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Thread: watercolors and sumi-e

  1. #1
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    watercolors and sumi-e

    I tried reproducing the look of basic sumi-e brush strokes last night.

    Sumi-e is the Japanese word for a Chinese-origin artform. Calligraphy and other images are committed to rice paper with a brush, using a water-and-charcoal ink.

    I liked the look of the oil brush with a thin paint, especially when the paint started to run out and the grain shows through. But in sumi-e, you can sustain that "almost running out" tone for the whole stroke, thanks to the way the ink interacts with the paper and the brush serves as a reservoir for ample water. This kind of very-long-unloading behavior will be important for any water-based ink, as opposed to the very-fast-unloading behavior for oils.

    I liked the shape of the soft magic marker strokes, in that there was a very simple linear relationship between width of stroke and pressure, without affecting the darkness of the stroke. It was easier to manage a stroke's width during the stroke.

    In neither case was the tight-cornering behavior ideal. Since each stroke is subtractive, you don't want to make corners with two separate strokes, but when you turn sharply with the current tools, you often get a funny shape on the interior side of the corner, as the tool's rotation changes quickly.

    Just jotting my notes since I was thinking of them last night. I'll work out fake labor-intensive ways of emulating sumi-e strokes, since I actually have no talent for the real media but love the looks. If anyone has tips, I'm all ears. Or eyes.
    --
    [ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ] Japanese-themed tees and gifts

  2. #2
    I'd like to have Sumi-e brushes too in Artrage. But i never tried the real thing, so i can't tell how it works... it just looks beautiful to me. I think it's a must have.

  3. #3
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    Also, advice on Tablet?

    I came onto the forum to ask if anyone had worked out a good way to recreate the look of a Japanese/Chinese calligraphy brush, and checked the archives first. These are some good points. Any update on this? I have been playing around with various tools but can't seem to get it quite right.

    Part of it may be that I'm using a Wacom bamboo -- the regular one. This doesn't allow for tilt sensitivity, or whatever you call it. But I've never used anything other than a Bamboo, so I don't really know. I've read on forums that the difference is like using a pen (the Intuos) versus a crayon (the Bamboo).

    For those of you with a more expensive Wacom, is it worth the upgrade? I'm thinking of getting a medium Intuos 4, or maybe 5.

    I'm thinking for the odd thing like this I'd probably feel the difference, even if the viewer won't notice in the end result.

  4. #4
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    wacom intuos 4 or 5 vs wacom only "pressure tecnology"

    Quote Originally Posted by Slap Happy Larry View Post
    I came onto the forum to ask if anyone had worked out a good way to recreate the look of a Japanese/Chinese calligraphy brush, and checked the archives first. These are some good points. Any update on this? I have been playing around with various tools but can't seem to get it quite right.

    Part of it may be that I'm using a Wacom bamboo -- the regular one. This doesn't allow for tilt sensitivity, or whatever you call it. But I've never used anything other than a Bamboo, so I don't really know. I've read on forums that the difference is like using a pen (the Intuos) versus a crayon (the Bamboo).

    For those of you with a more expensive Wacom, is it worth the upgrade? I'm thinking of getting a medium Intuos 4, or maybe 5.

    I'm thinking for the odd thing like this I'd probably feel the difference, even if the viewer won't notice in the end result.

    Hello.


    I have wacom intuos 4 tecnology (I think wacom intuos 5 is similar) and I can tell you it's a must have if you are using :


    - Photoshop CS5 or CS6's "mixer brush" painting tools
    - Wacom art pen




    If you use artRage I believe you can't use barrel rotation so it is almost useless.
    The different between use this tecnology or use only "pressure sensivity" is huge.
    I don't know why ambientdesign is always willing to implement new improvements to Artrage for iPad like Jot touch (only days after product release) and in so many years, never tried to implement
    all wacom tecnologies in ArtRage for PC. The only explanation I can think of is that they get most of their incomes from their iPad software. But maybe there is other explanation.
    I love ArtRage, but you can put in the box "under construction". It could be the best painting and drawing software out there, but it is not yet. Whatever the case is a great program.

  5. #5
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    I agree in particular on needing to be able to keep a kind of sustained "almost running out" quality that would be necessary for this kind of effect to be doable-- I would imagine your would do it through having it be pressure sensitive, the way it is in real life.... press lightly and not all of the brush head hits the paper, but instead grazes the texture, press harder and the full body of the brush head hits the paper and you get full saturation and less textural quality, instead only having it only on the outside of the rim of the brush head. This would be a very nice feature to have, IMO, and very realistic.
    Check out and submit to the thread on Watercolor WIPs in Artrage-- lots of good tips and conversation
    My YouTube video tutorial series- How to Paint with Watercolors in Artrage
    Try out the free
    Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar to improve your workflow and reduce clutter
    List of other good tutorials on using watercolors in Artrage
    List of good sticker sprays for watercolor effects in Artrage

    My blog- art, poetry and picture books- http://www.seamlessexpression.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
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    Thanks Light F and Steve B for your replies... I went ahead and ordered a new Wacom (the Intuos 5), mainly because I need a larger tablet for ergonomic reasons and I don't want to buy yet another one in a couple years' time. Plus I would like to loosen up a little in my painting style. I hope I appreciate the larger one, though it's impossible until you actually start using it to know! I read lots of reviews and compared the 4 and 5, and decided on the 5 mainly because the new surface doesn't wear down the nibs as badly, apparently.

