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Lunatique
04-10-2005, 02:55 AM
In the Corel Painter forum, I get a lot of people asking about the brushes that famous digital artists use--artists like Kim Hyung Tae, Ryan Church, and Craig Mullins. I always try to discourage novices from fixating on such a thing, because understanding the underlining structure of another artist's work is far more important than knowing what brushes they used. A reply I had written in one of those threads explained in detail why, and I think it would be a good topic for people to discuss here in the Art Discussion forum.

Taken from my post in the Corel Painter forum:

"Ok, here's my opinion on this. Essentially, there are three things we can breakdown when we look at a painting we admire. They are:

1) The idea/story/emotions behind the piece.

2) The artistic knowledge behind the piece (values, colors, edges, drawing, composition..etc)

3) The surface technique behind the piece (brush work, paint splatters, scumbling, dabbing, glazing, impasto, line quality of drawing..etc)

When people ask for the brushes of other artists, they are basically thinking about #3. There's nothing wrong with that, because for some artists, #3 is what people associate with their works (Nicolai Fechin comes to mind). There are artists where you associate #2 and #3 with (Richard Schmid comes to mind). Then there are artists where you associate all three elements with (Van Gough comes to mind).

Sometimes, it's #1 that makes a piece successful, sometimes it's #2 or #3. Of course, IMO, the best we strive for is all 3, or at least that's what I feel we should strive for.

With that in mind, I think for different people, they place different emphasis on their work. Someone like Craig strives to hit all three marks, but what many novice artists try to mimic is only #3. Now, I'm not saying Craig's surface technique isn't important, because it is, and it's such a signature look of his. But, you have to remember, when you mimic the surface technique, it makes you a cheap imitator with no substance. In a way, that's why I think someone like Godward never reached the heights of other masters like Waterhouse, Bouguereau, or Alma-Tadema. Granted, Godward polished his surface technique to death, but going through his body of works, it's one piece of redundant imitation after another.

I can guarantee you that if you forced people like Ryan or Craig to paint the same quality of paintings with a complete different set of brushes, they'd do it just as well, and just as easily. The flavor might be slightly different due to the changes in surface technique, but different absolutely does not mean better or worse. It's like when digital artists use both Painter and Photoshop--their brushes are as different as night and day, but I bet you can't tell when Linda Bergkivist uses one or the other--her work is just great, period.

For me personally, yes, if you took away my palette knife in Painter, I'd be pretty upset, and I do rely on it for certain surface techniques. But I can definitely paint without it, and I'd just find some other way to get the look I want.

So, anyway, these are my thoughts."

jbo
04-10-2005, 03:35 AM
hmmmm.... palette knife. so that's the secret!:)

lotaH
04-10-2005, 03:41 AM
But don't you find important everything to know on the technique, to facilitate in the hour of counting a history?

Michelangelo knew everything of sculpture, before creating Davi.

Or, in a better example, Picasso knew everything of figurative painting, before developing the Cubism.

Should we study the 3 thing, not? :shrug:

I think a furum is the best place to study to number 3.

But always thinking about the 3.

[] ' s

cha0t1c1
04-10-2005, 03:41 AM
I agree, It's how it's done not what he/she used to get it done...I prefer looking at the process....I don't care what brush...

ashakarc
04-10-2005, 04:24 AM
Well, I differ on that. For beginners, learning is a process of active engagement with new things. It is called Experiential Learning. What better examples to copy or work with than those of the Masters. Historically, all great painters, architects, etc.. have been deeply influenced by the work of their predecessors at the beginning of their career. Surely enough, the underlying structure is very essential to understand, but for beginners you can't bet on it all the time. Part of the blind copying process is to be able to experience the same measures applied in a different set of conditions.


As for the brushes,, it is part of human nature that always think great people's possessions, tools, or gadgets are part of the reason of their success, it is pathetic but I guess that is why some brand sales are soaring.

