Cover by Grace D Palmer

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February 2008

February 2008 -- Rats



  • Behind the Art:
    Sketching in the Field
  • Myths and Symbols:
    The Crafty One
  • Wombat Droppings:
    Rules of Art
  • Artist Spotlight:
    The Art and Life of Sulamith Wulfing
  • Healthy Green Artists:
    Making It Last!
  • EMG News:
    EMG news for February 2008


  • The Gimp for Beginners: Two Basic Tasks
  • I Knew It Would Come To This: Painting Walkthrough


  • Poem: Smithkin's Rats
  • Fiction: Oh, Rats


  • Falheria: Rats!
  • Tomb of the King: The Map, Pt 1

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  • I Knew It Would Come To This: Painting Walkthrough
    by Amy Edwards

    page 1 ~ page 2 ~ page 3 ~ page 4 ~ page 5

    Step 18

    Again, adding more and more highlights gradually. Just for a bit of variation (too much of the same color will flatten it), I add a bit more yellow to my peach color and using a very low opacity brush, lay some gentle highlights over left edge of the bottle. This smoothes things out a little, and any overly harsh sections I gently smooth out with a combination of the blur and smudge tools set on a low strength.

    I also pick some light blue up on my brush, and do a very low-opacity highlight on the dark side of the bottle. Unlike the skin, the warm side of the bottle is the lit side, while the cool side is the shaded side. I reason that the warmth is probably likely to be taken out of the light as it passes through the glass due to rayleigh scattering. In real life, I doubt the difference would be as noticeable as I've made it in my painting, but I'm exaggerating it to try to get depth - when looking at a flat screen/canvas, sometimes the eye needs a bit extra to convince it to see the items in the painting as anything other than flat.

    Step 19

    Here, I've added a couple of harder, lighter centers to the bottle's highlights, and am starting to add a label. Using a small brush with a medium to high opacity, I paint in the label, being sure to use my darks. I'm also keeping in mind the shape of the bottle - my label is supposed to be old and torn, but despite the jagged edges, it still needs to curve around the glass.

    Step 20

    Next, I add text to my label. What I do here is just type whatever text I want using a font that I think is suitable, using a very dark brown color. What I type isn't of huge consequence (in the end you won't be able to read it clearly), so I type:
    "Rattus norvegicus (it's the latin name of domestic rats)
    bottled rat

    Using Photoshop's text wrap feature, I curve the text to a similar angle to the label, so it'll look like it belongs on the bottle.

    Step 21

    Now, I get to work on the text. Firstly, I add ink splatters. Next, I use the smudge tool to go all over the text as though I'm writing it - I don't want the font to look uniform, so I smudge letters into a more "handwritten" shape with inconsistencies. Then, using an eraser on a low opacity, I erase random bits of text, and then using a small brush, paint in blobs of ink on letters, and use my smudge tool to smear the "ink" across the label, like somebody accidentally wiped their hand across it while the ink was still wet. Whoever wrote this label is really obviously not in the running for any penmanship awards...

    Step 22

    Now I'm making my label look faded. The text is pretty hard to read now, but that doesn't matter. I'm painting over the top in low opacity with my blue-grey from my palette, in a way that I hope will make it look old, faded and maybe a tad dusty. The label, after all, isn't supposed to be the focus - my wee rattikin is.

    On to the next step!

    Reprinted with permission from Amy Edwards's website,

    Amy Edwards

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