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Thread: I can draw, but I can't paint.

  1. #1
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    I can draw, but I can't paint.

    I've always been a drawer [sic], usually in pen, but pencil, too. Even after I pretty much fully transitioned to digital, I still think in terms of line, and don't really know how to see as a painter, much less do anything worthwhile with paint. (I was obsessed with watercolors as a kid, but the only success I had with them was in doing washes for ... you guessed it ... inkwork.)

    So...anyone got some suggestions of where to start? The catch is...I have pretty much zero desire to learn to paint with real paints; it would only be in order to gain skills so that I could employ them effectively digitally. For example, learning to mix colors is crucial for a traditional oil painter, but I have this magic thing called a color picker that utterly obliterates any need I might have for such information. Heck, the only time I've ever used palettes or color sets is when I need to keep, say, a certain character the exact same color blue -- an issue of continuity, rather than aesthetics.

    Books or even DVDs are preferable, but high quality online info is of interest, as well.

    Thanks ahead of time for any advice.

    PS I've tried "just playing," but I wind up just frustrated; I'm one of those folks that needs at least a bit of underlying structure before I utterly obliterate it.
    "Your life is your practice." -- Maezumi Roshi

  2. #2
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    A couple of interesting places pop to mind that that might help you in starting to work with digital painting. I do a lot of concept work, so these might not be your cup of tea. Still you might find them helpful.


    www.idrawgirls.com This is an excellent reference and good place to start for anyone new to the digital process. The sets for purchase are reasonably priced and really go into detail. The one drawback is is that it's all the same artist, and once you've seen a couple and understand how he works, that's all you need.

    http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/ These are pricey DVDs, and some of them are more abstract and about thought process rather than tutorial, but some of them are excellent. I really like the Ryan Church series, and also the Feng Zhu series.

    http://media.massiveblack.com/ I hesitate to mention this because some of them are crap (I was really disappointed by the Andrew Jones one), but the two by Jason Chan are pretty good. Again, a little more abstract, though.

    And of course, check youtube! A lot of it depends one what you like and want to know.

  3. #3
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    CrazyQuilt: Along with any other resources people might suggest, review the Tips & Techniques section of this forum. ArtRage artists have posted scores of demonstrations on how do scores of different things in ArtRage. These resources should provide at least some of the structure and direction you seek.

    Good luck. Have fun.

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  4. #4
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    Hey CQ,

    I have a similar problem.
    I'm used to thinking in terms of outlines that define a form rather than colors. I have tried to generate a workaround to that.
    I try and think of 'planes' rather than lines.
    This forces me to think of the subject as a 3D object that is defined by planes of different colors.
    Then I try to paint that with minimal colors.
    3-5.
    Rest of the colors evolve out of blending (which I usually have a problem with LOL)
    I've tried this mosly on portraits, as that's the trip I'm on right now, but I'm pretty sure it'd works for most things.

    Hope this helps.
    The more hair I lose, the more head I get.

  5. #5
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    Heh! I have the inverse problem.

    I tend to work in blocks then refine it - try that?

  6. #6
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    Recently checked this book out of the library, you'll probably find it's about what you're looking for: "The Painterly Approach, an artist's guide to Seeing, Painting and Expressing" by Bob Rohm.

    I'm with Flynn on this one... but I finally realized that, for me, the barrier to drawing was 'lost edges', that is, areas of smooth transition from one value to the next. Sharp, high-contrast edges, by contrast (har) were easy, but there's so much out there that isn't.

    I wound up being enlightened by learning with a charcoal technique. You use sandpaper on vine charcoal to produce charcoal dust, which you rub into fairly thick paper (charcoal or watercolor paper). Then you draw (to make darker areas) and erase (to make lighter areas) and the blending is almost automatic, due to the fact that it's already charcoal there.

    So you might use the chalk tool on a 'ground' of medium gray; force yourself to make areas, not outlines, with a few higher and lower shades of gray. I believe ArtRage comes with a seven-steps-of-gray color sample set.

    Let us know what works for you...
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the great suggestions. I suppose I'll have to make myself some coffee, sit down, and start perusing.than

    It'll be interesting to work through this. I think it will be more a matter of technique than vision; my physical eyes may be a bit cranky at times, but the inner one has no problem seeing either line or plane -- it's more a matter, I think, of controlling the medium.

    Those pesky pixels!
    "Your life is your practice." -- Maezumi Roshi

  8. #8
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    i also was just a pencil artist and its taken me until just a few weeks ago to start and understand color. a study that i did that helped was i did the painting just in grey scale like i would in pencil work and then on another layer i would do like real thin glazes of color. like one color over the whole face for a portrait. then you can start to see how to tone and value would change if you did it with the different tones & value of your color. its a quick study but it can help and you use the gray work skills you already have. also get on youtube.com and search for stuff like painting in photoshop. those videos showed my a good bit. just being able to watch and see the way they applied color and etc....if you have any question or anything just ask. hope this was of some help. AR also has that tracing and color picking right of the tracing image just going through that real quick leting it pick your colors can show you how certain colors can be near each other with no real detail or blending and start to make up the image. i did a study like this the other but with out the tracing and it showed me alot. just how blobbing the right colors on next to each other can start to make the image you want. check out my deviant art site its the knight and a flower.
    my work- gusion85.deviantart.com

  9. #9
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    There is nothing wrong with drawing. I have seen many very nice pencil drawings, it's all art, just do what you like..

  10. #10
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    Don't misunderstand me -- I don't think there's anything wrong with drawing at all! But the truth is, I love color & texture at least as much as I love a graceful line, and I'd like to go about working with them in a more painterly fashion.

    On a more personal note, I've had significant vision problems over the years, and I essentially quit visual art for quite a few years because I could no longer effectively & enjoyably do the sort of line work that I favor. It's a lot easier to paint in broader strokes when/if the need arises again than to completely deconstruct & recreate my habitual style, which is, roughly, an amalgamation of Dr. Seuss, Chuck Jones, and sumi-e.
    "Your life is your practice." -- Maezumi Roshi

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