In anyway, it is good to advise beginners to look beyond the tools and techniques,..well done.

ashakarc

pushav
04-10-2005, 04:38 AM
some brushes can make a great difference. i think that artist should offer some of their brushes or at least showing how they made the brush and tell the person how or when they use it. several art books teach you basically the same thing such as making pencil portraits.

i say first kind of emulate/imitate then branch off 2 your own style.

and p.s. i scan my art into the computer then paint under my sketch with the lineart set 2 multiply then after that i paint over my sketch. That is my process.

Cicinimo
04-11-2005, 07:59 AM
I absolutely agree. I think we all tend to become so fixed on the paint job that we forget about the purring engine underneath.

eparts
04-11-2005, 10:28 PM
3) The surface technique behind the piece (brush work, paint splatters, scumbling, dabbing, glazing, impasto, line quality of drawing..etc)



well brush work doesnt directly mean what brushes are used, but how they are used. good brushstrokes, and as mentioned, line quality.
The brushwork can tell more of the style and personality the painting has. Its one of the reasons why many people enjoy "real" paintings instead of digital art.

Besides.. I dont think cusomized brushes is the most important thing you need when you start up painting digitally in photoshop or painter. I cant speak so much for Painter, but photoshop got pretty okay brushes.

I only use two brushes: the soft one and the hard one. and mix them together. works good for me.

jmBoekestein
04-11-2005, 11:23 PM
There's no magic pill any way. But I had no clue about hard brushes though, and I'm happy someone or a lot of people pointed them out. Now I have made my own variants which will do for most things for now I think. I have basically 4 brushes made now, smeary round hard with cnostant and variable size, and standard opaque also in variable and constant size they seem to fit all tasks. I made them according to my wants but had I not been attented to these variants I might have stuck with the standard painter brushes.
You tell me, I think just talking technique works fine. I just pressed magic F1 and was homefree to make them.. But I wouldn't have learnt about them I must say.
So thanks for that.:)

Calintz
07-16-2005, 07:55 PM
Lunatique, i know what your saying, but knowing what brushes to use and what settings is as vital as the technique used. When i first started i read so many tutorials on techniques for months, and tried and tried and tried to paint. No luck it looked absolutely rubbish

Example of one:
http://img322.imageshack.us/img322/3015/warofgenesis7qq.th.jpg (http://img322.imageshack.us/my.php?image=warofgenesis7qq.jpg)

and then i read a tutorial which suggested using a certain opacity and flow settings. Once i tried these, this was what i was able to produce next. The difference is startling even though i used almost identical techniques for both.

Example two:
http://img322.imageshack.us/img322/1603/darkknight2recolouredbgbyphore.th.jpg (http://img322.imageshack.us/my.php?image=darkknight2recolouredbgbyphore.jpg)

However i still have alot to improve and skin has been a major problem with me, however ive just read about "hard edge" brushes in photoshop and have experimented with these and the result is great compared to my previous attempts (once again, ive been using the same technique all the time, its just brushes and settings which can make the difference).

Zack
07-16-2005, 09:47 PM
I'll echo Calintz in saying that brushes, as unimportant as they might seem to an experienced digital painter can make a huge difference for beginning painters. I was always baffled by how it seemed that paintings by some of the best artists seemed to be without strokes. Using the default photoshop brushes it's nearly impossible to achieve that affect (for beginners like me, at least).

ThomasMahler
07-16-2005, 10:21 PM
I think it's the same with every tool an artist uses - If you're successful with a new technique or with "your" technique, then other artists will become interested in your work. Before you start to work, you _will_ think about the tools that you'll use and hopefully choose the right ones for the job. Because that's your profession. That's what you've learned. You're not only trying to express yourself, you're trying to do that in a certain manner.

I think artists are missing the point if they're asked about the tools they use and they come off with a "It's not about the tool!". Heck, if people ask you what tools you use, then they might only be interested in your technique and not implicitly in the work you've created. I think the saddest thing that can happen to an artist is that he's so under-confident, that he's afraid of sharing his "secret-weapon". Of course, there's no secret-weapon, doesn't matter what kind of art you're producing.

