Showing posts with label painting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label painting. Show all posts

Monday, February 23, 2015

Simply Messing About...with Watercolor!

Since I'm not yet able to post images from the current book I'm working on (A Morning with Gong Gong, Lee & Low), here are a couple little paintings I've been doing for fun. I've had this Windsor & Newton travel watercolor set for a couple years, but I've hardly used it. I decided to pull it out and simply mess about! Though watercolor isn't as forgiving as my computer, it's been fun to make marks on paper and delight in happy accidents. I'm hoping these little exercises in watercolor will spill over and help me with some spontaneity in the digital world of painting. Here's to having fun with real paint!

~christina


Friday, March 14, 2014

What Music Makes YOU Happy?

This is a bit of a different post for our blog, but I think anyone can argue that for most of us, music aids creativity! A few days ago, I polled Twitter to find out what songs simply make people...happy. When you're happy, you're confident, and your creativity just flows. 

I thought it would be really fun to compile everyone's song suggestions into a playlist. It turned out so awesome, I just had to share! 



There's something for everyone, enjoy!!
A special thanks to these rockin' awesome tweeters for participating:


And, as always, you can follow us on Twitter at:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Digital Collage Illustration in Photoshop Tutorial

After much trial and lots of error, I finally have some videos of my process. I made a three part tutorial of my entry for the Tomie dePaola Award. This was an experiment of a style I've wanted to try. I'm really happy with how it turned out and can't wait to do more like it.



Elements used in this tutorial
For this piece, I worked in Photoshop CS6. Most of the elements in it were scanned in textures, art, and collages. I only painted a little bit of it in Photoshop.

The first video focusses on the background elements.


In the second video, I did a little painting on the pig.


In the last video, I created the swirling leaves and petals out of a background painted on canvas paper.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Creating a Photoshop Brush Using Scanned Textures (Video)

I originally began painting with Photoshop about seven years ago. Back then, I really tried to mimic the look of painting with oils (my true art love), but lately I feel my work has gotten away from that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as I have a newer style I really love, but I do miss creating work that looks and feels more traditional.

I recently discovered an artist named Paolo Domeniconi while scrolling through Pinterest. I was blown away to discover that his work is created in Photoshop! His textures are beautiful and painterly and it’s hard to believe they are painted digitally.

After seeing Paolo’s work, I was inspired to take another stab at making my own texture brushes.  When I first began figuring out how to paint using Photoshop (back in 2006), I found this tutorial by Scott E. Franson. The artwork resulting from his custom brushes is gorgeous. I've kept his blog post bookmarked and his method has always stuck with me. As I went back to experiment with my own texture brushes a few weeks ago, I referred back to his post for help. I’m happy that after lots of experimentation, I finally figured out a great method for painting in Photoshop with results I really love.

At the bottom of this post, I’ve included links to download the gesso texture file and the chalk brush for you to get started creating your own gesso texture brushes! Feel free to download and experiment!



Download:
Gesso Texture

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quick Photoshop Painting Demo (with music)!

There are many different ways I paint in Photoshop, but this video demonstrates the technique I've used to paint FAST. I recently finished a project on a super tight deadline and I knew I had to figure out a way to paint faster in order to get everything done on time. So, I went back to basics: employing line, value and local color!

The video below started with a random sketch on a random piece of paper floating around on my desk. In real time, the painting took about 15 minutes but it's been condensed down to about four minutes here!


Since the video goes by at lightning speed, here are some useful tips for the basic layer setup I used:

  • The final line layer is set to MULTIPLY and is on top of everything else
  • The value layer comes next and is also set to MULTIPLY. It is important that you work out your values here in order to eliminate worrying about that in your color layer
  • The next layer is your local color layer set to NORMAL. Since your values are worked out in the above layer, all you have to do here is paint your flat (or local) colors in. Your values already show through!
  • Lastly, you can do a layer above everything else with your highlights.
  • I left my line visible, but if you push your value layer and really work out your lights and darks, you can completely get rid of the line layer.

That's it! Set it and forget it! Here's a piece I did using this technique. Until next time! :)

From "Goodnight Baseball" (Capstone, 2013)


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Watercolor my World: Part 2

In my last few posts, I've gotten a little digital-heavy, but I promise I have not forgotten to document my painting progress! In my last watercolor post, I described why I decided to take a watercolor class in the first place. As my 8 week course comes to a close, it's easy to say that I'm not quite publish-ready with the medium, however, I did make a great deal of progress. 

My starting palette. 

Here's my edited palette (in list form) and what I discovered about each color (to my personal taste):

-Cobalt Blue (too close to Ultramarine, replaced with Prussian Blue)
-Ultramarine

-Viridian Hue
-Sap Green
-Burnt Umber (dull, but sticking with it)
-Yellow Ochre (too dull, replaced with Naples Yellow)
-Quinacridone Gold (decided to add more blue to palette with Cerulean)
-Cadmium Yellow Hue
-Burnt Sienna
-Alizarin Crimson (use it in EVERYTHING)
-Cadmium Red Light Hue (replaced with Mortum Violet)
-Cadmium Red (also use it in EVERYTHING)


As in most schooling, it's customary to start with still lives. Here's my first pass at one using my original  Winsor & Newton palette and Arches Cold Press


Here are a few other samples of what I painted:



I discovered how much I like to add reds and pinks when I'm real-life painting. I also became slightly obsessed with painting fur. :) It doesn't happen so much when I'm working digitally, but who knows, maybe that will change now? 

My weapons of choice:
-Ticonderoga #2 Pencil
-Isabey Squirrel Quill Brush (Size 4) - great for both large washes and details
-Isabey Kolinsky Brushes (Size 4 and 6) - best for small areas
-Winsor & Newton Cotman (Size 5) - best for hard details


I switched a lot between Hot and Cold Press Arches (140 lb.) throughout the 8 weeks, trying to discover what I like best about both. 


