Back To Basics 1: Hands

practicing hands

Part of a new anatomy study routine I have now via the iPad Pro + Apple Pencil and Procreate.

The Making of “Chloe’s Tiny Treats”

One day we noticed our daughter making these tiny, clay foods for fun. They were surprisingly detailed and after a few months of this we asked ourselves “what if these were earrings?” What followed was a few weeks of research and finally, we decided to give it a try. As a family. For fun. And here’s how it went.

This is a small portion of the inventory we started with. And while the process of making food was solid we were blocked by how to turn them into earrings.

This is an early sketch of the planned approach for transforming each item, no matter what size, into an earring. Unfortunately, after a few tests, this turned out to be completely impractical. Turns out the “jump ring” wasn’t necessary, the hook was too pronounces, and the “ball head pin” was extremely disruptive to the sculpting process. After more tinkering, we arrived at a process that required fewer materials and less manipulation to the sculpted pieces.

Next, a logo was born. ‘Cause ya gotta have one of those I guess.

Then came packaging concepts which were fleshed out in Procreate. This step actually took a few a months to figure out. What was the biggest hurdle? Really, figuring out how to make the in-store version safe to ship too. That was big. Second, making sure all the different sized earrings could fit into the same container. Third, streamlining cost and the number of steps in assembly!

This was the final, overall process.

Here’s an early concept on the mailer which, after mocking up, lead to an improved looked…

…which incorporated more of the brand colors. Finally, here’s how it looked in real life.

Next came the challenge of photographing each product. Due to the uniqueness of each item, we weren’t able to use one image to represent the whole line.

Here’s the first concept called “the cutting board” which I deemed a “no” the second it loaded on the camera’s screen.

Next came the “white void” approach which was also an immediate “no.”

But that didn’t stop me from trying a detailed, “white void” test with spooking floating, taco earrings.

So after many failed starts, I took the items outdoors and decided to use a bokeh approach.

That involved making a special platform to support the products, fashioning a paintbrush dryer with foam core to help create a “floating” effect for close-ups, along with other odds tricks including a field monitor.

Here are a few of the final shots.


Now the challenge of product storage and transport. Here what a hollow drill bit, foam flooring, and a 15.5 QT clear tote containers accomplished.

Finally, after building up inventory, creating signage, Moo cards, etc. it was time to prep for the open house.

Here are the tent card concepts…

…followed by the table layout.

In the end, everything came together wonderfully…

…and the artist was more than happy.

Procreate – “Blow Brush Concept”

Benefit Hypothesis
Allow users to utilize their breath to control the movement of certain paints.

Available microphones + “blow brush”

Tool Duration
While ink or paint is “wet.” A visual indication will help users understand how long they have (e.g. thin, progress bar along the header similar to the current “loading” bar).

Stylus pressure. However, there are limitations to directional control.

Product Roadmap
Accomplishing the control of paint or ink with noise level may lead to using sound to change other feature (e.g. paint color that reacts to sound).

Dispatched Technician


30-minute Fan art: Alien + The Walking Dead


Another Copic Marker Use

It’s a long story, but the short version is Alysha schooled me on using a highlighter to generate roughs before inking it. It didn’t take long for me to swap the highlighter for a Copic Sketch marker (N2 Neutral Gray No. 2).  Meaning now I can produce roughs faster, as pencil ultimately requires erasing, and it’s a blast building on the grays for a more refined look.

Here’s an quick example of how to play in the same manner. Just start by laying down however many lines as you like.


The above represents a “whatever” approach. Meaning you don’t have to necessarily produce a discernible image as much as simply laying down enough information to help guide. So if it makes sense to you it’s all good.


Next, just capture/trace the lines you feel are most fitting. While I normally use a Sharpie (for speed) the above was done with a brush pen. Again, use whatever feels right.


Here’s how to take it further digitally. The above scan (grayscale @ 300 dpi) was opened in PS, Levels chosen, White Point within Levels selected, and one tap given to a gray strokes.ud_130407d

Here’s the results of altering the white point. The gray or highlighter strokes vanish -depending on the intensity of gray selected of course.ud_130407e

And here’s how I played with it in PS after applying my “Prepping Lineart Action.” Honestly, there’s literally so many directions available at this point…it really depends on your project’s needs or personal preference. For example, taking the above just alil’ further…


…this the same file as the above with two minor tweaks. Note the action mentioned above provided a “Lineart” layer. By default that Layer is unlock. Well, with “Lock Transparent Pixels” selected the “Lineart” layer was filled with a weathered brown tone. Because of the “Lock Transparent Pixels” option only the lines were affected. Next, an “Adjustment Layer” was Masked to the Layer holding the colors and…well…blam.




Lastly, here’s what it’s like layering the grays (N2, N4, N6) prior to adding alil’ Sharpie work. All that to say…this process is too much fun IMO.


© 2020 Umami Design Studio