Line drawing, and local color study.

Some people make their digital paintings in very logical stages. That has tended to not be me, except on some occasion. I’m, or have been, much more the artist that just starts experimenting, sees what happens, and rides the wave in. But, uh, to get to some next level shit, sometimes an artist has to learn some new skills, adapt, incorporate, and then level up. I really can’t remember the last time I made  a line drawing as a study.

Doing the line drawing was interesting, though, because you get into all the curves and the relation between them. There’s an elegance to it that’s immediately apparent, like a visual math or music. This is, incidentally, an example of what I call “visual language”. And, by the way, it kinda’ sucks doing a drawing like that with a crappy drawing tablet in my lap. Drawing some curves at some angles was really difficult, where I could painlessly do that on paper. Before people get excited and tell me that’s why digital art sucks and will never be able to compete with whatever amateur crap done on loincloth, you can get graphic tablets that allow you to draw directly on your image. A little out of my price range at the moment. I have the cheapest Wacom tablet that will function adequately. But, it’s gloriously possible.

A strong reason for going digital is I can add color UNDER the drawing.

I learned these smart techniques from doing digital painting courses from and for illustrators (yes, I went to grad school, but there I mostly learned how to discuss social justice). To go with an analogy, this is like a rock guitarist taking a classical acoustic guitar class and learning to read music (if he, or she couldn’t already). That monster has me written all over it, though. And the drawing style goes all the way back to my teens.

The color study is on a boring, neutral background, which tends to deaden it — for now! — because white is just too bright. If you can make something look decent on hideous neautral grey, you are on your way. I wanted him (I think) to be some blue-greys, with shades of red and green. Orange irises and blue eyelids seemed kinda’ cool. He looks like an ant-man, with octopus-tentacle tendencies. Hmmm. His gums might need to be more pink.

He’s a bit cartoony right now, but eventually the line drawing will disappear, after I add shading and lighting. And there will be a background. Not sure if it will be natural, a city, or industrial, but it won’t be in focus, and it will most likely be lighter than the monster.

No, goddammit, it’s not a self portrait after I get the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (a.k.a the “Wu-flu”), which is fast heading my way. However, our beloved hero of 20th century figurative painting, Francis Bacon, once said that all paintings are self-portraits in that they represent how we choose to present ourselves to the world. That’s some deeper fodder, and true, but since most of the time we are hopeless literalists, it’s not supposed to have anything to do with me. I may be old-ish, but I’m not THAT ugly.

Let’s see if I can pull this off, and make him realistic, not un-disgusting, and with some humanity about him, despite his monstrosity.

~ Ends

11 replies on “WIP: Early Stages, Line Drawing & Local Color Study

    1. It takes getting used to. But the high end ones are huge, and you draw directly on the image. The Chinese knock-offs are coming down in price, and they have sales out here. I’m starting to eye them.

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  1. I kind of like your monster, interesting and creative. I used to draw skulls and vampires in my teens, go figure! I’ve been toying with the idea of learning some digital basics, I had no idea that I could get a graphic tablet so affordable, so thanks for prompting me to look it up!

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    1. The “graphic tablets” are the ones where you draw directly on the image. The cheapest ones are the Chinese ones, but some of them are amazingly good compared to older technology. They probably start at a few hundred bucks. The Wacom low end ones are $100 or less, and you can get used ones.

      You can get the newest Photoshop for $10 a month, and there are very good courses one can take online to learn it all.

      For a lot of analogue artists, I’d think digital might just be a good way to help them test out colors, stage images, and so on.

      Most artists, if they get into it, will find it rewarding.

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  2. Good work, treating digital like paint on canvas and pondering the significance of that.
    Always conflicts: do I paint or photoshop? Maybe because I worked at newspapers 40 yrs (the last 20 digitally) that digital is my go-to if I want to get it done quickly, I don’t have to think about the technique (photoshop CS6 w/ a small wacom) so I can go from idea to published in a couple of hrs. Painting—abandoned mid BA in favor of graphics, revived in my golden years—fights back, adds its own thoughts to the project, like a therapist. I enjoy that. But sometimes the idea is not a “Baconian” self portrait but a newspapery political illustration that I just want to get out there as quickly as I can, like the good old days.

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    1. I think one can use either medium for either purpose, and anything inbetween. But, yes, generally digital has huge advantages in terms of executability in regards to flexability, and not needing to mix paints or wait for things to dry, etc. That said, the sky is the limit of how far one wants to take it. You can do a Baconian portrait if you really work at it.

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  3. This subtleties on this design are awesome, neck tentacle, vein nostrils, bitten head. And the expression, it’s going “what.”.
    Also, I didn’t know that shitting on digital art was a thing, that’s like saying a medium sucks.

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    1. Thanks, Jason. Glad you appreciated those details. It’s in the shading phase now. Probably share another WIP in a day or two or three.

      Yup, anti-digital is a huge thing. People think and tell me that it is soulless. They say, “the machine did it,” and “it’s not a painting if it doesn’t have paint in it”. They tell me it all looks “immature” and the wouldn’t hang it on a wall, etc. It’s an extremely common mindset.

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      1. Wow, that’s unfortunate to hear, but to each their own I guess. I’m just a hobbyist so I wouldn’t know, most of my interaction is with amateurs online. You’d think fellow artists would appreciate the time and effort people put into their craft, regardless of what medium they use. The fundamentals don’t change after all.

        And that’s cool re: shading, looking forward to it haha. If this is your drawing style from your teens, would be awesome to even see your old art or something (or is it somewhere on your blog?). It’s a creative process outside of my realm of thinking, and very insightful.

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