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Monday, May 24, 2010

Tiles of Strife.

I've found myself with a little, (unwanted), down time; so I decided to paint something. I'm doing a bookcover for a ficticious book called, "Tiles of Strife."

What're those??

No idea.

But I'm going to post the progress when I make some...and post it up here.

The process I use when I paint both traditionally and digitally is similar to the process that illustrators have used for hundreds of years. Leonardo, Michangelo, Rembrant, Norman Rockwell, etc...

It all begins with some rough sketches to get an idea of what you want. It's a little like thinking with a pencil...(that's what she said.)Some rough thumbnail sketches are more detailed than others; but since I only have a vague idea of the storyline, I'm worried about composition more than anything else.

I decided I liked the direction of where this one was going so I decided to move to the next step. Reference.
Before cameras were invented, or readily available, artists would hire models to pose in positions similar to their rough sketches. I love looking at Norman Rockwell's reference photos, he was able to coax an amazing amount of emotion out of the people that posed for him.
I often use myself as a model because; A. I can't convince any friends to pose for me, or B. I can't, or don't want to, spend money to hire a model.

I basically hung a light on the ceiling, grabbed a few regular clothes out of my closet to make a costume...and began shooting.

Do I look silly? Certainly. But I figure if all the master artists did something similar to this...It's ok for me to do it too.

Plus, I like dressing up and acting silly...

But anyways...The next part of the process is the line drawing. The challenge here is to not lose any emotion from all the curves and angles in your rough sketch. It's so easy to lose any sort of life or movement when going from sketch to final drawing.
That being said...I don't try to copy the model verbatim...but rather, I use it to fill in any information that might be missing in my drawing; facial muscles, little folds in cloth, anatomy corrections, etc...

This helps me figure out any holes in my drawing before I spend countless hours rendering it with paint.
Now, normally I do all these sketches traditionally, then scan them in before mounting them on a board. But I decided I wanted to try it digitally and see how I felt about it.

After I've finished the line drawing I shift the background and line color, and start throwing in some light shadows and highlights. (traditionally, I'd use colored canson paper with white and brown prisma pencils, or just use plain ol' b&w graphite and white paper.) This helps me plan out where I want my focus to be, using light.

As you can see, I'd like the eye to travel back and forth between the soldiers sword and sword arm, and the leaping thief's face.

Well that's it for today. My next step will be to enlarge and mount the drawing on masonite, and then do a color study.

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