Producing Illustrations for a Role-Playing Game Article with AKVIS Sketch

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Tutorial: AKVIS Sketch

Producing Illustrations for an RPG article


The author of this tutorial is Ian Plumb. Read his story below:

Self-publishing can be a long and arduous road. It gets much longer and far more expensive if you want your work to be professionally illustrated. Thankfully in AKVIS Sketch we have a product that allows quality illustrations to be made from photographs by a would-be self-publisher.

I write articles about tabletop gaming, in particular role-playing games. While I would like to be able to illustrate these articles myself, I have not been blessed with the ability to draw. Nor am I able to afford to commission freelance artwork on a regular basis. Usually my articles are simple text; occasionally I am able to include a suitable photograph.

Periodically over the years I have tried to use Photoshop to convert photographs into illustrations. For me, this was very time-consuming and the results were often hit or miss – sometimes they looked really good, more often they were just a waste of effort. Recently I downloaded the free 10-day trial of AKVIS Sketch. I just wanted to see whether there had been any improvement at all in the technology in recent years.

Put simply I was astonished by the results.

Here is a photograph of a small figurine sculpted and painted by the amazing Allan Carrasco ( It has been photographed against a plain backdrop.

    Original image Result
  • Step 1. Open AKVIS Sketch. By default it opens in Express mode with the AKVIS Default preset selected. Open the photograph.

    Original image
    Original Image
  • Step 2. You are presented with the image in the Before tab and a small Preview window. The Preview window can be dragged around the image to see how the conversion will look on different sections of the photograph. Selecting the After tab runs the conversion on the full image.

    AKVIS Sketch comes with a small selection of Presets. They present a well-rounded set of possibilities for your illustration. I find myself using the AKVIS Default, AKVIS B&W Sketch, and AKVIS Color Pencil High presets on a regular basis.

    In Express mode you still have a variety of sliders to play with – and the ability to save these configurations as your own Presets. For example, AKVIS Default sets the Midtones Hatching slider to 95 and the Edge Strength slider to 80. You might find though that for a particular image that the Edge Strength is a little high – and so you can reduce the slider, run the conversion, and check the resulting image.

    While the Express mode is fun to play with the real power in AKVIS Sketch is to be found in the Advanced mode. You have far more control over the resulting image than in Express mode. You can also add texture to the canvas and add text to the image. This will come in very handy if you are using the Standalone version of AKVIS Sketch.

    AKVIS Sketch Workspace
    AKVIS Sketch Workspace
  • Step 3. The image below shows the image resulting from transforming the photograph with the AKVIS Color Pencil High preset. I am extremely happy with this image, and would happily use images like this to illustrate my articles. AKVIS Sketch has opened up a world of possibilities for me.

