Saturday, June 13, 2009

Beginning Backwards

And so, I begin a blog which is primarily about drawing, with a digital painting. I admit to having mixed feelings about digital work. I'm old, and a fuddy-duddy, and it'd be just like me to avoid a perfectly good tool just for the sake of principal. It appeals to my lazy nature. I can sit down, open Photoshop, paint wildly for 10-15 minutes, then walk away with no mess to clean up.

It had been a while since I'd been able to paint digitally. My wife attended her 1st year of Law School this year, and we share one laptop, so guess who had to wait his turn. A new P.J. Harvey cd caught my eye and I decided to break in with something easy. I began on a toned background and sketched in the basic shapes. I soon realized I was trying to draw the painting, so I widened by brush stroke considerably and dove in to the shadows. I gradually tweaked some of the mid-tones and tightened some of the features, saving the highlights for last. The white hatching over the background is a swipe from J. C. Leyendecker. Steal from the best!

I read an interview with a hot-shot "conceptual designer" from Denmark who advised against using too many layers in Photoshop. He was producing some intricate work, yet claimed to use only 3-4 layers at most. This has helped me immensely! Tone the background, draw/paint on the next layer, and save additional layers for experimental lighting or anything you may feel unsure about. This has helped me keep my pieces fresh (I think) and spontaneous. It also saves a lot of time not having to waddle around a dozen layers every time you want to add a stroke.

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