hornet black and whitehornet colours

Photoshop allows you to colour your drawings reaching fantastic effects, but – I was thinking – what if you have to colour a black and white jpg?

I have found on the internet this drawing of Hornet from Heroes from the North, played by Marie-Claude Bourbonnais. I don’t know the author, but if you do, I’d gladly credit him.

To get rid of the white, I changed the blending mode of the layer to MULTIPLY and I put it on the top.

Below, every layer holds a specific part of the drawing (background, shirt, skin, eyes, glasses and hair).
Each layer has 2 clipping masks, one for the shadows and one for the lights.

I used a hard brush for the flats and a very soft one for the shadows and lights.

At the end, I corrected the colours with a VIBRANCE and a HUE/SATURATION adjustment layer.

This is a pretty fast process and I like the result. Do you?




Monti Minaccia FacebookIt can be tricky to explain to a non-Italian what a Technical Government is, but basically in November 20011 our Government acknowledged that things were so messy in my Country and Politician had no clue on what to do, so they asked someone who was supposed to be smarter to clean up what they did, so that they could come back and mess up again.

That person is Mario Monti, chief of our Government of Technicians.

But he started liking to be there, and after a year he decided to run for the elections, although he doesn’t know much about gaining the trust of the people.
Because even if he has been considered great by our politicians for doing their dirty job, many Italians (yours faithful included) didn’t like him at all because he just raised taxes and did whatever Germany asked him to.

So when he opened his account on Facebook he was initially flabbergasted by the tens of thousands people who liked his page, just lately understanding that the most of them did it to tell what they thought about him.
In a few days he skipped from enthusiasm to hanger and threats to prosecute anyone who will offend in on Facebook, and I immediately thought his status deserved a drawing of me suggesting all the readers to tell him GENTLY to @@@@ off.

To realize this drawing in Adobe Illustrator I first sketched myself using a customized PAINTBRUSH TOOL, then in another layer below that one I colored the illustration using the BLOB BRUSH TOOL.
For the shadowing I duplicated the color layer putting the shadow layer between the other two and  I darkened all the tints. Then with the ERASER TOOL I took out the portions I didn’t want, leaving the shadows.

I like this technique very much.

For the monitor, I made a PRINT SCREEN of Monti’s page and then I applied over the JPG a clipping mask the shape of the monitor.


gabriel_curringtonLately I have seen a really bad photo retouchment of Prince William on the cover of Hello magazine. Apparently, the fact that he is becoming bald is a great deal in UK.

After my initial shock, I started to think how I would do in case of a heavy photo retouchment that doesn’t have to look realistic, nor that awful.

So I picked a picture of my friend, British Film Composer Gabriel Currington, to make a test, and I treated the original picture like a drawing, instead of using the usual tools.

Honestly, he didn’t like the result. I still have to make up my mind. It’s obviously a photoshopped picture, but it’s different from the usual Photoshop jobs that try to cheat on being real, so I don’t mind it.

gabriel_currington_modified2To achieve this result I redrew his face using different sizes of paint brushes, playing with their hardness and opacity. After painting his face in a new layer using a flat color for the base, in each additional layer I focused my attention on the lights and shadows, using the techniques I use to ink my illustrations.

I redrew his eyes giving more lights and reflections.
Notice also how I redrew his jaw. In my version the shape of his jaw looks more unnatural, but I find it accentuates his manhood.

Lastly, I retouched his hair painting over it the wall and the monitor. That gave it a more pleasant shape.


London is especially beautiful in Crhristmas time.
Lately I went to watch the latest james Bond film to a private screening at the Sony Pictures headquarters and they had a gigantic Christmas Tree. But when I have seen the picture I took I found out that the lightening was far from the real thing.

So I asked to myself: how can I enhance its lights?

Below you find the original picture and the final effect with the lightening enhancement, and I’ll explain you briefly how I reached this result.


1 – With the picture of a Christmas Tree open, make a new layer and call it LIGHTS.

2 – Select the right color for your lights.

3 – Select the brush tool with the proper size for your lights, Hardness 0% and the SOFT ROUND PRESSURE OPACITY (the fifth default brush in the brush palette from left) and Hopacity 100%..

4 – With the Brush tool selected, click on all the lights. If you have lights of different colors, change your foreground color.

5 – Make a copy of the background picture, name it BACKGROUND 2, put the layer on the top and set the blending mode to Overlay. This way you simulate the volume of the tree, with part of it covering the lights you added and creating more shadows.

The effect is done, now we need some color adjustments.

6 – Create a new Exposure Adjustment Layer and set the values as you like.

7 – Create a new Vibrance Adjustment Layer and set the values as you like.

8 – Create a new layer on the top of all and color it in black. Set the blending mode to Soft Light and the transparency to 20%. This enhances the shadows without affecting the lights you added.

And it’s done!