Art Blog: Arduous Processes

Art Blog: Arduous Processes

Jynxie's picture

I notice that the majority of my fellow Swaggers ;} use digital means as a method of their artmaking. It is a skill that I myself feel very lacking in, and oftentimes it makes me extremely frustrated.

When I started college I didn't know much about art making aside from the doodles and sketches I had been doing. Highschool art class was very lacking, and so the choice to seek further instruction made it a little easier to decide that college was the right path for me to take. It really helped me out in terms of overall development, but was also lacking in a lot of areas. I didn't know how to paint, and what pieces I did have to do in finished color were often done in marker or prismacolor pencils. This was very stressful on my wrist and hand though, and what paintings I did do were often times the target of ridicule in class. I could draw well and ink well, but not paint. 

So I finally had a chance to learn a medium in my junior year, which was rather late in my time in college. I took watercolors, and instantly fell in love with the media, which I continued to take and work in. Senior year I was able to take a digital illustration class, and looking back on that time I wish that I had been more adventurous. I recall taking a lot of time to build things up and working on millions of layers because I was afraid of making a mistake. This was quite disasterous as I often forgot what layers contained what, as I am sure you can imagine. None of my digital paintings were any good at all. 

So I have been out of school now for about three years, and I miss it very much. I also want to continue furthering my education and am working towards that goal in little steps. One of these is to try to work digitally a little more. The images below were all done at different times over the past four years or so. These aren't the only experiments into digital that I have done, but these are some of my favorites, or some things that I have been really kicking myself in the butt over. None of the images below are finished pieces, they were studies that I never finished. Looking back at these kinda helps to motivate me to try to employ these methods in my work now, even if they did take forever. Watercolors took me a while to learn too, and nothing has been as hard as dealing with the years of college where I had no idea how to render a piece to finish in color. It litterally made me manic to paint on a pencil, knowing that the end result would be the demise of my drawing. I still feel that way sometimes, but it's not as bad. 

Anyways, the first two of Padme were studies in learning to use my tablet, and trying out colors. I liked how the feel of the colors looked like old marker pieces of mine, though I never finished the piece. The next one was a self portrait dealing with some of the same things, though I tried to render things differently by using block colors and then going in with a lower oppacity and flow brush to blend. The fourth piece is kinda a continuation of that technique, with more saturated colors. I had a reference piece for this I took from a stock folder on DA. I sketched it out and sampled colors from areas of the photo, then blocked those in on my study and used a lower oppacity and flow brush to blend. I dislike the smudge tool because I don't feel like it has that much control, and when you zoom in close it looks like crap (at least to me it does).  The next image was a greyscale comp, also using a stock image from DA. I drew the model out and started to throw down different tones. I really liked the way the grey comp was working out, and that I was able to keep it loose. I was working on this via a live skype feed with a friend of mine to show him some of the new tricks I was trying out. 

The next image was a reworking of a MTG card for fun. I drew the figure out and was (and still do) enjoying the way it was turning out. I think that once I made a layer to add color to it I started to hate the image, even though some of my former friends from college and a few professional friends of mine were liking how it was turning out. Around this time I had started to pay attention to the artist Serge Birault and his way of coloring in images. I really like how he tends to do his digital works and continue to keep and eye on his stuff. As for the last three....the Pele piece was a sketch that I started to color in to experiment with shading and color. I think it's neat and learned some things from it. Sistine was a portfolio piece I was intending to do with a shadowrun flare, but I got so bogged down in the process of coloring it. I think I handled certain things well, but I let the face go way too far from the original sketch and reference picture. The last is part of my goal to be able to mesh my traditional watercolor pieces with digital. This is a digital color study that I did over the original penciled piece before I began to paint it. 

I wasn't able to keep the color study beside me as a painted, which meant the original didn't come out as nice as the comp I was intending it to look like. I still plan on either working up the comp to completion, and or also working my finished watercolor piece to finish in PS. 

I really need to work on improving my digital skills. I also need to print out these pieces and stick them around my work space. When I was looking back at these in particular and looking at pieces I have done for portfolio or final work I want to kick myself for not rendering them with the same drive or attention. The same thing happens when I work traditionally, just not as often. I think my bigest hurdle will be that I am so steeped in how my brush and paint works in hand, on paper, that I just don't get that at all with digital. I said a lot of your guys work digitally and your work looks great. I hope to be able to find a happy middle ground as well. 


My goodness, Jynxie these are wonderful!

It is nice seeing some of your unfinished pieces, and thank you for sharing your ongoing learning curve.  It reminds me that you are indeed human.  ;)

It's also helped me to realize that my strictly digital work tends to take on it's own kind of style in comparison to my traditional work, at least that's what I see happening. 

Jynxie! Don't know how I missed this. Your composition is awesome! Your really nailing those values! I know your going for that watercolor look in your digital paintings but digital art is a medium of its own. Color is something that digital art can handle with ease. It's true that your digital art will have a different style but don't be afraid to embrace it and let it evolve. You can even apply what you've learned from traditional medium to your digital art. I know I have with what I use to do with acrylics. Great stuff! I'm really digging the values on the dancing girl.

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