Sunday, May 8, 2016

How to do Web Art on the Cheap--using Sketchbook

From ""
I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.  Georgia O'Keefe via BrainyQuote
Bad artists always admire each other's work.   Oscar Wilde. 
And now, as the intro for Monty Python goes, "for something completely different".


As those of you who have been following this blog know, I'm authoring ebooks (first royalty check:  $0.56 --yes, there is a decimal point in front of the 5).  As several editors told me on rejecting my project summaries about science and Catholic teaching,  this isn't a marketable topic--could you do something more exciting?   So, it isn't cost-effective for me to hire commercial artists.   I've decided to use a graphics tool, Sketchbook Pro, which has received good reviews and costs only $29 /year.  (A limited utility, Sketchbook, is available for free.)

This is not going to be a how-to post; I'm not that expert and there are all the YouTube videos that can be explored. Rather, I'll try to show how it works for  the cover of my forthcoming ebook, "Top Down to Jesus, Book 3: Truth Can Not Contradict Truth", which discusses the non-existent war between science and the Church.   I've also used it for animations in a forthcoming iBook edition of "The Quantum Catholic"


Backgroun Layer
Sketchbook works in layers, which is good for the tyro--you can goof up one layer and delete without having to scrap all the rest. The starting point is then a background layer. Here's the one I chose for the third book of my series, "Top Down to Jesus".

It uses several of the tools available in Sketchbook: color palette, radial gradient fill, cropping and image sizing.


Since I'm not an artist, I use free images, ones in the Public Domain, available either from wikimedia commons, obtained by doing a search, wikimedia commons image ???? (replace the question marks by the image subject), from Canva, Pixabay or  many other outfits found from a search "free images".     

My third book is on "science and the Church",  so I wanted a cover that would show that God comes first--whence the hand of God creating DNA.   I took as one image, Michelango's "The Creation of Adam";
Michelangeolo's "Creation of Adam"
from wikimedia Commons

the other a DNA molecular model image of DNA.
Molecular Model of DNA
from Wikimedia Commons
Each image is  put into a separate layer, placed, sized, cropped and trimmed with the Sketchbook tools to get a superposed image.    


The final step is putting title and author onto the cover.   Sketchbook has a number of font styles and sizes available, so there's an embarrasse de riches...what to choose from!    I'll show below two different styles;  I've not yet decided which I'll use.

Book Covers, "Truth Can Not Contradict Truth"


One can also do simple animations with Sketchbook.   I chose one that would illustrate Schrodinger's Cat Paradox:   to show the classical physics situation I used an animation switching between dead cat (radioactivity emitted, HCN released) and live cat (no radioactivity, no broken flask of HCN)   The animation doesn't load onto this blog, but does in the iBook (hint: buy it when it comes out!).

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