Cold Press (Toothy Texture) seems to be best at letting the paint do it's thing:


Paint edges look softer and blend better on Hot Press.

Hot Press (Smooth) seems to be best for adding ink line and/or colored pencil:


Paint edges look harder and more defined on Cold Press.

Here is an example of some color tests I did side by side on Hot Press (back) and Cold Press (front):

Lemur in a sombrero prefers Cold Press, like me.

I gave Cold Press another shot on the last night of class, and this is what happened (based off of this sketch):


I wasn't able to use my ink brush, instead I tried using the paint, itself to fill in the lines I wanted so badly to see. 

I hope to keep painting and I can only imagine that making the promise to update you all on my progress will push me forward. And then, maybe slowly over time, my palette will continue to grow to a more masterful size, like Dan's

Dan Moynihan's watercolor palette is well-loved!

Thanks for reading!

Cheers!
~Renee




Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Moving Outside the Box

Much like Renee previously wrote about in her blog entry, I too, spent a long time painting in oils. I discovered oils in my last year of college and fell in love with their rich, buttery color and texture. By the way, if you're looking for the most scrumptious (figuratively, NOT literally of course) oil paints ever, I suggest you go and pick up some tubes of M. Graham walnut-based oils...the best!

But then...along came my first child in 2006, and given my tendency towards being a messy painter, I decided that having toxic paints around small children was probably not a good move. So, I went completely digital.

For the past seven years, my art has been completely created using Photoshop. And while there are definitely benefits of going totally digital, I've reached the point that I am feeling completely "boxed" in by creating on my Wacom--essentially a 12" square of plastic. So, out have come the pencils, pens, brushes and...PAINTS! 


It's been wonderful to get back into creating art the old fashioned way: there's no Command-Z to rely on anymore!  For me, no "undo" button means happy accidents, which I hope will lead to an energy in my art that I feel gets watered down when I paint with Photoshop. Eventually, I would like to figure out a successful way to merge both digital with traditional methods to create illustrations that match my style.

I can't wait to rediscover art in the traditional sense and share my discoveries here with you all! I'm looking forward to getting my fingers dirty and simply...messing about!

Toodles!
~christina


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Watercolor my World

It's the beginning of Spring here in Boston, a time of new beginnings and rebirth. There's no mistaking a change in the air when you get that one extra hour of sunlight! In the Spring, I start to reassess where I've been and where I'm going. This year I chose to focus on my art style. Lucky for me to find three talented ladies in the same boat!

As we previously mentioned, the goal of coming together on this blog is to help not only each other, but offer advice to anyone else who might need a lift. I'm thinking of it like a journal. Down the line, there's bound to be a story you'll connect with to help steer you in the right direction.

Here's my first story:

I studied oil painting in school by choice. 15 years ago, I had different goals and different influences, but things change. After school I got a job in the animation industry and suddenly I was a digital artist frantically learning new skills and software, letting my paints dry and crumble. How sad to forget about something you studied in such depth!?

A few months ago, tired of leaving them half full, I started to make myself draw in my sketchbooks. I thought it might be helpful to use Instagram to share photos of my sketches (social media "cheerleaders" are your best friends). Because of the reactions I got, I kept going. I learned to draw more freely and be less dependent on the Cmd+Z.


A few months into posting sketches, I pulled out my Pentel brush pen:


Having that solid pencil sketch made adding a more permanent line actually fun to do. Being able to manipulate a brush pen got me to thinking (uh-oh). 

Here's the conversation that happened in my head:

"I need to relearn how to paint."
"But oil paint is too messy."
"And smelly..."
"What if my cat eats the paint and dies?"
"There has to be another way."
"Water...
...Color"
"!"

It sounds so silly listed like that when actually, over time, I just developed new influences and became more fascinated in a particular picture book illustration style. (A style you just can't replicate in Photoshop, believe me I've tried!) My husband focused on watercolor in school and we had a "Painting Sunday" where he showed me some techniques. Our cat, Timmy, was happy I chose water over oil and so eager to pose:


I kept dabbling for a bit on my own:


Then I discovered a local watercolor class with illustrator, Dan Moynihan. I can't imagine taking a class these days unless the teacher is someone I greatly admire and want to learn from. Dan's style is cartoon. My style is cartoon. Perfect! I was relieved to find that class #1 had us starting from the very basics. There is absolutely no pressure to finish anything and make it look "perfect," which I have been trying to do for 15 years.

I've only been to a few classes so far, but taking a giant leap backwards has been extremely helpful. It can seem gruesome to have to start all over, but it's never too late if you don't freak out (*quote of the day). Patience is so hard to find, I know.

The reintroduction to value and hue studies is one of my particular favorites:


Through this simple test, I'm discovering what colors I like best and realizing I can probably subtract a few from my palette (i.e. second row from the top left - ultramarine and cobalt look close enough to probably choose just one):


My first palette (that I will eventually condense):
-Cobalt Blue
-Ultramarine
-Viridian Hue
-Sap Green
-Burnt Umber
-Yellow Ochre
-Quinacridone Gold
-Cadmium Yellow Hue
-Burnt Sienna
-Alizarin Crimson
-Cadmium Red Light Hue
-Cadmium Red


There you have it, the beginning of my sloooow, messy process of getting back into painting and the end of chapter one. If this ends up being a 25 chapter book, so be it. The second you stop learning is when the creativity stops as well, right? I'll do my best to share what I learn on this blog and I'll definitely keep posting frequent sketchbook photos on Instagram!

Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions, and so forth. I would love to keep the discussion alive!

Cheers!
~Renee