Occasionally I have people mention my business as ‘Purple Horse Photography.’ Which, by all accounts of the last three years would seem accurate.
But, when I came up with the name, I specifically chose ‘Designs’ because I didn’t start out doing photography.
Working from home, I began learning how to design websites, logos, and other graphics. It was when I decided to get a decent camera to make sure I could supply quality photographs for website clients, that everything changed. I pretty quickly abandoned websites and graphics to focus on photography.
Growing up, I was constantly drawing. My book covers were constantly covered in artwork and notebooks were filled with little doodles in every corner. I’ve played with lots of different mediums, and always enjoyed all types of art.
Now, with computers and the ease of creating art and images in programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, I find myself having fun playing around with photos, shapes, and textures to make fun graphics. I’ve also had my Wacom tablet long enough that now that I’m comfortable drawing on it just as I would with a pencil and paper.
While it may seem like the designs I’ve been putting on mugs and phone cases are a departure from my photography, it’s quite the opposite. Each design comes straight from one my photos!
In fact, when I had a booth at PVDA’s Ride for Life Benefit Dressage Show this past summer, one rider managed to recognize another who had been put on a mug!
Recently, I created a line of horse themed designs for cell phone cases to be sold through Atlantek Designs. I thought I would show where one of those designs came from!
In the spring of 2016, I photographed the Young Horse Show held at Penmerryl Farm in Greenville, Virginia. Most of the shots were taken in an indoor arena with low, inconsistent lighting, making for a blah background, lots of grain in the photos, and some motion blur, due to the need to use lower than ideal shutter speeds.
However, shots like this are great for turning into silhouettes or using as a reference for another piece of artwork.
I decided to use these two photos of Finishing Touch, owned by High Point Hanoverians, and handled by the ever wonderful Quinnten Alston.
When choosing photos for silhouettes, I look for good overall shapes, four clean and distinct legs, proper timing of the gait, and an appropriate look.
Youth and awkward growing stages can be conveyed in a horse’s shape, so I am careful with using images of yearlings and two year olds. I don’t like having legs bunched up in a silhouette, or a horse caught in an unflattering moment in it’s movement.
The first step is separating the horse from the background in Photoshop.
And then, I touch up the shape and fill in any gaps by hand. For instance, here, Finishing Touch is wearing a bridle and has his mane braided. Appropriate for the show he was attending, but not so much for a horse running free.
So, I erased the lumps caused by the bridle and added some mane hair. I also added his hind hoof back where it was cut off by the arena dirt, gave him a fuller tail, and generally cleaned up the lines. Sometimes, things we don’t notice in a photograph – like a specific curve of a muscle – are obvious and awkward in a silhouette.
Once both images have been cut out, I can do lots of fun things with them! Change colors, textures, and sizes.
One of the ways I used them was to create a pattern for this phone case designed for Atlantek Designs.
I plan on showing more of these breakdowns, so stay tuned!
Shop this phone case and more in AtlantekDesigns’ store here.