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Thread: Artist's workflow.

  1. #1

    Artist's workflow.

    Hi everyone, after reading some of these tutorials there all sort of aimed at new artists and show you, step by step how to create a amazing drawing.

    I don't do that, I will give you some basic ideas to try to push yourself to the next level. These can be applied to digital art as well as hand done stuff.

    Try not using a pencil ever unless its a complex comp. By drawing pencil in 1st, its telling your brain to colour rather then paint, there is a differents. Instead, start by painting the biggest, darkest SHAPE. This brings me into my next point.

    Do not paint subjects. Painting a eye then moving on to a mouth or whatever is unatural for the brain. Your brain only see's in light and dark shapes. Its the contrast bewteen the light and dark that creates the line!

    Always start with the background. ALWAYS. its a good habbit to get into for a number of reasions. When you finsh with your subject, you wont have to try paint around him/her. you also wont have to worry about getting a nice sharp line between the fore and background, it will just be there.

    Try not tracing your subjects, its not needed, don't bother with face ratio while we are on that point, there usless, your born with them. Its how you know if someone is pretty or not.

    Try just starting to render in your subject rather then pencil it in (tip: make your cavans size is the same as the photos size if this your 1st time) you might shock yourself.

  2. #2
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    I would point out that with the ability to resize canvases and add layers underneath, the starting witht he background isn't so necessary. I often find that if I do that, I have to rework the entire composition later anyway, as the subject ends up needing something different. And yes, pencil and paint are very different approaches. I'm still learning how to pencil things

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    Good points.

    I had a really fantastic art teacher explain a wonderful technique that I really like (for natural media). She had us use a piece of sandpaper with vine charcoal to make charcoal dust, and then rub it into a piece of paper all over, until you get an even medium gray over the whole thing. Then you can draw with charcoal to get darker areas, and erase to get lighter areas.

    What I *learned* from this is exactly what you said... it's SO MUCH BETTER (and, for me, nigh infinitely easier) to do shapes, not lines. Lines are necessary so often, but they're the last thing to add, not the first place to start. And it matches our perceptions so much better.

    Also, this makes "lost edges" (where there's a fade from, say, dark to light, with no hard boundary) extremely easy, whereas with pencil (as lines) it's nearly impossible. This helped me immensely.

    And as much as I like doing black and white with charcoal using "real media", whenever I fire up ArtRage I just seem to "naturally" dive right into all those gorgeous colors :-) Guess I'll have to do something with that fantastic nine-gray color palette someone uploaded a while ago...

    And, apropos to Flynn's point, another teacher (painting, this time) told us that when he's painted something in front of something else first, and then goes to do the background object, he just has to over-paint the foreground object to make the flow of the background object look right. Then he goes back and re-establishes the foreground image. Whew, that's not confusing at all... sorry... :-) ANYWAY, the point I got was that I should never see any bit of the painting as inviolate, and should be ready to overpaint it whenever necessary. Of course, with ArtRage's layers, this is often unnecessary, as I can just paint background things on a background layer, and they come out okay.
    Last edited by yachris; 05-30-2009 at 12:56 PM.
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  4. #4
    I would point out that with the ability to resize canvases and add layers underneath, the starting witht he background isn't so necessary. I often find that if I do that, I have to rework the entire composition later anyway, as the subject ends up needing something different. And yes, pencil and paint are very different approaches. I'm still learning how to pencil things
    There is a reason I said not to use layers, the paints don't merge. Its going to cost you more time and you will get a less realistic result by using layers for backgrounds/forgrounds.

    What you should have in artrage should be shadow/highlight/midtones to your image. By using different layers for background and forground, your telling your brain that they are objects and to be treated differently so they will merge less and feel like its sort of been placed onto the image.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtleman View Post
    There is a reason I said not to use layers, the paints don't merge. Its going to cost you more time and you will get a less realistic result by using layers for backgrounds/forgrounds.

