This stage is all Photoshop. I’d almost consider it cheating if it weren’t such a pain in the ass to pull off; if I weren’t going to paint over it; if I hadn’t done everything by hand under it; and if this weren’t an exercise using professional digital painting for illustration techniques.

Here, one has to go find a bunch of images of appropriate textures, and attempt to superimpose them on top of ones image in semitransparent layers. You have to stretch them, erase parts, overlap them, and so on. It’s a kind of skill of its own. There were at least a dozen layers involved, which I kept sandwiching for convenience. The purpose of this phase is to add realism.

Keep in mind that because I have the texture, the shading, the lighting, and color on separate layers, I can adjust them all interdependently.

Just a reminder to people who don’t know my work, this isn’t my style, it’s an exercise to help me learn techniques from professional illustrators that I can ultimately incorporate into my own my fine art purposes. That said, it’s my character concept, and I throw in my own tricks and knowledge as well. But this is as much a reflection of my individual style as if I did a plein air landscape oil painting, which I’d love to do (it’s one of my fantasies to take a class one day).

There are several more stages to go in order to achieve a kind of hyper-realism.

Right is adding texture.
Right is adding lighting and shading.
Left is the original drawqing, right is adding local color.

~ Ends

5 replies on “WIP: Adding Texture

  1. Eric, your skills, patience, attention to detail and artistry is readily apparent. You just blow me away every time I see what you are doing. Thank you. Sending you love ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny that in physical art making one begins with material textures (brush marks, paint and canvas) then works toward adding imaginary texture. But its the opposite in digital art, there one starts with no texture and adds illusionary material and imaginary textures.
    But it’s still a balancing act how much of the project is paint and how much is picture—material texture in a painting, or none at all in PS vs. the representation of an ideal or image “out there” be that in the real world or one’s head. How much of each is a matter of personal style, yes?
    Me personally: I hate that vacant look of the mechanical look of basic brushes and the flatness of the stock colors straight from the swatches panel. And feel some times I can’t get past that in PS. But, on the other hand and equally frustrating, in physical art making the material—my control of it, actually—won’t let me have my way. I can’t win.
    You do both masterfully. Keep up the good work.


    1. Hi Howard:

      I think you’re right about the difficultly of overcoming the “flat look” of digital painting (and getting the physical medium of pigment to do what one wants, but I’ll concentrate on digital art here). I think that may not even bother younger people who haven’t worked with traditional mediums, but I’m not sure. Most digital painting I’ve seen is some form of illustration, as regards technique, including this piece. In fact it’s merely an excuse for me to hone the skills that professional digital painters use. When digital artists do something other than illustration, it’s usually of the photo-editing/filter/native-Photoshop-tools sorts of wacky experiments variety.

      Rarely does anyone attempt to use digital painting for more traditional painterly purposes, and even rarer still for more contemporary figurative painting. We might get some people attempting your garden variety still-lifes, landscapes, and nudes, but as with painting in general, fewer attempt to grapple with the human condition in the present in any conspicuous way, let alone any trajectory of the evolution of figurative painting.

      Because I have a fine art background, I dedicated a lot of time to developing digital impasto, and have mostly come at digital painting from a contemporary fine art painting angle. That’s still my ultimate goal: to make contemporary painting (digitally). Here I’m just learning skills that have been honed by legions of professional illustrators to be fast, efficient, and effective. This way I can combine my self-taught techniques with what others have developed to hopefully achieve better results with whatever style I choose to work in.


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