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Drawing: Slugs with a Computer Mouse

Here's a simple way to draw slugs using any paint program and a mouse! (No Tablet! Just a mouse!) A tablet can give you more control, of course, and works just as well with this technique!

(NOTE: I say draw, but it's really more of sculpting as you will see)

Step 1

Firstly, we need some reference to know what slugs look like, so we turn to the online artist's best friend: Google Image Search!

Typing in 'slug' produces various satisfactory results: Here's a picture that will do nicely:

Step 2

It's always a good idea to work at at least TWICE the size of your intended image size. This is a graphics technique called "Super Sampling". More on that later.

Anyway, we start by roughly copying out what the slug looks like with the mouse and the pencil/brush tool:

Not exactly a work of art, innit?

Don't worry. As long as you get the overall shape right, we can work with this fine.

Step 3

We switch our brush color to white and start nibbling away the areas we don't want. Think of it as sculpting. You're removing the unwanted plaster to reveal the actual 'sculpture'.

Using this technique you can get pointed edges on your digital drawing, something you can't do with the mouse if you just draw in black.

Don't be afraid to 'eat' into the black areas, you can always switch to black and paint over that again:

While we're at it, let's add some details we've missed. Yaay! The slug looks like a pretty respectable slug now!

Step 4

Now for colour! Any respectable paint program has a paint bucket tool which will allow you to colour your images within seconds!

Remember what I said about working at double your intended size?

This is particularly useful here, since if you work at small sizes, the paint bucket tool tends to produce nasty little white fringes that simply do not look good.

But if you work at double the size (4x is even better) the white edges are still there, but because they're so small when you shrink the image down later they will virtually disappear!

Step 5

Shading. Use the lasso tool to select the areas you want to shade. Don't worry if the selection goes out of boundries, it won't really matter, I'll explain why later.

Switch back to the paint bucket tool and pick darker version of the colours you've already used for the slug. Then click the areas you want to shade that should be within the slection area.

You'll notice the paint won't travel over the black areas, but will stay in the colour area, thus making pretty cool shadows. This is because the paint bucker tool only replaces the colours with the same value as the pixel it's click on. Which is very handy for us. :)

But slugs are shiny, aren't they? So we'll add some highlights using the same technique: but with lighter colors, of course:

Step 6

For some extra brownie points maybe we'll add those little white dots, but it's not really necessary if you don't want to:

A quick recap of the steps:

Shrink it down and save... And that's it.

Pretty close resemblance, no?

Using the mouse uninterrupted, it'll take me about ten minutes to draw this slug. Using a tablet you could probably do it in five. And I didn't use any of Photoshops's fancy features either. I could have done the same thing here using *shudder* MS Paint!

Who says digital art with a mouse is hard? Drawing with a mouse is. Sculpting with one is not!

So have fun with the slugs, and everything else you might chose to produce with this technique!

Ping's Note: This tutorial dedicated to Reasoned Cognition and Yuri the Slug. Because Science Comics rock!

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