Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nearly Daily Nude Drawings

It had been a few years since I had last dedicated myself to working on nude studies, so I decided the time was right to spend a while working on these... I try to do one per day in my sketchbook.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Color For Painters

For a few years I have wanted to create a video tutorial series about color as it pertains to digital painters, and particularly the problem of composition. I finally decided to do it a few weeks ago and the result is 10 videos (a bit over an hour) of what I would consider to be some of the most fundamental things painters need to understand to wield color effectively.

I tried to keep it as simple as possible and minimize side trips into technical details that, while interesting, are ultimately information overkill for most artists. I don't use Painter for most of it, but all the information is completely applicable to Painter (even older versions) as well as many other graphics applications.

What this series mostly focuses on is contrast, and how it is present in all three color attributes (Hue, Saturation and Value). Once I establish the basic concepts of what the three attributes actually are and how we define (and control) contrast for each, I use some well known example artwork to show the principles in action.

I consider this stuff to be very basic to creating good paintings, and would expect a lot of other artists to think so too – but it seems to be information that is not common to find. Hopefully you find these videos helpful... if you do, please pass the link along.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Substance Designer

I recently completed a VTC video tutorial series for Allegorithmic's Substance Designer software.

As part of demonstrating how this software can be used, I worked on a "just-for-fun" personal project, taking the very cool Solaris model and rendering it with all new textures in Maxwell Render. Below are some of the results:

The original model was made by scifiwarships -- you can see his Blog here and his deviantART page here.

The textures were made in Substance Designer and based off the commercially available Substance Space Ship Hull.

I really love Substance Designer and I highly recommend you give it a look. It is quickly becoming a software that can easily replace Photoshop in many 3D-texturing workflows (including mine).

In addition, I have found the Allegorithmic team to very responsive to feedback and requests -- so if you want to help make Substance Designer a better fit for your texturing workflow go to this link and vote:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The importance of Bridgman.

George B. Bridgman wrote several books on the subject of life drawing, all of them excellent. But they are not books for simply reading (though they can be read), rather they are books that should be drawn from. If you simply look at the art in the book you will not gain much... by re-drawing Bridgman's drawings you are forced to look much more in-depth. I certainly did not make up this, rather I learned it from the great fantasy artist Frank Frazetta who would re-draw Bridgman about every two years to keep his anatomy sharp.

I don't really feel that simply drawing Bridgman is the best course of action, as useful as it is... but rather combine the copying of Bridgman (and reading of Bridgman) with drawing from life and/or photos.

From Bridgman we gain an understanding of how to simplify and see the larger masses of the body and how they interconnect. From life we learn about detail and about the subtlety of reality -- putting the two together results in work superior to following only one or the other method. When I say “copy”, there is a very specific method that I use to teach(and learn) both from Bridgman and from photos. It is a method that I gleaned from my own observations and from the book “drawing on the right side of the brain”. The process is very simple -- we want to see the art or photo from every side and redraw it from every side until we see it accurately for what it really is.

I have a simple formula that I use when teaching: good drawing/painting is the right value, in the right shape, in the right place.

What this means is everything must be in proportion to everything else. The values must all be in an appropriate relationship with all the other values in the picture. The shapes must all be arranged and shaped appropriately and in the proper relationship to everything else (including the edges of the paper or canvas). And the placement of the values and of the shapes must all be in the proper size relationship to one another to create the illusion that everything is in proportion.

To achieve this I start by drawing very loosely -- looking at the art in its normal orientation and pressing very lightly on the pencil. After a minute or so I rotate the art and my drawing 90° so they're facing same direction -- and draw again right over the top. Repeat this process of drawing and rotating (lightning, but not erasing, the drawing with an kneaded eraser as needed)... you will be surprised to find that each time you rotate you can view the source with new eyes, seeing the value shape and size relationships more clearly.

One thing I will say about this method is that very often while the results can be absolutely accurate, it can look wrong -- the reason for this is an absolutely accurate drawing will not look accurate unless all the values and colors are also accurate. Often times you will find that in order to “look right” something will have to be drawn or painted incorrectly.

But it always helps to know precisely what the truth is before you tell a lie.

Doing a couple thousand drawings in this method will result in rapid improvement of your drawing skill. Once you know the rules you are free to break them at will.

This is really the sum total of my teaching method for the first few months with any student and I confine them to the simple problem (*ironic pause*) of human anatomy until they gain at least a basic mastery of being able to draw what they see with a modicum of accuracy.

I do not concern myself with issues of style, taste, or technique until these fundamental issues are resolved.