Hurley Burley Studio

Fantasy Art and Illustration

Alter Feedback – First Tries

Reddit user /u/Jux360 decided to try their hand at altering cards. They posted their work asking for feedback. I’m not going to lie, I think the Lilly is totes adorbes! For a first try, these aren’t bad. We are going to go over a few tips and tricks to help /u/Jux360 get on their way into altering!

  • Color matching
  • Working with White
  • Clean Outlines 
  • “Special Effects”

Color Matching

When you working on extensions don’t paint what you know, paint what you see. We know that Jace’s clothes are blue, but in this image we see that they are grey. If you have trouble deciding what colors to use for an extension you can open the card in a photo editing software and and use the color sampler tool to figure out what colors are there. 

I did a small test drop of the blue that was painted on and the grey that was on the card so you can see them side by side.

This is the blue that was painted  on. 

This is the printed color of the card.

As you can see the printed color is much much closer to grey than to blue. Photoshop went as far to say that it was in the yellow family and had no blue at all! I would have extended the fabric with black and white, then fine tuning Titan Buff and Bone Black.

Working with White

White can be a tricky color to work with. People tend to think that it’s easy because it’s ‘just white’. They forget to think about how transparent white actually is. To get a nice white you have to put down a lot of thin layers. 

These cards have big areas of white added to them. You can see that the transparency of the white isn’t consistent throughout the area. When working with white you need to make sure that you have a nice opaque grey as your starting point. The lighter grey you have the better, but you want to make sure that you can’t see though it.

Once your base color is down and dry you can start adding your layers of white. Put down a thin layer, you can smudge with your finger to keep it flat and even, then let it dry completely. Rinse and repeat. Pure white takes time and patience. I usually have 2 projects going on when I know that I need to get pure white on a card. That way when the white is drying I have something to work on lowering the risk of putting the next layer on too soon.

Clean Outlines

Adding an outline to new art on the card is great. It can make the picture stand out and not look as bland. If you have a steady hand and can make long even lines then painting them on can be a way to go. 

Or you can take the easy way out.

Micron pens! I use Sakura Micron Pens to do my black outlines 75% of the time. You don’t have to worry about keeping the pressure of your brush consistent or worry about how much paint is loaded onto the brush. For white lines you can use gel pens. A word of caution though, do not press hard when using ball point pens on alters. You can indent the card, which is not ideal.

"Special Effects"

Adding small detail to the cards just makes them look better. It’s not something that is needed, but it’s something that will help.

Original 

Quick Edit

Let’s work with the FoF edit that I did in PS real quick. 

The higher fabric pieces that are on the left side I would have let go under the border line, but above the color border of the card. This adds a bit of depth to the card. It shows that it’s still coming out of the background, but not as close to the viewer as the other strands.

We know that the fabric is above the border of the card. There are bright light sources coming from the spell that Jace is casting. There should be shadows! I did miss the shadows for the upper left strands, but you can see the difference between the two. 

These little changes aren’t something that are needed in an alter, but can help bring the piece to life.

To be honest these first tries are on par if not better than mine. Keep practicing and you’ll get there! Don’t work just off of feedback from others, but combine it with trial and error projects of your own. I’ve found that using information gained from others only goes so far before you have to come up with some things on your own!

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