Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Sketch Dump

Another week gone by, another batch of sketches done both at my lunch hour at work and at home.

I wanted to try the ink brushes in Clip Paint Studio so I used the sketch above to work on the illustration at right.

Clip Studio Paint Pro is a great software especially developed for Comic and Manga artist but is also very useful for professional illustration work.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Drawing / Painting Till You Get It Right

Sometimes I can spend hours on something and no matter what I do I can't get it to look right.

I was never satisfied with how any of these paintings came out. Maybe the problem is that in working with digital media the brushes can simulate the look of traditional media but it's not the same experience. That is to say I know how a brush feels in my hand and have greater control of the brush and the medium because I can, to a certain extent anticipate how the tools will behave on paper or canvas. But with digital media I am using a pen on a clear glass (or plastic) surface and no matter what comes out on the computer screen or tablet it's not going to feel the same. It's just a simulation.

But every media has it's challenges, something you have to get used to and it's one's ability to draw and paint that makes all the difference in the end result.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Sketch Dump


Trying to make tis a weekly event where I post the weeks sketches on Fridays.

These are sketches done at home and on my lunch hour at work.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

YouTube Thumbnails For Art Videos

In an effort to improve my channel viewership I started creating these thumbnails for my videos. These serve pretty much the same function as a book or a magazine cover in that they give an indication of what the viewer will expect to see when they click on my video. The right match would be attracted to the image and the topic.

These are also a lot of fun to create but I am no graphic designer and I suspect I have something to learn on how to make these more appealing to entice my audience. I and my channel are a work in progress.

I have two channels. One called Real Time Artist where you can view videos recorded in real time which you can access at this web address

The other is called Making Art In A Busy World and has many videos which are sped up to shorten the length of the session as I explain what I am doing or talk on a certain art related topic. You can view that second Channel at this address

Feel free to browse through both channels.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Overcoming Weaknesses In My Art

When people look inward to evaluate themselves they often come up with a list of strengths and weaknesses. While I can come up with a long list of weaknesses I think that first and foremost on my list of strengths would be that I run headlong into my weaknesses and face them (this is of course concerning art, hopefully I fare as well in other areas of my life).

This is the main reason why I make it a point to draw everyday, because I know by constant practice my confidence will increase and I will be up to facing challenges. Before I can move on to something else I have to be confident in my strengths which unless they are being reinforced by constant practice will revert to weakness.

The sketch on the top did not present any challenge. It was just a quick sketch to do and only reinforced what I already knew to do. The best that I can say about it is that at least the time didn't go to waste and it helps with being confident in knowing what I know. The other two images are ones that I had to work out problems that were challenging to me. In the one on the right I had to develop a convincing surrounding to place the figure in. Perspective is a challenge for me and could top the list of my weaknesses but for this illustration I had to face the problem. I was asked to draw the figure in a cluttered room, I had to decide how difficult or easy I wanted to make this problem. When I decided on the composition I also decided that I would not shrink from my weakness and so I strove to make it as convincing as I could.

The other  illustration is a promotional one where I wanted to take on the challenge of another weakness of mine which is drawing the female from imagination. In illustration and comic book art it is customary to make the female figure as appealing as possible (I know I really pushed it with this illustration but only in accordance with the type of illustration I've seen done in this genre- that is the comic heroine/pin up).

In the video below I sketch the drawing seen at the top of this post and also talk about overcoming weaknesses.

Monday, April 16, 2018

What To Do When You Don't Know What To Draw

"Draw lines, young man, many lines; from memory or from nature – it is in this way you will become a good artist." (said to Edgar Degas)
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Okay so maybe this is a lousy drawing to put next to such a great name. I just do these sketches to keep my hand moving. Sometimes I just want to draw and I have no idea what to do and so I just make these quick sketches when I'm sitting at my desk or am on my computer at home. The thing is I have to draw and I don't have access to models and sometimes just using photo reference goes a bit stale and there are only so many self portraits I want to do. So I turn to my imagination, or my memory. It can be fun and at least I'm drawing.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Sketch Dump


Had this idea that every Friday I was just going to upload the sketches I did on my lunch hour through out the week.

The types of sketches I do take up that lunch hour. They range from simple doodling to a little more involved drawing, however I am not worrying about carrying any drawing to completion. What ever I can do in that time frame is what it is. Sometimes I am able to do a little bit more sometimes not.

Sometimes I will take a pencil drawing I did from before and ink over it. I will either do that on a fresh semi-transparent piece of paper that I put over the original drawing or I will ink directly on the drawing itself.

What ever I do the goal is to 1) relax and just enjoy drawing, 2) keep my hand moving- the discipline of constant practice.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Batch of Sketches Made On My Lunch Hour

Been a little while since I shared some of my sketches that I make during my lunch brake at work.

The season is changing so I'm looking forward to some warmer weather so I can go out and do some watercolors near where I work. There are a couple of parks in the area that I can go to.

Until then here are a small batch of my drawings.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Best Inking Software

I really tried to find a satisfactory inking brush on different software but found that the only one that really worked for me is in a software that's specifically designed for inking.

