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How to Draw Like Lisa B.

MY ILLUSTRATIONS WERE created digitally, but I tried to give them an air of old-timey authenticity by basing them on real 19th century photographs. Here’s how they were created:

I started with an old photograph. I tried to find photos of people who closely matched the image I had of the character in my head. This was Quinn. I’ll post more of my models in a later blog entry here.

Step 1

Model for Quinn, from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Sometimes I reworked the photo by hand, tracing and sketching and scanning it back into the computer.

hand sketch

For group photos, I occasionally took different characters out of different photographs and made a composite.

hand sketch

Other times I simply traced the photograph as it appeared on my computer screen. I used a software program called Adobe Illustrator. It’s a vector-based drawing program, which means it’s a bit like creating one’s own dot-to-dot.

After tracing, I filled in the elements with blocks of flat color.

Then I refined the art with thin lines and more color. I often played with the hair or clothes, if what I wanted the character to look like differed from the original photograph.

Finally, I added the background. I made the background patterns by tracing old Victorian wallpaper patterns.


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5 Responses

  1. This is the most illuminating drawing lesson I have ever had!
    But, alas, no one can draw like Lisa B.

  2. Thank you for posting this – I was wondering about your creative process. As always, a beautiful blend of digital and hand drawn techniques.

  3. Beautiful! I always love hearing what people’s *techne* is- to get all Classical Greek on ya…

  4. Really interesting process! I love how unique it is, but yet you feel you are reaching back in the past through the illustrations. Just lovely.

  5. This is almost the same way as my son Daniele (11) makes his drawings on pc (but mostly with Fantasy characters).
    Very good results without wasting a lot of paper.



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