Drawing digital art is always a nice change of pace from drawing with traditional medium. However, drawing digital art can get harder (and more time-consuming) when you lack the appropriate programs intended for producing digital art that make life easier (e.g. Adobe Photoshop, drawing tablets, ect.). I don’t draw digital art on a normal basis, and therefore don’t own Photoshop nor a tablet. For me, I just own a scanner and Macromedia Flash MX, which is a program mainly geared for producing animations, not drawings. However, I found some tricks that make drawing in Flash MX (and Flash 5, ect.) easier.
The are basically two ways to draw line art for digital art: draw them on the computer, or draw them by hand.
Flash has a few basic tools, such as the ‘pencil’, ‘pen’, ‘line’, and ‘brush’ tool. Using only a mouse to produce nice and smooth lines using the ‘pencil’ or ‘brush’ tool is a bit difficult; you get very used to using the “undo” button. It’s easier when you use a tablet. The ‘pen’ and ‘line’ tool is easier to use with a mouse; however, if your drawing involves many curves, the drawing process becomes tedious and time-consuming as each curve usually requires a new line. Hence, I prefer the second method of drawing line art: drawing by hand.
When you’re drawing the line art by hand, which is to be used for the actual line art in your digital artwork, you want your lines to be as crisp as possible. You want to be able to scan in your line art, delete all the white spaces so that you are left with only lines, and then colour it in. Therefore, use pen to outline your work and erase any pencil marks, unless your scanner is very good at not picking up pencil lines. Scan your drawn work in black and white, and then import your image to Flash.
Now onto the part where we delete all non-line-art parts of your scanned image. There are two tools you can use: 1) the ‘magic wand’ tool which is found under the ‘lasso’ tool, or 2) the ‘trace bitmap’ option. The ‘magic wand’ tool is fairly simple to use: click all the white parts of your image, and press ‘delete’.
That’s what I used to do before, until I found the ‘trace bitmap’ option. With the ‘magic wand’ tool, your lines tend to be rough, and if you have a complex image, then you’ve got a lot of white spaces to click away.
The better option is to use Modify > Trace Bitmap. It automatically smooths the lines for you, and generally does a better job than the ‘magic wand’.
It’s a slight difference, but it makes a huge difference. You don’t even need to delete all your white parts before you can start colouring. You can just grab that ‘paint bucket’ tool and go nuts. Makes life very easy. If your image was strictly black and white to begin with, then your line art should be a distinct and separate part of the image. Meaning, you should be able to fill in a blank part of the image without distorting your lineart.
So, I hope these tips help when making digital art if you are using Macromedia Flash! As always, if you have any additional tips, we’d love to hear them!
And finally, the finished image: