Over a decade ago, I started taking pictures on some of my many trips to enjoy hiking and backpacking around the country. I have stacks and stacks of slides from Utah, Washington state, and Colorado. When digital cameras got cheap enough to be affordable, I started accumulating digital photos. When cameras got better, I upgraded a few times. I read photography books to better understand manual camera settings, and eventually, I started capturing some pretty darned good pictures. Photographing nature is an awful lot of fun.
Also about ten years ago I got interested in painting and drawing, specifically with pastels. I love the vivid colors you can get with pastel paint sticks and started playing around with creating landscape drawings. I am pretty terrible at that. I’d actually display one of my photographs on my computer screen and try to recreate the image on paper. All of my attempts looked bad. Really bad.
This year, I discovered a way to translate my photographs into paintings: grayscale coloring. The idea is to convert photos to grayscale–just black and white–then color over the gray to create a drawing. IT IS SO MUCH FUN.
By using a grayscale as the base of a drawing, it’s easy to experiment with color and shading to create beautiful drawings. Here’s one of my photographs and a drawing I created from it.
The grayscale photo:
I wanted something in more of pastel tones, so I had fun changing the green leaves to more fall colors, as well as adding blue for the water.
Because I’m enjoying grayscale coloring so much, I’m creating a series of grayscale coloring books. The first one, Landscapes of America, includes 31 grayscale landscape images. Sections of the book include forests, streams, waterfalls, mountains, and deserts. Some photographs are from wilderness areas near my home (the above photo is from the Pisgah Gorge in northeast Alabama), while others are from National Parks across the country.
I’m really excited about this book and I hope you will be too! The book will be available by November 16.