Grrrrr by Valerie (Valry) Drake

Typically I am fairly good at technical stuff since my day job deals with technology. But recently a technical issue has really messed up one of my art pieces. I still haven’t resolved the situation but let me tell you about it.

I have been doing a series of colored pencil abstracts for my product line on cafe press and, overall, they have been going very well. They take about 20 hours each but they are turning out close to the vision I have had. Well, at least they are getting closer. Anyway, I do the art piece and then scan it and do a little editing to get it ready for the product line on cafe press, including turning the background transparent, and then upload the art to their web site and position it on the gift items. It has not been an interesting project.

Recently I did a piece that I really like. It has one area that is very intricate and is layers of ivory, pale yellow, warm Indian yellow, and white. The piece also has bright honey-colored “drips”. The colors are exactly what I was trying to achieve and the details are perfect. It is very unusual to have the finished piece end up being quite so close to the vision and I am very pleased with this piece.

Although it was challenging and time consuming to produce, the real problem started after it was finished. I took it to be scanned and when I got home and opened the file, all my beautiful rich golden ivory color was gone! It was gray and white! Bummer. So I took it back to be rescanned. Same result. I took it to a high-end reprographics shop and they had the same result. Evidently the wax in colored pencil creates a reflection in the scanner. Combined with the light color in this area it reflects enough light to create a “hot spot” which washes out all the color. One lesson learned: yellow is a difficult color for a scanner to handle accurately.

Okay. So I tried taking a photo of it. I’m losing a LOT of detail. Also, the background is supposed to be white and for some reason a photo is making it look sepia-tone. The darker background is almost impossible to convert to transparent which creates a new set of problems in utilizing this image for my cafe press product line. However, this is the best I’ve gotten so far. I have one more thing to try taking the photo outside on a bright day and the weather has not been cooperating with that.

We live in a time when it is not enough to create the art we want. We also have to learn the technical skills to present our art. I am still working on that.

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