Digital Painting Illustration: The Green Frog


I really got lost in my photoshop layers with this one, but it was worth it.


the original layout came from a detail of the mural I painted in my son’s nursery.

by Robert Conway
Here is an example of one of the digitally imaged illustrations that I have been toying around with from time to time in my studio. A lot of these illustrations are just experiments, it is all hit or miss since unlike my paintings, I do not have any layout of them before I start, it is all in my head and like I have mentioned before that always leads to a long drawn out crawl to the finish line. I just make it up all in photoshop, just moving my elements on layers all around until somethings clicks. This digital method is by no means as fun as painting, it is all just a lot of cursors and mouse clicking in the end, taking a brush to canvas is just more enjoyable.

I have a large library of these digital textures that I like to incorporate into my photoshop illustration work, most of these saved jpegs are from digital photos I have taken over the years during annual visits to New York’s American Museum of Natural History, a place I like to think of as the texture capital of the world. So many textures, such little time, I highly recommend perusing through exhibits like the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians, the Hall of Vertebrate Origins and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals to photograph all types of digital goodness. I spend a lot of time altering these textures by using a variety of adjustment layers in photoshop, I use hue and saturation change the color of my images and then I use curves in order to boast up the contrast of the textures. Sometimes I like to draw something in Adobe Illustrator and then import it into photoshop and play around with it a little bit like the orange vines in the background of the frog painting. This frog artwork also includes one of my smoke filters in the background which I made out of the cyan channel of a picture I took of a group of clouds, I have been accused of using this effect too much but I cannot help it, anytime I am struggling with an illustration I pull out the old smoke filter and then everything seems to work out alright.

March 7, 2014


21 thoughts on “Digital Painting Illustration: The Green Frog

  1. Hi Bob, been a way for awhile, sorry haven’t been here to visit!! I am not good at all with layers ..I start to do it in photoshop and then go on to something else. after looking at your work…..I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUR FROG!!! I was sort of in a down mood but he sure made me smile…so cute..great job..
    See you after the New Years have a wonderful Christmas and New Years to you and your family
    Love your site!!!!!

    • ha ha happy holidays Sherri. I am so glad you like my little green friend it took a long time in photoshop to get him just right. i am glad it made you smile. using layers is great you should give them another try you will be happy that you did. great to hear from you – ๐Ÿ™‚ robert

  2. This is really good, I like how you transformed the original mural part. Would you maybe elaborate more sometime on the differences for you between digital and traditional painting?

    • when I do the digital artwork I am basically winging it, it is mostly in my head and it is mostly all experimentation. with digital art you always have the luxury of undoing something that does not look right so you can really travel down a lot of roads creatively. when I do a painting it has to be all worked out with little or no room for experimentation because I am always so wary of making mistakes that would be a real pain to correct. anyhow this formula of doing it two different ways seems to satisfy me. I have just recently purchased the Procreate paint app for my ipad, can’t wait to have fun with that.

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