If someone reduces a great artist to the tools he used, then he most likely doesn't have a clue what he's talking about, so why bother?

Even on this board, I've read the "it's not about the tool, blabla" so often, I could puke. If someone asks you about the tools you used or about your technique, then you should take this as a compliment, since you obviously did a good job. If people ask me about the tools I'm using or my techniques, then I'll give them an honst answer. Especially if they think that it's all about the tools and not the artists knowledge, since they'll probably try it out for themselves and fail -And if they're smart, they learned their lesson.

If you have to "hide" your tools or your technique, chances are that you already know why.

Lunatique
07-17-2005, 05:56 AM
Well, I personally don't think twice about giving out my brushes (they are available on my website), and most artists I know gives out their brushes freely too, but I definitely have met some that guard their brushes closely, and truth be told, there was nothing special about their brushes anyway, as Painter already contains some incredible brushes, not including all the ones offered by the Painter community in general.

I'll tell you a little story that might give you guys a different angle on this whole topic. When Craig Mullins first appeared at the Sijun Forum, he stunned everyone because no one had ever seen Photoshop used that way--painting with a traditional style and approach. Craig was very generous and answered all kinds of questions from fellow artists and aspiring artists. He made tutorials, shared all his secrets, did paintovers for everyone to help them learn, and even conducted lessons and taught important art lessons.

"Well, that's awesome!" You would say, right?

No, not really.

After a while, Craig Mullins clones started to appear--guys that already had talent and some experience, but just needed to figure out Craig secret recipes for getting that special look of his--that rich, varied textures with hard-edged brushes and different layer properties for certain effects..etc. Since Craig not only gave away his secrets, he actually TRAINED artists at Sijun with helpful lessons, these clones had all the necessary weapons they needed. And guess what happened next? They started stealing contracts away from Craig by taking on jobs and asking for less pay than Craig would. They mimiced Craig's style down to the last detail, and advertised themselves to be able to do what Craig does, at a lower price. So essentially, Craig helped and trained competitions that took jobs away from him.

Now, I don't know if there's a moral to the story, but it's different angle for you look at this issue.

Even after these things had happened, Craig remained helpful to others, although he is a lot more reclusive than he once was. I don't blame him one bit at all. He helped people, and they betrayed him by copying his style and offering their services for a lower price.

CGmonkey
07-17-2005, 05:26 PM
Well, I personally don't think twice about giving out my brushes (they are available on my website), and most artists I know gives out their brushes freely too, but I definitely have met some that guard their brushes closely, and truth be told, there was nothing special about their brushes anyway, as Painter already contains some incredible brushes, not including all the ones offered by the Painter community in general.

I'll tell you a little story that might give you guys a different angle on this whole topic. When Craig Mullins first appeared at the Sijun Forum, he stunned everyone because no one had ever seen Photoshop used that way--painting with a traditional style and approach. Craig was very generous and answered all kinds of questions from fellow artists and aspiring artists. He made tutorials, shared all his secrets, did paintovers for everyone to help them learn, and even conducted lessons and taught important art lessons.

"Well, that's awesome!" You would say, right?

No, not really.

After a while, Craig Mullins clones started to appear--guys that already had talent and some experience, but just needed to figure out Craig secret recipes for getting that special look of his--that rich, varied textures with hard-edged brushes and different layer properties for certain effects..etc. Since Craig not only gave away his secrets, he actually TRAINED artists at Sijun with helpful lessons, these clones had all the necessary weapons they needed. And guess what happened next? They started stealing contracts away from Craig by taking on jobs and asking for less pay than Craig would. They mimiced Craig's style down to the last detail, and advertised themselves to be able to do what Craig does, at a lower price. So essentially, Craig helped and trained competitions that took jobs away from him.

Now, I don't know if there's a moral to the story, but it's different angle for you look at this issue.