    What you should have in artrage should be shadow/highlight/midtones to your image. By using different layers for background and forground, your telling your brain that they are objects and to be treated differently so they will merge less and feel like its sort of been placed onto the image.
    I agree that a background is just as important to a painting as the main subject, because it is part of the composition. As such, it should also be started at the beginning of the piece and not added on as an afterthought. Though, I don't see using a separate layer for it as a bad thing. They won't be able to mix the colors between the two layers, but neither would someone who started a traditional media painting one day and began working on it a week later.
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Someonesane View Post
    I agree that a background is just as important to a painting as the main subject, because it is part of the composition. As such, it should also be started at the beginning of the piece and not added on as an afterthought. Though, I don't see using a separate layer for it as a bad thing. They won't be able to mix the colors between the two layers, but neither would someone who started a traditional media painting one day and began working on it a week later.
    Oil paints can sometimes take weeks to dry. I'm going to do a piece of art today, I'll do it in layers and then screenshot each step so you can see why its better and a better habbit then doing it in layers. I'm not saying layers are bad, there great, I use them in every peice just not for backgrounds/forgrounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtleman View Post
    Oil paints can sometimes take weeks to dry. I'm going to do a piece of art today, I'll do it in layers and then screenshot each step so you can see why its better and a better habbit then doing it in layers. I'm not saying layers are bad, there great, I use them in every peice just not for backgrounds/forgrounds.
    Yes, I'm aware that oils can take a long time to dry. Though, many artists will put an oil painting aside to dry (sometimes for months) so they can then use washes over the dried layers.

    Again, I already agreed that it's a good idea to work with the background at the same time. I just don't agree that it absolutely has to be on the same layer.
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

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    Oil paints can take months to dry if you use oil to dilute them. If you use a special medium they can be dry enough to paint overnight.

    Sheppard has recipes for various media in his "How to Paint Like the Old Masters" book. The main ingredients are hard resins and wax, typically. You can also buy them ready-made.


    As for the background - it is not the issue of being easy or difficult to add after you paint the foreground. It's not too hard to paint around a subject.

    It's actually all about the composition and especially the tonal composition. It's extremely hard to match a background (which is, essentially, the painting's subject's environment) to the foreground, color and tone wise. You'll end up with a disjointed work more likely than not.

    You should work on the whole painting all the time, not assemble it like a mosaic. Start with broad areas of color, then refine and add smaller detail. Trying to do it spot by spot is an exercise in futility.

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    ...or you can merge layers later and blend; add paint washes for lighting and shading and colour over the top; paint back and foreground at the same time, switching between layers to stop them running into each other and mucking each other up but using all the same tools, colours etc; paint bits on the same layer and add other layers for faces/cloud/tree/fruit on tree/whatever...

    There are hundreds of ways to do it. And for myself, I cannot - can NOT - plan a painting perfectly and paint it that way from start to finish. I just get bored, or change the whole painting. And I think perhaps 10% of my works remain in the same composition/with the same proportions, canvas size, spot on the canvas... as they started with.

    If the back and foregrounds do not match, then learn to spot that and fix it. If the only way you can fix it is by painting them together, fine. If not, there are plenty of other ways. Myself, I mold the background around the object - and if it takes on a life of its own and becomes the main focal point? Wonderful, new take, new direction, still not necessary to start it together with the subject.


    To repeat from above... paints on layers CAN merge, if you paint over both, or merge the layers and blend a bit more.

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    Techniques

    I think there are probably as many ways and means to create a painting as there are artists. And there are some great suggestions here. It's a good thing as an artist to try out the the techniques of others and see what works for oneself and what doesn't. But to say one way is "right" and another "wrong" for all artists is something that should be avoided in the art world. Creating art should be one of the things in the world that one should claim for oneself. I love to learn from others and will probably try out some of the techniques presented here. But I am very selfish over my art in that -- it is the one thing I do just for me -- the type of art I choose and the way I choose to do it. And the day I can't do that will probably be the day I don't do it anymore. It is a great outlet, a source of stress relief and good for the soul. Putting constraints on it just ruins it. I'm a bit like Picasso in that he painted for himself too. His art was greatly controversial but he kept doing it the way he wanted to do it and even though he could paint a scene as if it were a photograph he just kept doing his cubism thing. And he ended up not being one of the "starving artists," so to speak! Hah! Chuckle. In fact, as we know, his art came into great demand and he made lots of "do-re-mi dough" if you know what I mean. Not only this, but he created numerous paintings each year. Anyhoo, no harm meant here, really. I am so glad you posted your ideas for us all to learn from who want to try them out. Me, I want to be learning continuously, not only in art, but in every area of life. Van Gogh and another impressionist were always disagreeing over how they should create art. I don't think that is where we need to be. But that's just me. Blessings to all of you. I enjoy your work, too. Cathy
    Last edited by cathyd; 06-05-2009 at 07:39 PM.
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