Firefly – Traditional inks with Digital Shading


This is the reworking of an ink drawing I made at Christmas time.  I photographed it in and then toned it digitally.

Here is the basic pencil sketch…


Here is an ink outline…


Here is the completed traditional ink drawing…


And this is the digitally toned image…


My main aim in toning this drawing was to give it a sense of light radiating from the firefly’s abdomen.  I had to find a happy medium between showing the firefly’s light and not making the whole image too dark.  There were two background densities where this might work.  One was using a dark enough background that the leaf the fly is sitting on looks a mid to light tone and the other is this one (above), where the flirefly’s light is less obvious but the rest of the drawing can still be clearly seen.  I added a selected part of a lenflare to the firefly to push the sense of light coming from it’s abdomen and then rolled the effect back to about 60% so it wasn’t too intense.  I’m not sure I got the balance right with this.

4 thoughts on “Firefly – Traditional inks with Digital Shading

  1. I do think you got the balance right with this. But we all have our own opinions, right? Maybe sometimes we’re just too close to our work to decide.


  2. Exactly, it’s a tricky balance! However, when I tried a darker background which made it shine really well I lost about half of the line art. Thanks for commenting, it’s much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tricky stuff to do, the balance, as it also my depend on the screen us readers are viewing it on. I sort of know what you mean, though, if I hadn’t seen your title I mightn’t have immediately twigged this was a firefly. Still, the execution was admirable, the insect had a real sense of being three-dimensional. As always I’m in awe of your attention to detail and your finish.

    Liked by 1 person

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