Even after these things had happened, Craig remained helpful to others, although he is a lot more reclusive than he once was. I don't blame him one bit at all. He helped people, and they betrayed him by copying his style and offering their services for a lower price.

There is yet another point of view, I'm sure that Craig was very well aware of that people was going to copy him, and I'm sure that he wanted to take that risk. The satisfaction of helping another artist peer must be something special, and Craig helped a whole generation of digital artists excel in the field.
Supalette is a person with very close style to Craig, but yet he has a completly different language, he's so close to Craig's style but yet far away. I don't know about you but I don't get the impression that employers look for #3 in an artist, but #1 and #2. With that in mind there are few artists out there that can copy Craig's work in those areas.

umbrellasky
07-17-2005, 07:23 PM
I agree with you Lunatique. It's ok you have the tools and technique but if your heart and ideas arn't there then a piece of art means nothing and this usually shows through. It's no good just copying someone elses style, you have to use the tool and techniques to build on your own style that should come from your heart.

Kanga
07-17-2005, 07:31 PM
....Of course, there's no secret-weapon, ..

Yup!

Steve Vai once brought out a book with many of his solos note for note and a big list of hardware and tweaking tips on his musical hardware. A guy bought all the stuff and wrote him a letter asking Vai why he couldnt get the same sound.

Its interesting reading about techniques and the basics are vital but I believe Mahler to be correct.

There aint no secret weapon.

PerfectBlue
07-17-2005, 08:27 PM
There is a secret weapon; talent and experience. :bounce:

Mal de Ojo
07-17-2005, 08:38 PM
Lunatique said: "After a while, Craig Mullins clones started to appear..."

Well, I think that is a must, If you help people, teaching your technique people will learn your technique and use it. It is up to you to teach or not your secrets.

That stands for everything, the one friend near you It is your posible enemmy when finding a job. If I teach my tricks on body topology to a friend he will get better and In the future he may take my job opportunity.

But If we are here not to teach and learn from everybody, what is CGTalk?

Kanga
07-17-2005, 08:56 PM
There is a secret weapon; talent and experience. :bounce:

Ok,... you forgot imagination.
Shame it can't be bought:thumbsup:

Nehym
07-17-2005, 11:15 PM
I agree with you Lunatique. It's ok you have the tools and technique but if your heart and ideas arn't there then a piece of art means nothing and this usually shows through. It's no good just copying someone elses style, you have to use the tool and techniques to build on your own style that should come from your heart.

I totally agree. For an artist to be successful, s/he in first place needs the heart and the ideas, the imagination and creativity because that is the pirmary tool of an artist. Even if s/he is working as an illustrator, that artist still needs to figure things out and imagine things, to put heart into it, along with his own experience and techniques.

To me, someone can be incredibly good at doing X thing but if the heart is lacking, it is noticeable at the first glance and the work will greatly suffer from it.

That said, an artist has the choice to share his secrets if he wants to and i do agree with Lunatique too, about his story about Craig Mullins, but it is also up to the artist to set the line, the limit of things he would teach to others. So much can be taught without actually telling how you achieve X effect just like he does. I am particulary thinking about Linda's tutorials she has been sharing in the past months and they do teach some very useful and helpful things to other starting artist, giving some pointers here and there, but never is she giving out all of the tricks she has up her sleeve. One could not imitate her work with this, but it doesn't make the tutorials less helpful.

I think it is only a matter of HOW you share your techniques and your thoughts on a specific subject, and like in everything, there are moderates (is that even the right word? i looked it up in google's translator but i don't think it is.. :s ) that affects it.

Sagii
07-17-2005, 11:25 PM
if someone wants to ask for a brush it is up to the brush owner to decide if they want to share it or not. I doubt anyone seriously thinks that a brush will make them great.. It will just help them in the entire process of learning, so why not let them try?

I know I'd ask.... as for me I have tons of ideas (heart, vision etc) in my head... my problem is putting them in paper... or must I say screen? So for me is more about training the hand at this point.