    Sounds like I might have to invest next in Corel Painter in order to make use of its full capabilities, though, continuing to use Artrage for underpainting perhaps, even though I am very happy with Artrage in general, especially for the price. I find it impossible to produce quality paintings on an iPad, though, so I don't use the Artrage app anymore. It's the app which alerted me to Artrage's existence, though. (Then, after that I realised I'd got a free Artrage demo with my Wacom Bamboo which I hadn't even noticed.) So hope the popularity of the app helps to sell more copies of the full software, and that Artrage Studio Pro will continue to grow in strength.

    I haven't upgraded Photoshop since CS3, which I got when I was a student. I use Gimp for lots of things too. I'm aware of that tendency to think that if our tools have more functionality then our art will automatically improve, but I don't believe that's always the case. I'm reluctant to buy more expensive software until I've got a good reason to, because it's not much about the tools in the end. I'm just starting to get to that point now, where I'm frustrated at what I want to do. I got that same feeling before upgrading from Photoshop Elements to PS CS3 some years back.

    I'll let you know what it's like to upgrade in tablet size, at least, even though I won't be investing in new software for a while. Because next I'll need a wider desk!

    I'm still interested to know if anyone has got anywhere close to sumi-e, in any program. I only need to do a couple things, so I can try to do it during a demo period.

  7. #7
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    ... depends on what you want to do ... I have had limited success with Procreate on an iPad 3 and a Nomad brush or a pressure-sensitive Adonit stylus ... some effects can be done, but others remain beyond the reach of any combination of digital tools I'm aware of and can only be approximated, pian feng (side brush), fei bai (heavy/light pressure/opacity variation in a single stroke), and po bi (split brush) ... Auryn Ink produces acceptable ink-like washes (as in po mo landscapes), but is highly pixelated ... I haven't tried the Zen Brush app ...
    xiěyž, n. freehand brushwork, spontaneous expression
    Artrage Gallery
    / Leaning Tree Ink Studio

  8. #8
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    Good point. I'd forgotten about Auryn Ink, but since I'm creating an illustration for a hi-res iPad storybook app, it can't be the slightest bit pixellated.

    I'm writing some Japanese characters on a street lantern.

  9. #9
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    ... since you are doing characters, if it will help you, I've attached a sample of my calligraphy, done in the "cao shu" style, and the settings, at least for stroke speed, for the resident Ink Bleed brush ... the characters show none of the subtlety one might want, but the form is there ... "shan shui" should be done in three maybe four strokes total for both, but you can see I went back and doctored up a little -- digital encourages bad behavior, hehe -- especially the lower character "shui" ... in Procreate using an Adonit Jot Touch pressure-sensitive stylus on an iPad 3 ...
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    xiěyž, n. freehand brushwork, spontaneous expression
    Artrage Gallery
    / Leaning Tree Ink Studio

  10. #10
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    Maybe you 'cheated' a little but still very nice, Chinapete. I'll add that app and the stylus to my wishlist, which grows longer by the week. If all else fails I'll get out a real brush and paper, then scan the darn thing in. Haven't gone in manual for ages. I think I've forgotten the smell of sumi ink.

    Meanwhile, I have spent an entire afternoon playing with my new large Intuos 5 touch, which arrived this afternoon. It took that long to program the hot keys. Definitely definitely worth the upgrade from the Bamboo. I'm now drawing with my arm rather than my hand, so hopefully no more hand cramping. Also, after about an hour of trying to draw circles (reminding me of a scene from Six Feet Under), I found it was much easier to draw from the elbow.

    I also love that I can jump from one monitor to the other with a hot key rather than reaching for the mouse, and there's this fantastic thing called 'precision' mode, which takes a small square of the canvas and allows you to make use of the entire tablet area, allowing for much better control for fine work. This may not help me to loosen up after all.

    That said, all I did this afternoon was scribbles, like I'm sure everyone does when they first buy a copy of Artrage. I'm looking forward to doing some real art on this beast. It really is a beast of a thing. It almost needs to come with its own fold up legs because it could almost double as a coffee table. Who needs a keyboard anyway... Because I'm fresh out of desk space.

    I might be able to make my own sumi-e brush if I spend long enough playing around. We'll see.

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