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Thread: Learning Experiences

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Learning Experiences

    I don't know whether this thread may be useful to anybody, but I would be interested in a thread where we can exchange our learning experiences, especially we who are new to this wonderful program/software.
    Generally spoken I have been learning artrage in two ways:
    1. Creating a specific piece
    2. Playing around with the presets of specific tools

    Regarding #1: I am product oriented which means that I want to have a certain painting/drawing finished at the end of a day, two days or any given time. This is where I learn regarding my eye hand coordination, my feeling for colours or how to compose a drawing/painting, and I learn regarding the application of a combination of several Artrage tools like the color picker, felt pen, oil brush, whatnot.
    Regarding #2: In order to do #1 I need to play around with presets. I simply do that by opening a new canvas, selecting a tool, changing the presets and taking notes. I don't save the file. I also may watch videos or read certain threads from the Tips&Tricks forum.
    I would like to hear more about your ways of learning Artrage!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    I start with an idea. Either I want to make a picture or I want to test a technique. Play time is also an option, though I don't do that as much as others -- who have discovered some amazing ways of doing things to great effect. I can see the appeal in that though if it's fun.

    In the process of creating it either goes smoothly or I get snagged technically. When I get snagged, I work it out and go through the learning of that specific problem. After it's done I may or may not ever do that again depending on where I'm off too on the next project. But later I could do something somewhat related where I use the principle I just learned.

    When I start a picture, I tend to go in the directions that I am familiar with first, except when necessity or interest pushes me to have to stretch. I mean it gets tedious always learning something new. I like to not have to think so hard about mechanics every step of the way in every picture. It pulls focus from making pictures for me.

    However, every now and again I learn something that becomes one of the foundations of my regular process. And that often opens up whole new areas that I would not have previously thought to try.

    After a while it becomes the old question: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" New picture based on new technique or new technique based on the needs of a picture. My answer is that it's both.

    At this point in time for me, fun and/or fascination are paramount.

    Don't know if this is what you were asking. But there's my 2 cents.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Portland, OR
    Hi Ulla,

    There is something called "one-trial learning" ... And since you mention being product oriented, I suppose you chose ArtRage because of the "simplicity" of the program's design, which leads naturally to perceived ease of use ... With one-trial learning -- a fundamental principle in psychology -- the learning curve is reduced to a single stimulus-action pairing ... The "holy grail" of digital art is to maximize one-trial learning, so that the effect you want is instantly available to you, and with the least amount of re-enforced learning ...

    You say that you are working on hand-eye coordination, so I will assume you have a tablet and stylus of some sort, and are using Studio Pro ... (I have looked at your website and your works online, your red squirrel shows a certain preoccupation with drawing) ... If so, then you will probably agree that the tablet-stylus approach to drawing is not one-trial learning, but must involve a great deal of practice to get the coordination right ... We marvel at the skills of the masters of digital art when we realize that much of it is done by focusing attention away from the body and onto the screen, where the drawing/painting appears ... [edit: except for those who can afford the very expensive high-end equipment, the Cintiq and so forth, where the drawing is done directly on the tablet surface]

    Unlike you, and I think D Akey, I don't start with a picture in mind ... I begin with a painterly effect -- I see the world as a painting, at least when I'm in the mood to paint -- and I think of painting as equivalent to translation ... Someone said recently that translation is everywhere, but goes unnoticed ... So it is with painting, I am constantly discovering the joy of being able to translate what is in my mind -- a particular effect -- into a visible medium ... Often a "picture" is produced along the way, but just as often I have to be content with a fragment ...

    I put "simplicity" in quotation marks above because it is probably true that if you had chosen Photoshop or Painter 12, you would not be able quickly to learn them, those programs are by general consent thought to be "over-featured" -- they please everyone and no one, and they create a cottage industry for tutorials on how to use them ... But the simplicity of the ArtRage interface also cannot be considered one-trial learning, even on the iPhone, which is where I started and right up until today remains my favored platform, the choices are many, and the actual way an effect is achieved often can't be remembered or reconstructed ... So I depend on repetition to solidify my skills ... When I stumble on a technique that gives me the painterly effect I am looking for, I practice that effect in different contexts until I am sure I can reproduce it at will ...
    Last edited by chinapete; 04-17-2013 at 04:30 AM.
    xiěyž, n. freehand brushwork, spontaneous expression
    Artrage Gallery
    / Leaning Tree Ink Studio