Seratogui
07-17-2005, 11:37 PM
Sorry, but I'd still find it usefull to know what brushes were used for what effect to practice.

And if you're dead worried about people ripping your style, just pick a similar brush that does a similar effect just so I can actually practice, that's all I ask :p

And I also think that person that was helping way too much in detail, that is indeed beyond helping and just creates opposition.

Zephyri
07-18-2005, 12:09 AM
I think, having read the arguments here that a little of both is true. The problem with beginners and brush settings will only arise if the beginner lacks patience and understanding, thinking that knowing what brushes a certain painter uses will allow them to reproduce the same effect in their own work without the hard graft and trial and error and learning process that the original artist would have gone through. However, if you wish to develop a style along the lines of HTK, or Ryan Church or Craig Mullins, but with your own essence mixed in, knowing their tools will help you on your way, certainly. Take for example, Rebecca Kimmel's anatomy threads, she's already divulged her tools and methods to some degree, but I'd be daft in the head if I thought, with my scant knowledge of anatomy, that I could produce the same quality of line she does without the study and knowledge and practice she's obviously put in through years of schooling under very good teachers.

Sometimes, I don't wonder whether people think that digital art is easier somehow than traditonal media. People wouldn't expect to be able to paint the Mona Lisa if you gave them the very same paints and burshes Da Vinci used, yet when it comes to painter or ps, a percentage of those starting out seem to think there is some magic "paint the picture for me" button. It doesn't exist! (Unless it's one of those hidden easter eggs....). In essence, I think Lunatique is right... it's no good trying to emulate a painter's style if you don't understand number's 1 & 2 aswell. And as for the Craig Mullins thing.. I personally think that's a little low, but on the plus side, there will only ever be one Craig Mullins, it's a bit like natural and manufactured diamonds... those who pay for the natural ones *know* they've paid for it, even if most other people can't tell the difference. It's just a shame those who stole from him have forced him to retreat from those of us who would love to share in his knowledge to further our own style, not to thieve his.

Lunatique
07-18-2005, 03:50 AM
There is yet another point of view, I'm sure that Craig was very well aware of that people was going to copy him, and I'm sure that he wanted to take that risk. The satisfaction of helping another artist peer must be something special, and Craig helped a whole generation of digital artists excel in the field.
Supalette is a person with very close style to Craig, but yet he has a completly different language, he's so close to Craig's style but yet far away. I don't know about you but I don't get the impression that employers look for #3 in an artist, but #1 and #2. With that in mind there are few artists out there that can copy Craig's work in those areas.

Actually, Craig was upset when it happened, and he questioned whether or not he should continue to be so generous. He said that potential clients actually said to him they found people who can do his style for a lot less money, so they're passing up on him. Then, there are people who reported that clients are asking them to copy Craig's style for various projects.

This type of situation is just the way the world works. You have musical bands copying each other, films copying each other, TV shows copying each other, and products copying each other. Anyway, I'm not saying what is right or wrong, just pointing out how things are.

Lilie - Funny you mentioned Enayla. She's one that's been copied a lot too. It's so blatantly obvious that some people who are copying her have no original technique whatsoever and just copied her style brushstroke for brushstroke.

erilaz
07-18-2005, 04:02 AM
I've been trying to use openCanvas more and more while learning to sketch/paint correctly, purely because of it's limited brushes. I find versatile brushes get in the way of my learning, because sometimes they "make cool" rather than actually teaching anything.

ashakarc
07-18-2005, 04:21 AM
Ripped off styles and techniques is a common phenomenon in the design world. Furniture designed by Masters being copied and manufactured the next day, shipped from the east with less than 30% of the price of the original line. Commercial quality work is more vulnerable to copy. There are however cases where the work is close to impossible to copy, and if that happens, ironically it gives the original work a better meaning.
Le Corbusier, Mies Van Der Rohe, Picasso, and many others of their like, had inspired many many new generations of architects and artists, yet whomever tried to copy their work got ridiculed, simply they are bound to miss fundamental issues in their work. Getting inspired by style, techniques, ideas, etc.. is one thing. Copying, cloning, and ripping off is something else. That's why true artistic talents demand originality.

