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Thread: How to learn to paint

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    How to learn to paint

    Hi, I'm looking for some help or guidance in how to learn to paint. I've looked at a ton load of stuff on the web tutorials, guides excetera. The trouble is its easy to read all the stuff but getting down to it and understanding, putting it to the paper is another matter.

    I've started a painting through some gleaned information but am stuck/unsure how to procede.

    Like how do I blend the colours? Some parts dont appear to be one colour but sort of a shadowy mix of two how do I do that, is this even the right approach? Does it matter if I trace and use the colour picker?

    I've used quite a few different brushes, should I just stick to one, if so which one?

    I want to learn how to paint but would it be better to just go to pencils and learn how to shade first?

    Sorry about the many questions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    And you can always enroll in a class, whether just evenings at a college, or art store, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Use anything you like!

    personally I don't use tracing (hard to do in real mediums) but I do use color picking (easy to do on a palate in real medium) I'm something of a purist. However, there are loads of excellent artists that start off with a trace.

    I've painted dozens of pictures in artrage over the last year, and I've never used the same brush settings twice. I keep changing and learning new things about the program. As a result I've completely failed to staple down any sort of style, but I've learned a great deal about a lot of other styles.

    There are loads of ways to blend colors. You can do it with a dry brush, (take the oils tool and turn the loading down to 0%) or the palate knives (which are designed for blending) these all tend to move paint around in ways you don't want at times, so the real trick is then blending back into the places you wanted things to be in the first place.

    If you want to learn to draw with pencils, go for it. I've been drawing with pencils since I was 2. 19 years later I still don't have it figured out. Learning to shade has certainly helped me in other areas of art as well.

    Most importantly though, art cannot CANNOT be learned by just reading about it. You MUST put pen, pencil, brush to paper (or in our case, stylus to tablet ) to figure it out. It should be fun. If you are not having fun, you are probably doing it wrong, even if you are just practicing drawing the same thing over and over again. Best of luck!
    Early to bed early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes - Orson Scott Card

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    In ArtRage, you have palette knives for blending, and oil brushes blend if you set loading to low. Watercolor just flows together.

    If you mean natural media, though, then every different one has its own tricks.

    Every medium can be simply juxtaposed, like a mosaic. Does not look smooth, but usually looks quite vivid.

    Oils and to lesser extent acrylics can be mixed on canvas with a dry brush while still wet. They can also be glazed / scumbled on top of the dry paint for more complex effects.

    Watercolor can be laid in a graduated wash by increasingly picking the second color or water on the brush as you add strokes, or allowed to diffuse into a wet area for a falloff, or allowed to mix on paper by adding several colors to different parts of a wet area. Just be careful of those pesky back-flows. Or, it can be glazed over dried paint in thin layers, over and over, to build color gradually.

    Colored pencils and other dry media are just added in layers on top of one another. Colored pencils can also be burnished together with a colorless pencil or a light color, for a smooth satin look.

    Pastels can be blended together with a stump or fingers. Same for graphite pencils and charcoal, which you also can pick with kneaded eraser or white bread for lightening a tone.

    Mostly it's all about adding more layers of color.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Oh, and as for learning to paint as opposed to draw.

    First, you should know how to draw at least somewhat. But you don't have to be perfect.

    Second, painting is primarily about relative brightness, called "tone". Color is secondary. Get tone wrong, no amount of right color will save you. Get tone right, you can get away with almost any color.

    So to practice painting, start with some canvas board or other gessoed board. Buy a flat brush and a round brush, a tube each of ivory black and titanium white, and a palette. If you work in oils, also buy a jar of medium - linseed oil, turpentine, liquine, whatever. If you work in acrylics, all you'll need is some water.

    And paint lights and shadows in black and white. That's it.

    Once you're somewhat confident in your ability to get tone right, add a third tube of red ochre. And paint with that - it's amazing how much mixed color you can get out of white, black and ruddy.

    After that, go work in color as you please. You'll have the right foundation.

    I like to use six basic colors, two sets of blue, red and yellow in cold and warm variants - light cadmium yellow, alizarin, ultramarine, and yellow ochre, burnt sienna, phthalo blue. You can mix most colors with just that. I do use lots of other pigments for spot effects where you need a purer, brighter color, of course.
    Last edited by arenhaus; 01-16-2010 at 09:01 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Thanks for the help everyone, its just so confusing so many different techniques and types, its just finding one and sticking with it.

    I'm gonna stick with black and white for now.

  7. #7
    Don Seegmiller has some interesting books on painting. He uses Photoshop as well as painter but his workflow can be adapted to Artrage quite easily. Generally he starts out with a pencil type drawing. Tosses in his background treatment on a layer underneath the line drawing using a multiply function on his pencil drawing. He then builds up a base color for the subject. Then works in his shading and finishes with his highlights. Ultimately he uses the "healing brush with a texture applied to it to blend colors. I am of course paraphrasing his workflow but that's generally how he works from a line drawing into a painting.
    I can say from experience that I wish we had something as fast and as stable as the healing brush from photoshop. But if you want blend there is the pallets knife tool or you can just try an overlay one color over another using a tool that either has it's strength turned down and build up that way or just a rough edge.
    As far as pencil type drawing and painting are concerned, pencil artists/ illustrators are generally concerned with line widths whereas painters are generally interested in tone and volume.

    Hope this helps and doesn't sound like a kook ranting on about stuff...

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