Friday, December 28, 2018

Painting In Gouache

A very, very long time ago I purchased a book called The Studio. It featured the work of four popular comic book artist. Out of the four the only one that I was really familiar with was Barry Windsor Smith because of his work on Conan the Barbarian for Marvel Comics. When I purchased the book I became a fan of all four artist, but especially of Bernie Wrightson.

 In the book there were pictures of the studio that they shared and pictures of the materials they used. In those pictures I noticed tubes of paint called gouache. I was curious and wanted to do work similar to what I saw in the book so I purchased some tubes of paint.

Shortly after I began learning how to paint from life in an early morning painting group I attended at the High School of Art and Design. I put aside the world of comic book art and began to learn about Rembrandt, Velazquez and Sargent among others. I continued to collect comics and enjoy the works of my favorite artists but when it came to learning how to paint and draw I began to pay more attention to the Fine Arts and Illustration and after years of working solely from imagination I began to work from life drawing and painting from the model and from nature.

I mostly worked in oils and watercolors alongside other students and three instructors, Irwin Greenberg, Max Ginsberg and Irv Docktor. The last instructor worked entirely in gouache. Although I continued to work in oils and watercolor I would use gouache on and off especially in my sketchbook.

Fast forward some years when I am a dad with two young boys and decided to put aside the oils in favor of watercolor and gouache which were easier to clean up and a lot safer to have around small children. I began to use gouache more often mostly because gouache allowed me to paint in a way that was similar to oils and because I really enjoyed using the medium.

I continue to use gouache today even after my kids have grown into young adults (late teens).

Gouache has a rich history. It is a medium which is older than oil paints andwas used by some very famous artist and illustrators. Artist like Menzel, Durer and Zorn as well as illustrators like John Gannam, Edwin Austin Abbey, Stevan Dohanos and Harry Anderson.

In the world of fine art I don't see any artist using the medium although I do see artist painting in casein which is similar to gouache and can be combined with gouache. I have seen that there are illustrators who continue to work in gouache. I like the medium so I plan to continue to use it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Watercolor Sketch

A little while back I started bringing in my watercolor paints to work so that I can use them to sketch during my lunch hour. I also purchased some equipment so that I can film myself painting  during these sketch sessions. Doing this opened up a new perspective to the work that I do. I no longer was confined to recording my work in digital media. Now I can record myself using other mediums which I love to use. I've also created a backlog of video content to edit and post on my YouTube channel.

Even more important is that I am not only having a great deal of fun but I keep searching for ways to go even further. I also introduced gouache and different papers for sketching and I want to do more. Something bigger, more involved. Just need the time.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Pencil Sketch Video

Been doing a lot of sketching lately. I've made good use of my lunch hour at work and every spare time I can get at home.

what is really cool is that where at one point I was only able to record digital art now I am able to record drawing and painting in traditional media. The camera setup I have is also mobile so I can record what I do at work as well as at home.

Below is a recent video I made of the image at the top of this post.

Monday, November 5, 2018

What You Can Do In An Hour

I had posted before about how I made it a habit, or more precisely a ritual that I devote my lunch hour at work to sketching. It is an hour in the day that belongs to me and which I dedicate to the thing I love to do.

I don't always get good results. I toss a lot of bad sketches in the trash can near my desk (the circular file, as one of my art instructors liked to call it). It doesn't matter. Any drawing, even a bad one (as long as its not purposely or lazily done badly) is still a step further to progressing in the craft.

After a while I want to use other media. I decide to use pen and ink one day on another I bring a long a small set of watercolors.

This one hour (really anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes) is enough time to start and finish a small sketch. A lot can be done in a short amount of time if you focus on the task at hand and nothing else. Pick the time and the best place where you can work undistracted and you might be surprised by how much you can do.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Controling The values In A Digital Painting

I know it's been a while since I posted something new here, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working.

I've done a lot of sketching in black and white and in color as well as in traditional and in digital media.

The sketches I post here are all done in Autodesk Sketchbook. They were done using the same method in which I select five values and base the painting on those values only changing the color.

I found that it was even easier for me to control the values so that nothing seemed to pop out of the painting and out of sync with the other values and color around it. Until recently in my digital work I've had a problem with keeping down the contrast- things always seemed to bright or intense in some spots and had to be toned down. However I found that keeping the painting to a limit set of values solved this problem for me.

Below is a video I posted on my YouTube channel demonstrating the painting seen at the top and bottom left.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Drawing and Meditation/ Real Time Drawing

After recording myself doing the drawing on the left I got into a discussion with my wife about meditation.

She had gotten into meditation and attending a Buddhist Temple on occasion. Recently she was describing meditation and she told me that when she is successful at it that it does alter the way she thinks about the world.

I thought about that for a few days and I realized that I go through a similar experience when I painted in watercolor outdoors.

Working from life I am focused on solving the problems before me. Proportion, perspective, light and dark, values and color, warm and cool,  etc. When I am focused on all these things my mind does not wander or drift into other thoughts (for the most part). What happens when I do this for about three hours is that I see the whole world differently when I am done. Where before I struggled to find something to paint I saw picture possibilities everywhere. This was something that was described to me by my instructor Irwin Greenberg and I found it to be true. When I explained the experience to my wife she said to me that it described her own experience  when she meditated. You awaken with a different view of the world around you.

In the video below I discuss this as well as some other views on drawing.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Video On Painting A Digital Acrylic Painting

I've been continuing to use Rebelle 3 and I am enjoying this unique painting application. I am always striving to make my digital paintings appear as if they were done in traditional media. With Rebelle the brushes convincingly mimic Acrylic, Watercolor and Pastel. There are of course more brushes, though not many, but these three are the ones I go to the most.