    Sketch Drawing
    Sketch Drawing
How It Works How It Works
   — Workspace — Workspace
   — Using the Program — Using the Program
   — Classic Style — Classic Style
   — Artistic Style — Artistic Style
   — Timeline — Timeline
   — Toolbar — Toolbar
   — Background Effects — Background Effects
   — Adding a Frame — Adding a Frame
   — Text and Watermark — Text and Watermark
   — Drawing on a Canvas — Drawing on a Canvas
   — Presets — Presets
   — Preferences — Preferences
   — Batch Processing — Batch Processing
Examples Examples
   — Pencil Sketch: Let's Draw a Tulip — Pencil Sketch: Let's Draw a Tulip
   — Convert a Photo to a Color Sketch — Convert a Photo to a Color Sketch
   — Transform a Video into a Cartoon — Transform a Video into a Cartoon
   — Sketch Gallery — Sketch Gallery
   — Pastel Drawing Technique — Pastel Drawing Technique
   — AKVIS Sketch in Architecture — AKVIS Sketch in Architecture
   — Graphite Pencil Portrait — Graphite Pencil Portrait
   — Watercolor Drawing — Watercolor Drawing
   — Artistic Processing — Artistic Processing
   — Watercolor Painting out of Photo — Watercolor Painting out of Photo
   — Winter Dream: Fairy-Tale Forest — Winter Dream: Fairy-Tale Forest
   — A Woman in a Tub: a Real Work of Art — A Woman in a Tub: a Real Work of Art
   — Watercolor Portrait — Watercolor Portrait
   — Pencil Sketch of a Pet — Pencil Sketch of a Pet
   — Postcard Framed in Pencil Drawing — Postcard Framed in Pencil Drawing
   — Baseball Photo to Color Drawing — Baseball Photo to Color Drawing
   — Make a Sketch from a Wolf Photo — Make a Sketch from a Wolf Photo
   — Motorshow: a Pencil Drawing — Motorshow: a Pencil Drawing
   — Wild Beast of Prey: Watercolor — Wild Beast of Prey: Watercolor
   — A Hand Draws a Hand — A Hand Draws a Hand
   — Convert Vector Drawing to Sketch — Convert Vector Drawing to Sketch
   — Portrait out of a Newspaper Clipping — Portrait out of a Newspaper Clipping
   — Quiet Harbor: a Watercolor Painting — Quiet Harbor: a Watercolor Painting
   — A Little Girl: B&W Pencil Sketch — A Little Girl: B&W Pencil Sketch
   — Westmuir Street in Glasgow — Westmuir Street in Glasgow
   — Sweet Couple: Create a Postcard — Sweet Couple: Create a Postcard
   — Black-and-White Image in Photo Frame — Black-and-White Image in Photo Frame
   — Dream to Reality: How to Blend... — Dream to Reality: How to Blend...
   — Christmas Card from a Photo — Christmas Card from a Photo
   — Artist at Work — Artist at Work
   — Friends in a Cafe: Sketch&Blur — Friends in a Cafe: Sketch&Blur
   — Versailles: Traveling to the Past — Versailles: Traveling to the Past
   — Drawing on Aged Paper — Drawing on Aged Paper
   — Self-Expression: Sketch in a Minute — Self-Expression: Sketch in a Minute
   — Two Beloved Dogs — Two Beloved Dogs
   — Orchid: Drawing in Watercolor Pencil — Orchid: Drawing in Watercolor Pencil
   — Shiny Apple: An Artist's Touch — Shiny Apple: An Artist's Touch
   — Cardinal: A Scene From Nature — Cardinal: A Scene From Nature
   — Variations On A Rose — Variations On A Rose
   — Cute Girl: а Pastel Drawing on Paper — Cute Girl: а Pastel Drawing on Paper
   — On a Bright Street (Sketch&Photo) — On a Bright Street (Sketch&Photo)
   — Mount Saint Michel Watercolor — Mount Saint Michel Watercolor
   — Gala Evening — Gala Evening
   — Radiant Girl: a Detailed Color Portrait — Radiant Girl: a Detailed Color Portrait
   — Parisian Chic — Parisian Chic
   — Toy Story: Create Your Own Comics — Toy Story: Create Your Own Comics
   — Video Clip Processing — Video Clip Processing
   — Creation of a Short-Film Storyboard — Creation of a Short-Film Storyboard
   — Smudging Technique on a Sketch — Smudging Technique on a Sketch
   — Making Embroidery Patterns — Making Embroidery Patterns
   — Quicktime Transition — Quicktime Transition
   — Red Oleander (Old Drawing Effect) — Red Oleander (Old Drawing Effect)
   — Seeing Eye Dog (Comic Book) — Seeing Eye Dog (Comic Book)
   — Produce Illustrations for an RPG Article — Produce Illustrations for an RPG Article
   — Student Project: City by Water — Student Project: City by Water
   — Timeline: Stop the moment! — Timeline: Stop the moment!
   — Sunny Sketch — Sunny Sketch
   — Electric Horses: Glowing Drawing — Electric Horses: Glowing Drawing
   — Reflections on the Garry Oak — Reflections on the Garry Oak
   — Creating a 3D Drawing — Creating a 3D Drawing


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