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    D Akey and chinapete, thanks for joining in and for your detailed contributions. Chinapete: The reason why I chose Artrage was not simplicity. The reason why I chose Artrage and still am fascinated on the border to being addicted is that I feel more at home with it than with photoshop for example. I don't know whether I am able to express my thoughts correctly but I feel that Artrage is much nearer to my kind of Art than Photoshop is. I also paint and draw with "real" coloured pencils on real pieces of paper, and I do sketches with "real" ballpoint pens, ink pens and pencils. I am now fascinated by the possibility of exploring the world of colours in Artrage with the oil and watercolour brushes without smells and brushes to be cleaned and stowed away afterwards. And I find one thing quite interesting: that both ways of doing art (the digital one and the non-digital) influence each other - I feel that I am learning very much on both fields.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Cape Town, South Africa.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ulla View Post
    And I find one thing quite interesting: that both ways of doing art (the digital one and the non-digital) influence each other - I feel that I am learning very much on both fields.
    Yes, I would agree with this. Because I can spend more quality-time especially as its faster, with digital work, I noticed that its improved my 'skills' in real media.

    But as to the learning part... something I have found useful lately is to choose only one thing and then see what you can make out of it. Such as - I was looking at a web page that converts a picture into a color chart which was interesting but it made me curious about making color charts of my own.
    I decided to choose each color myself and made a large squared grid (26 blocks across and 14 blocks up) and my goal was that by removing subject matter, I was only to produce grid works of color harmonies ranging from tones to tints.

    Color is a very absorbing part of art and so it wasn't as boring as it sounds. It taught me to have more awareness when choosing colors and also looking at the juxtaposition between colors - some greyed muddy colors that I would have disgarded as having no usefulness when placed in the right position they absolutely sing! - and in other places they died a sad death.
    It was very interesting to observe this as you can easily see how this could be the make or break of a painting.

    Another bonus was that in the process I learned about some new tools that I had never really used, such as the usefulness of the Selection Tool and the Fill Tool.
    I had begun the process of painting each color into a stencil grid that I made. But soon the laboriousness of it led me to look for a better method - which I found is to use the hard square selection and the Fill Tool.

    Sometimes when areas of the grid had died (color wise) then on a new layer and by moving around my selection-square to other areas on the grid I could see how the color changed - it was useful to observe how it changed everything. A truly fascinating experiment that kept me interested for days.
    I have subsequently named and saved the file so that I can refer back to it from time to time.

    I don't think it's useful to just delete ones experiments as they may hold a key idea for ones future development

  6. #6
    Hi there.

    When I play around with Artrage, I usually have two methods of approach.

    One is that I have an idea in mind (either my own or something someone requested of me. I get a lot of tattoo requests. My mother is like my own personal tattoo gallery.) and I want to capture that idea onto the canvas. Good examples of this method are if you take a look at my animal pictures "Givin' my dear ol' dad a coupla bucks" and "The otters - Lanny and Morris" in my gallery. Those two paintings I had a clear idea in my mind of what I wanted to do.

    The second is more of a child's painting method. I throw paint around and shuffle it around with the knife settings till I find something I like. I have a fascination with the metallic tube paint and knife. If you look at some of the metallic ones, you see that I didn't really have anything in mind, I just mushed the paint around until I found something I liked. See Blue Peacock, Green Metal Panic, or anything that seems to have a very textured look of metallic paint. Even the one "Sad Bear is Sad" was a random idea that sort of fell onto the page.

    Lastly there's always the one word prompt ideas that I get from random websites here and there. Like Winter, Phenomenon, and Magic.

    Currently thinking on a haiku painting that someone mentioned in another post and the seven-dot zen thing that was mentioned as well. Still chewing on the idea... There are many methods, if you are considering a need for practice of hand-eye coordination, perhaps using the trace function would help you get a good feel on how the pen and tablet work together. It's odd looking at a screen and not at where your hand is. I'm so used to it now, that I have a hard time watching myself draw traditional stuff.

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