Using Powerpoint to create digital line drawings

When I was doing my degree, I often fell back on Powerpoint to make maps and graphs for assignments and my dissertation, usually for lack of access to a better method. My laptop couldn't support the GIS software I was supposed to be using, and so I ended up with a lot of Powerpoint-made colourful diagrams and images, that you (hopefully) couldn't usually tell were made from tracing images and maps with coloured lines.

Map from a university field trip to Iceland glaciers, largely using Powerpoint drawing tools.

Later on, I was trying to create a logo for the backs of my greetings cards and for this website. I began playing around with ideas of the South Downs and their outline, seeing as they are regular features in many of my paintings. I decided on my favourite view of the Downs as a backdrop for the logo, and tried tracing the outline of the hills from photos I had taken. Before long I had built up a simple line drawing of this view, which not only served as a logo, but also for inspiration to try outlining other scenes.

The image I used as inspiration and a backdrop for my logo, and the finished image I use.

The Seven Sisters cliffs are striking and familiar, and when I've painted them in the past, I've always done so in detail, with attention to light and shadow. It made a nice change to create an image of such a familiar view in very few details; less is more. Those cliffs are instantly recognisable and distinctive, even in a minimalist line style.

I use photos I have taken as a background, and start picking out the major lines and planes in the image to build up a group of shapes and lines that together depict a simplified, stripped version of the scene which I would usually be painting in careful detail.

I really like using Powerpoint to produce drawings. There will undoubtedly be numerous other and better softwares and methods of producing digital art, but I think there's something fun about using a familiar tool that was not really meant for drawing and doodling, when you could be using Photoshop or anything else. Its a very basic and unconventional approach, and I've tried other packages, but always come back to Powerpoint for its familiarity and simplicity. That's why I love portraying my favourite views with it, and seeing what experimental images I can create using series of lines grouped together.

I found using more up close and detailed photos works well too, after doodling over my favourite wildflower, cow parsley. You still end up with a simplified version, but all the key components that make up the subject are there.

I'm looking forward to seeing what future line drawings will feature; I'd like to try mountains soon, just for fun.

I have made some greetings cards from my landscape drawings, and have also had some products made featuring the drawings, which I'll be sharing soon!

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