For Mr. Mullins case, yes it might hurt him now, but for the long run his work will have historical significance in a way many would not even anticipate it. The number of "talented artists" who copied his style are doing him a great favour by establishing a wider base for his style. There are always clients who pay for the name, and those would seek the originator not the immitator. History will be more kind to him, LOL I can't ask for more.

What really hurt, is when you have to do creative work, and you put your heart and soul in it while someone else gets all the fruits. Your name is nowhere to be found, but on the pay check that you receive monthly.It is called "employment" or IMO "Modern Slavery"

heythatreallyhurts
07-18-2005, 04:35 AM
I've been downloading and trying new Painter brushes whenever I can. It's not because I think they'll help me paint like a certain artist; it's because I'm new to digital painting and I want to learn what the programs are capable of. But it's not that I can't draw or paint and am trying to learn now I've been drawing the old-fashioned way my entire life, and I've been at art school three years now.

I just got a tablet a couple months ago, and it's been very frustrating trying to get used to it. I got to watch one of Ryan Church's Gnomon DVDs in a class not too long ago, and that's what gave me that extra push to really try and figure out how to use these programs. Seeing how he uses the program was helpful for me simply in understanding how the program works, and having those same brushes to play with only made it more helpful (not to undermine the usefulness of DVDs like this, of course they are far more useful in other ways). I don't know how many people who ask for artists' brushes have the same idea, but I'd assume a sizeable portion are already experienced in some way and just want to learn to use the programs.

Nehym
07-18-2005, 04:55 PM
Lilie - Funny you mentioned Enayla. She's one that's been copied a lot too. It's so blatantly obvious that some people who are copying her have no original technique whatsoever and just copied her style brushstroke for brushstroke.

I also noticed it, though i believe this started to happen even before she started to give tips and tutorials about the way she works, well i think at least. It is true that often artists gets copied, their styles and that can go to just about anything.

My point was more about the fact that i do not think anyone could really copy her work with the tutorials she currently have online, offered to the public/her fans. Those a more focused on the technical aspect of something, almost teaching some things about the specific area the tutorials are about. She is sharing some of her brushes but as you said, and i totally agree, brushes, tools do not make the artist good. With a totally new set of tools, they would do just as good after some practicing with them. They are only a way to make things easier for -them-.

That said, i think ashakarc brings a really good point and it is something, unfortunatly, that cannot really be stopped. We have very little power on this. And as someone else already said (i think it was maybe you? not sure though :| ), a lot of ''newbies'' in the area of digital art (2D or 3D) thinks that there are some magical tools and buttons to do all the work for them. But it is as any other form of art, the computer is only a new media with which artists works, like oil paint, traditionnal brushes and such. A lot thinks it is easier for that reason but we all know it is not.

As they say, practice makes perfect and then again, perfection can never be attained, therefor there is always room for more practice. And in practicing, i also creating our own custom brushes and tools, getting to know them, what they are good at and such because it is part of the process, of finding our workflow and styles. Other artists in my opinion can only give pointers and nudge in the right direction. But now i am getting on another subject. :)

ozhaver
07-20-2005, 09:44 AM
I am more of a traditional artist. When I use PS I prefer to stick to simple round brushes even though it takes me more time. On about getting other artists brushes or not, I make an analogy: anyone can buy the same Mars Lumograph Graphite Pencils that I use to draw, what really breaks through is my style and talent, not how cool my tools are- which is why I almost always stay away from photoreferences, anyone can come to the point when they can copy a perfect picture and manipulate its look, but how to interpret 'reality' with your own spark is different. I do however respect those artists that share their techniques and magic props and the such, but I don't think they run any risk if their talent is strong enough to break through all the barriers; as they say, there can be only one.

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