Clip Studio Paint, formerly Manga Studio.

There are two versions:
Clip Studio Paint Pro
Clip Studio Paint EX

I have pen using pen and ink since Middle School (a very long time ago) and am very used to the traditional material so I had very specific expectations of what the lines should look like. This was the only software that I found that satisfied me. I have seen other people make terrific ink drawings using other software so it's entirely possible to make great ink drawings with another program. The thing is I found exactly what I was looking for here without going through the hassle of creating a new brush or downloading special brushes, both of which I tried and was not completely happy with the results.

Below is a video from my YouTube channel detailing my thoughts as I try out the ink brush in Clip Studio Paint.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

When Is A Swipe Not A Swipe

A swipe is always a swipe whether it's barely noticeable, somewhat noticeable or just right out theft.
Illustrators and cartoonist have been swiping forever and fine artist maybe a little bit longer. The question is when is that swipe acceptable. When is it a homage or borrowing or theft?  

Illustrators and cartoonist kept what came to be called a morgue file.This was a file where artist kept photos, clippings from magazines and catalogues neatly categorized to be used as reference for their work. The clippings would include illustrations as well as photographs. It covered a wide range of subject matter so they would have the necessary information to make convincing pictures for their assignments. This was entirely necessary given that they would be called upon to illustrate a wide variety of subjects from ancient times to old western to outer space. They would be called to illustrate locals they've never physically seen and would have to do so convincingly so that such a file system was a necessity especially in a time where no one owned a home computer and there was no such thing as an internet.

Before the illustrator went into his morgue file the concept and design of the picture was already decided. It was carried as far as the artist can take it before searching for the necessary reference to provide authenticity to the image. The artist may need to know what a cowboy would wear or what kind of gun he used. There maybe need to find out what the onboard equipment of a spacecraft would look like or a fire truck or a dalmatian. Clippings of lighting situations, figure gestures, buildings, etc. would be used for their information to suggest different ways of solving specific problems.

Now there were artist like Norman Rockwell who after working out his picture idea would gather models, props and costumes and have every detail photographed to provide the reference for his paintings. This would mean of course that he didn't keep a morgue file since he would acquire all his reference for each picture. Then there was J.C. Leyendecker who never used photographs but worked directly from the model but kept a morgue file to provide information for backgrounds or props.

What I have written so far is an acceptable use of reference material. For the rest of this post I'm not
going to call out specific artist who have made swipes from other artist works or photographs because I want to talk about the idea of swiping and when it crosses a line to theft. So for an example I'm going to turn to the Old Masters. Not only were there no computers at the time, there wasn't even any electricity. There was no color reproduction like we have in modern books either, So what artist back in the days of Michelangelo did was make master copies. Younger artist made copies of works done by older established artist to study and learn from. There were also copies made for patrons who wanted a version of their favorite painting hanging in
their own collection. But there is obviously a difference between a copy and borrowing elements from someone else work and incorporating them in another painting.  Let's take a painting by the artist Peter Paul Rubens called Prometheus Bound. Rubens was a great admirer of the work of Michelangelo ( I know- who wasn't? ) as well as the Venetian painter Titian. Both of the older artist created a version of the same mythological subject. Michelangelo had made a detailed chalk drawing and Titian painted the same subject in oil. Rubens painting was
not a direct copy of either of the earlier works but he did repeat the same figure gesture and basically flipped the composition horizontally. Even with all the similarities each work of art is unique. Rubens copied the gesture but the figure is his own. The birds are similar but still unique as is every other element of each work.So would this be considered a successful swipe where one artist was inspired by the work of another?

In my opinion there does come a point where artist show little effort in coming up with their own work and basically lift one artist work and incorporate it into their own. I think the definition of a swipe had become to broad so that any hint be it ever so small and unless the word homage is not included in the title is considered stealing. But let me also say that any reference material whether it be another painting or photo or clipping should be used as a suggestion to help solve pictorial problems and not to simply copy straightforward. Another good example of this is Norman Rockwell's illustration of Rosie the Riveter. The pose taken from one of Michelangelo's figures painted on the Sistine Chapel. The only thing that Rockwell took from Michelangelo's work was the pose and yet the painting is unique and original.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Black Panther Painting

Above is a video from my YouTube channel of my working and talking about a painting I did based on the Black Panther movie. Took my family to watch the film and we all loved it, even my wife who is not too into these superhero movies enjoyed it.

Below are some preliminary sketches and the final painting.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Exploring Brush Options in Digital Painting Software

There are a lot of brush choices in any given digital painting software. Often times I find myself favoring a few brushes that I always return to. The bad thing about that is that I don't get to explore the other options that are open to me in the software.

To remedy this I've taken to setting sometime aside to just explore and practice using the other brushes. I also create a list naming the different brushes and what I can possibly use them for.

below are some of the sketches I made trying out the different brushes. To the left is a drawing I made in Autodesk Sketchbook using a charcoal brush that I've ignored up until now, and further below is a video from my YouTube channel creating the drawing.