First Time for Everything!
Ok, so this is my first real how-to blog.
Though it happens to be on a subject I know little about, circumstances have forced me to teach myself how to use a program called Inkscape.
In my own quest to learn, I have searched, read, and watched dozens of tutorials like many people out there – found some good ones, great ones, and not-so-good ones too.
I did not go to school for art, nor did I have much interest in being an artist by trade, but I believe that a bit of courage to ‘try’ and teach yourself something is all you need to produce something that you can be happy with, whether it is useful to you or not.
It took me a very long time to get to this point because I never used to believe that trying was enough – that you had to have that special sauce, the talent, the power, the money, the schooling, the triforce, the permission, and all those other things I used to tell myself to keep me from just ‘trying’ anything.
If you want to do anything in life, you have to and CAN start somewhere right?
Why am I writing a tutorial?
My husband and I decided to follow our dreams of creating and publishing computer games and smartphone apps.
The idea was that he would be the techie programmer dude that would be responsible for game design and the overall development process. My role, as I was trained, was to be the jack-of-all-trades admin guru – I would keep us organized, find people, money, and opportunities, and market our company and products to the masses. Two very complex and difficult roles for each of us to fill (although I think programming is probably much more mentally taxing), and you guessed it – a heck of a lot of time and money required to get there.
For years we have been searching for artists to either join our team or to make graphics, sprites, backgrounds, and animations, that we would purchase the rights to for each product.
As I learned more about the process, I came to realize we had a huge dilemma:
If we wanted high quality graphics, it was going to cost as much as $50K per project (average quote given by art studios we contacted based on specs for ONE game app) – money that we simply do not have access to at this time.
If we were going to get art from “starving artists/college kids” with no experience, we could get the work on the cheap or for free, but we could not expect them to understand what we need, deliver it, or be responsive IN GENERAL. In this case, many of the young college students that were excited about becoming graphic designers, 2d spriters, animators, etc, had not thought to develop a portfolio of their work (even if they were only assignments). When asked to do something, they almost never delivered, and sadly, some just didn’t feel confident about what they do, and some (sorry to say it) are just flat out too lazy to do things on their own. That is not to say that they weren’t nice or capable people – I think it just reveals who is ready to put their skills to work and who is not.
*To those of you that did and do deliver – you rock! I respect that kind of will and perseverance with a dash of ‘balls’ to develop your own craft without waiting for a degree or for someone else to say that you are good enough. We all know that talent alone does not guarantee success.
What does this have to do with Inkscape and turning a picture into a cartoon?
The list of resources needed to fill our art needs is growing. Hence, I wanted to see if I can teach myself ANYTHING about art that can help us reduce our resource requirement as an indie game studio. Even if the only thing I can do it make text, color pictures, or make sexy circles – these details add to the production value of a product.
Being able to fill these holes ourselves saves us $$$ and, well – makes me feel just that much more darn-tootin’ about what I can contribute to the process!
Back to the point:
Personally, I have had some difficulty with tutorials that are labeled for beginners because sometimes the tutorial writer sometimes doesn’t think about the minute details, doesn’t explain how they transitioned from one step to the other, or forgets about removing the language ‘barrier’ between technically trained artists and ‘the rest of us’, so to speak. For these reasons, I have found video tutorials to be the most helpful in my own learning process. However, you should choose the methods that work best for you – as each person can learn to do well regardless of how one learns.
Some of my favorite tutorial videos are by tutor4u on YouTube because the narrator is thorough, speaks clearly, and has a nice pace set throughout the videos – this made it easy to listen, pause the video if needed, repeat steps in case I did it wrong, etc. He is using an older Inkscape version I believe, but it looks the same to me I still find them to be very useful.
- Inkscape: 8-ball tutorial
- Inkscape: Blur and Clip Technique
- Inkscape: Swirls and Flourishes
- Inkscape: Filters for Powerful Image Transformations
- Full library of tutor4u videos
The tutorial I will post in the next few days is an attempt to show in as basic, simple, and thorough as possible, how to use Inkscape to turn a picture into a cartoon.
This is for the person with very limited, to zero knowledge of artistic tools, software, and/or terminology (like myself). Whether you want to do this for fun or for some project of your own, the point is – you can learn how to do this without a background in art or fancy art programs.
You can haz TRIFORCE?
How to Cartoonify a Picture using Inkscape: for people who know nothing about Inkscape: GETTING STARTED