “Hue, Saturation, Brightness” to “yellow” up the floral on the left so it better blended with the overall effect.

About the Brushes

I was surprised at how much I loved the Thylacine brush [green leaves]– so smooth with a streak effect for texture [see below for how I adapted it for creating florals].

I also like the white leaves with Inka— so easy to to just brush that shape into place, although the brush is somewhat transparent. That can be “fixed” by duplicating the layer of the leaves, alpha lock, then fill with white. Duplicate the white layer several times to create a “blocking effect” and merge the white layers; you can also move the white layers into the original leaves or just group them. I learned that trick from Calvin the Drifter, although he uses “Hue, Saturation, Brightness” to turn the duplicated layer white. [Watch the process here: Watercolor Flower & Botanical Painting Tutorial.

As you watch the video, look for the use of each of these brushes, mostly from the “Inking” category in Procreate. You’ll see how they look and interact. Here’s a list:

And here’s a visual for each of the brushes so you can choose what to watch for:

I forgot to include the “stipple” brush for the bird and green leaves– just a few dots for texture.

You may want to learn about adjusting the settings of the brush in this Procreate Brush Studio Settings Guide. I adapted the thylacine brush for the green leaves so the brush would have tapered ends and closer spacing in its stroke. Before changing the settings, swipe left on the brush to duplicate it– then you have the original and can create and save your own adaptation so the brush works for your need and style. Be sure to sign the brush in “About This Brush” and create a new reset point there as well.

If you have questions, please ask. If you have a favorite brush, please share. If you have a post or video on certain brushes or techniques– please share as well. Let’s continue to spread good cheer with our art and help each other improve!

Happy New Year!

1 thought on “Bird in Winter – New Year Hope”

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