Last year around this time Deke converted a beloved childhood drawing trick into a Photoshop project: the annual Thanksgiving tradition of creating a turkey by tracing around one’s splayed out hand. This week’s pre-Thanksgiving free Deke’s Techniques episode pays homage to another childhood drawing game: making a cute stylized pig by connecting some carefully arranged letters.
Let me regale you with the tangentially holiday-related story of how this little piggy came to be. Deke and I were enjoying a suitably tasty breakfast in what passes for a greasy spoon in the health-conscious city of Boulder, when Deke began admiring photographs of barnyard animals around the room. He gazed at one porcine specimen and said, “Look at that pig-ture.” (Deke apparently loves a good graphic pun in the morning.)
After my eyes rolled back to their original position, I grabbed a napkin and our waitress’s pen and showed him this trick I recall from some murky time in my childhood: drawing some familiar letters, then connecting them to magically make a pig. The waitress squealed with delight, Deke started writing notes for this tutorial, and I squirreled away the napkin for the day I would one day be writing about this technique. It isn’t easy doing this week after week and I need to hang on to all the props I can find:
Which, in Photoshop becomes this:
Now, of course, in the hands of Deke, a low-tech napkin sketch becomes an opportunity for a lesson in some useful, basic Photoshop skills. You’ll see how to reverse the E and convert it to outlines to extend the snout. How to mask the W feet against the body and fill them with a bit of hoof. How to adjust a repeating script so that it smooths out into one flowing curly tail, and more tricks that might seem overkill for reproducing a childhood drawing game, but for which you may find yourself one day grateful.
Meanwhile, if you’re a member of lynda.com, there’s an exclusive movie this week in which Deke shows you how to make this “photorealistic” or at least as photorealistic as a pig made from letters can possibly aspire to be. If you’d like to try out a membership, you can get a free week’s trial at lynda.com/deke.
Before you go, here’s a message from last year’s hand turkeys, Jake and Jenny, who are delighted with this week’s change in menu:
And thanks to all the blessed colonists and indigenous peoples of dekeTown. Whether you’re here in the States taking a four-day weekend filled with indulgence in the name of gratitude or elsewhere in the world observing what you call Thursday, we continue to be grateful for you.