After the digital failure I mentioned in my last post, I felt like there was a blatant gap in my skill set. It seems like everybody who is anybody can paint digitally these days. Back in school when I had my first digital painting class, I thought my work was on par with my fellow students. However, I ended up focusing more on traditional media and my peers who kept up with digital painting are now killing it, while my skills are sadly wanting.
So, I decided to practice (they say that is how you get better at things). I dug up an old piece of reference and just started making an image. To start with, it felt as digital painting always does for me—like I’m fighting the pixels. They just don’t do what paint does and I spend time trying to wrangle my tools rather than focusing on making a good image.
Then with time, I started to work out a process by which I could reasonably control what was happening on the screen. By the time I finished this piece I felt I was doing alright at this digital painting business. Of course, that is when I saw the latest digital piece Miranda Meeks, one of my old classmates from BYU, had made…. and I decided to go buy a big panel to do some oil painting 🙂
Here is my digital exercise:
Below is an animation of some of the stages of progress. I decided before finishing it off (above) that she was leaning too far forward, so I tilted her back and then did the background.
Here is another illustration executed in a traditional/digital combo method. I paint the basics a little roughly, and then scan and finish with digital paint. I like for any of my digital images to have a more physical feel and I have a hard time getting that without at least a foundation of real paint.
As you can see, this fellow and his hawk have just come across a dragon in the forest. People keep telling me it is a dinosaur and I can’t figure out if that is because I painted something that looks like a dinosaur, or if popular culture has taught people that it is reasonable for a man with a sword to meet a dragon, but men with rifles are only likely to meet dinosaurs.
This started as oil on panel and then went to pixels on imac.
This is my take on the Firebird. Of course, when most people say “the Firebird”, they mean Stravinsky’s ballet. If they don’t mean Stravinksy’s ballet, they probably mean “I have heard of the Firebird but I don’t really know what it is or how its story goes.”
The funny thing is, there really isn’t just one story of the firebird and the ballet for which Stravinsky wrote music, draws elements from various tales, but faithfully follows none. In short, the firebird is more of a recurring character in various Russian folk-tales. In fact the firebird usually seems to take an “and the” sort of role. My illustration could be entitled: “Princess Vasilisa and the Firebird”.
On this image I went straight from my sketch/drawing to digital, but I tried to color it in a way that would feel like it is still made of something, like you wouldn’t be surprised if it was on a sheet of traditional vellum.
I was hoping to channel a little bit of Arthur Rackham, I don’t know successful I was at that, but I hope you like it.