Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pen and Ink Drawing




Pen and ink has always been one of my favorite mediums. The thing that I like about it is that you have just one black line to construct your image. You can vary the size of the line, I use a brush for thicker lines or large black shapes. But you are limited and have to really think about how you can make the most of that line to make your image.

 That line has to do express value and color (even though it is just black you can suggest color). It also leaves you very little room for error. Sometimes the line is not exactly as I had planed- to thick or spattered and I have to continue trying to make the drawing work even so. Sometimes I use a pen filled with white pigmented ink to go over a mistake or I might take an exacto knife and scratch out some ink depending on the thickness of the paper I'm using.

These drawings were done on my lunch hour at work except for the one with the Union soldiers which was done when I got back home. I used a Pentel Brush Pen and also a Pentel Ballpoint Pen with permanent black ink.

It is also fun to add an ink wash or a black  watercolor wash (greyed down with water) to the drawings.




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More Civil War Sketches





There are times when I can be clueless as far as what to do next. In those times I find it best to just keep sketching or take some time to look at art and be inspired- buy a new book, magazine or go to a museum. Its good to see what another artist friend is doing and be inspired by their enthusiasm for the subject matter. Blogs, social media keep you connected even if you can't walk into someones studio.

Then there are times where it seems I have a million ideas and only enough time to do two.

So it is with a painting I am currently working on. I started working on a composition for a civil war scene. Wanted to use it as a demo (either for a book on digital painting or a video or both). However I have two illustration assignments to finish (which is good news) and those deadlines come first. In between these assignments I manage to continue with preliminary sketches and sketches like the gouache in the above image- something to keep my interest up. Below is the preliminary sketch for the civil war painting.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Some Civil War Sketches






There are certain subjects I return to again and again. I am not a student of history but I love to draw certain histories, the Civil War being one of them. This is a recent thing though.

I keep returning to the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War and that probably had a lot to do with choosing the subject matter. On my brother's recommendation, I will pick up a copy of "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara and begin reading it this week end.


A little while back I made a list for myself of the types of things I loved to sketch from imagination. The Civil War and Pirates top that list. I began to collect images of those things that I might use as reference. When I use these references what I try to do is combine several photos as well as my imagination. Sometimes to much of the photo remains in the end. I try to avoid that.

The top sketch I did for fun, on my lunch break at work. In this one I felt that I used the combination of imagination and various references successfully. In the drawing immediately under that I was working out two figures who will be part of a larger composition.

The bottom is a 45 minute sketch I did trying out Clip Studio Paint which I just purchased. It used to be Manga Studio I believe. I was trying out the watercolor brush tools.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Trying Out New Paint Software.

Corel Painter Essentials 5


PaintStorm Studio
The majority of software I use for painting are very similar. All have brushes that can be tweaked, layers with blend modes and other properties that can be manipulated. Some have large brush libraries, some have smaller but all can be adjusted and you can even download brushes from other users on line. Makes it real easy to start up the software and play with it for a while to discover the different brushes.

In these images I tested a few brushes out. This is the fun part, where you see what these brushes can do and you start imagining what you can create with them. The hard part of course is finding the time.

The first sketch I did was done in Corel Painter Essentials 5. Using the same reference I redid the painting in Paint Storm Studio. I have not used either of these programs before, at least never took anything to finish (and I still haven't). This is what I do when I start getting in to a new software, I play with it.

Rebelle
A few weeks back I did the same with Rebelle. I wanted to try out the acrylic brushes. They worked a lot better than I expected. Very similar to the oil brushes in ArtRage. One thing I have to say about Rebelle is that the watercolor and Acrylic brushes work perfectly but I am having trouble with the other tools. Rebelle needs to add some smoothing to the pencil and pen tools.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Digital Artist Don't Throw Away Your Pencils And Brushes









The Computer is not the artist anymore than the camera is not the photographer.  In fact just like any other medium that the artist chooses to use he or she is still in control of the outcome.  The end result is the product of the artist selections from observation as well as the artist imagination, experiences and inspirations.  The choice of medium whether it be a computer or any number of traditional tools only aids to express the artist intent.

My personal belief is that an artist needs to continue to use traditional materials because there is always a need to draw from life in order to add to memory and imagination making the work more visually convincing.  One of the things that is hardest to capture in digital work is that feel of traditional media but you have to be familiar with those mediums in order to know whether or not your digital work has that look.

The image on the left was done in gouache on the right
 I redid the image in ArtRage
In a recent comment on one of my YouTube videos someone stated that Corel Painter mimics watercolor the same as the software I was using (Rebelle) does.  My reply to him was that while I agree that Painter has a great watercolor brush Rebelle's brush is a lot closer to watercolor than anything I've seen and I've used traditional watercolors for over thirty-five years-and have a very good idea of how that medium should look.  Knowing exactly what your looking for in your tools will help create a better image.