The videos I make demonstrating these brushes are done from the point of view of someone (myself) who is more familiar with traditional media. My approach is not very different from the way I would paint a traditional watercolor or acrylic painting.

I have several videos available on Gumroad now. The image on the left is from my latest video. In it I explain how I use the acrylic brush in Rebelle 3 to develop the painting.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Bunch of Sketches from My Lunch Hour Break

It's been a little while since I last posted some of the sketches I do on my lunch hour so here's a bunch of them.

I wish I had more time. That hour seems to always end pretty quickly.



Sunday, September 2, 2018

Inspiration From Art History

Robert Henri once said something to the affect that all of art history belongs to us. That we should continually draw inspiration from it, from all that has gone on in the past. I often do and not just from the images but from the lives that they lived in dedication to their craft and to the words that they left behind when talking about art.

It's comforting to know that they also struggled. One of my favorite art quotes comes from Michelangelo in which he made clear what he did did not come easily. "If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all.”
- Michelangelo 

Another one of my favorite quotes is from Hokusai who made it clear that mastery was a life long pursuit.
"I have drawn things since I was 6. All that I made before the age of 65 is not worth counting. At 73 I began to understand the true construction of animals, plants, trees, birds, fishes, and insects. At 90 I will enter into the secret of things. At 110, everything - every dot, every dash - will live. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age, I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign myself 'The Old Man Mad About  Drawing."  
- Hokusai

When the work itself seems like getting better is always an uphill climb or life seems like such an obstacle to my personal goals it's comforting to look up quotes like these and know that the struggle has been shared throughout art history. Now if I can get to one tenth of the mastery those great artist achieved. Anyway, the journey is lifelong.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Painting Digital Portraits PDF

Here it is. Took me a little while but I finally put this book together on how I paint digital portraits. In this 60 page PDF I talk and demonstrate how to get started on digital painting. I talk software and hardware and have three chapters in which I demonstrate painting a digital portrait.

The PDF is available for download on Gumroad for $5.00 or you can join me on Patreon and download it from there,



Sunday, August 26, 2018

Digital Vs Traditional

The following is an excerpt from a book I am currently working on about painting digital portraits, When I am done putting the book together I will make a downloadable PDF available on Gumroad.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Making Digital Watercolors In Rebelle

Lately I've been spending a lot of time working in Escape Motions Rebelle 3. I really enjoy how the software not only simulates the appearance of traditional media but also, because of the way it's brushes behave, comes close to simulating the experience of working in traditional media.

It's really a lot of fun to work with.

I've made videos on using the acrylic brush in Rebelle, this time I am focusing my attention on its watercolor brush. The reason why I purchased the software to begin with. I have done videos which I posted on my YouTube channel but I recently uploaded a tutorial on Gumroad in which I give more time to explaining how I paint watercolors in Rebelle. The video is $2. to stream and $10. to purchase and download.

YouTube Channel


Friday, August 17, 2018

Some More Drawings Done On My Lunch Break

  I made a decision to slow down and not rush through the hour of drawing that I use my lunch break for. I am aware of the flaws in my drawing. Quite frequently the features are out of place Or there are some other problems in the drawing. I am not saying that they come from me rushing my drawing, rather because I rush to a finish I never get to work on the drawing problems that are my weakness. .

I thought that if I slowed down and not worry about finishing that I could work on the things I need to in order to improve.

While I still struggle and am more often then not disappointed with the drawing at the end of the hour I still have a feeling I'm headed in the right direction and slowing down has made the process more enjoyable. I am enjoying the time even though I may not be entirely happy with the results.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Some Drawings Done On My Lunch Hour At Work

I haven't posted my lunch hour sketches for some time but I have kept up that habit of drawing on my breaks from work everyday.

Lately I have invested more time in to a single drawing than usual. At first I was just trying to do as many sketches as I can in that hour but now I take my time and try to make the one drawing as best as I can do within that hour. Reminds me of my old instructor (Irwin Greenberg) when he said that one good drawing is better than one hundred bad ones.

I still have only that one hour to do the drawing (sometimes I cheat a bit and go beyond that hour) so I may take a couple of days to continue the drawing if I wanted to do that. But mostly I just put down the pencil and start a new one the next day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

MY Digital Sketchbook

   Lately I've been waking up in the early morning, anywhere from 2:30 A.M. to 4:00 A.M. So what I started to do was use this time to just role out of bed and draw.


 I don't have the amount of room that I used to so It's harder to use the traditional materials that I love- watercolor, gouache or pen and ink. My old drawing table is blocked off by my son's computer table. The one thing I do have easy access to is my own computer and tablet. Although I really do miss working with traditional media I am thankful for the convenience digital media offers. All I need is a little space, my digital pen and tablet and I'm set.

   When I wake I just go right to my tablet and begin to draw. It's almost like having breakfast to get me going in the morning..

   So now I have a new routine, a new reason for getting up early in the morning. The only problem is that sometimes I get so involved in solving whatever drawing problem I'm having that it's difficult to pull away and leave to go to work.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Applying Color To A Greyscale Underpainting (Gumroad Video)

I like this way of painting using a greyscale under painting.

I like that after I complete the under painting more than half the work is done and I can concentrate on the color without to much concern for the drawing. There will still be some correction to make in the drawing as I continue to add the color but these changes would for the most part not be anything major.

Another thing is that I can also discard the reference once I do the under painting and invent my own color. For fun and just to test this I painted a version making the model blue as if she were an alien character in a scifi story.

Below is a video I posted on YouTube of this painting.
There is a more detailed Tutorial available on Gumroad which can either be purchased or rented, and of course the video is also available for my patrons on my Patreon page. All the links are posted below.