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PaulZant
06-16-2009, 01:19 PM
I'm just starting at digital painting but had a question.

I'm a big fan of the style of Craig Mullins and Peleng, I like that somehow sketchy style.
I was wondering how you can achieve that in photoshop?

I allways found my paintings to clean and when I'm losing up to try to get a sketchy look, it's getting one big mess. I think they use way more brush strokes then me.

Any tips??

thx

PaulZant

Lunatique
06-16-2009, 05:28 PM
You have to have learned enough about the basic foundations of visual art to understand how to deconstruct any given style of surface polish. Any image constructed by hand could be deconstructed into basic elements like shapes, values, colors, textures, brushstrokes, line quality...etc. Guys like Craig have similar influences, and you really only have to look as far as John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, Joaquin Sorolla, JW Waterhouse...etc to see the direct lineage (and also more current artists like Richard Schmid, Pino, Jeremy Lipking...etc). These artist share one particular characteristic, and that is combining impressionism techniques and tastes with realism. Being sketchy for the sake of being sketchy is kind of like a guy putting on a big hair wig, make-up, and tight leather pants and pretending to be hard rock. It's just posturing without substance or thought, and basically a shallow imitation of the real deal. To work in that style, you have to think in that style, and you can't think in that style until you've worked hard on mastering the art foundations and painting techniques (composition, values/lighting, colors theory, anatomy/figure, perspective, surface polish, edge qualities, textures...etc).

I've seen plenty of beginner/intermediate artists trying to copy Craig's style--just look at the speedpainting thread at sijun forums and you'd see tons of imitators. What's particularly disheartening is that they are only copying the shallow surface attributes of Craig's work, while completely lacking any of the insight and understanding of why, and it's painfully obvious because the result looks like exactly what you'd think it would look like--piles of incoherent, imitative drivel.

PaulZant
06-16-2009, 09:11 PM
Sorry ;)

I was just wondering if thats some kind of style on how to use photoshop. I dont want to copy them. I know I need to learn alot first before I can even go there. and that I will eventually develope my own style. It was just interest on how they work and use the program to see the possibilities.

I just started digital some weeks ago so need to learn alot and I'm trying to do that every way possible. I also working on my traditional drawing because lots to improve there ;)

going trough the loomis books now. and made a sketchbook at concept art today but not any replies yet.

I'm alittle bit lost from the all the info I read around here dont really know where to start now.

At the moment I joining the daily sketchgroup, posted a sketchbook at concept art and going trough the loomis book "fun with a pencil". Is that a good start or to much or to less?
or shopuld I go othere direction first?

thx

Lunatique
06-16-2009, 09:50 PM
Sorry ;)

I was just wondering if thats some kind of style on how to use photoshop. I dont want to copy them. I know I need to learn alot first before I can even go there. and that I will eventually develope my own style. It was just interest on how they work and use the program to see the possibilities.

There's no trick really. Craig pretty much just use the stock brushes that come with Photoshop. He had a trick or two he used but they are by far not the main contibuting factors to his style. Like I said, you can't understand a style if you don't have a strong understanding of the basics. It's like asking how to compose in the style of Debussy but barely knowing anything about music theory. Someone could explain to you how Debussy utilized unconventional harmonies and was influenced by gamalan music, but until you at least learn the important basics of music theory, it's meaningless to you because you don't understand the context.

Craig is very conscious of the way he imparts his brushwork and the interplay of textures and shapes and values and colors. He places emphasis on the fact that an image must be entertaining to look at even at a technical level. Detail must be contrasted with less detail, and shapes might be broken up with smaller brushstrokes. Some brushes are chosen for their ability to impart organic shapes and textures, and the simple round brushes in Photoshop are his main workhorse brushes. I don't think it's ever about economical brushwork for him as it is about creating visual interest. Very often an image needs a lot less detail to depict something than we think it does, and this is one of the important aspects of the impressionistic approach. This is something universal that you do in any medium or any software, and doing it in Photoshop is exactly the same as doing it with anything else. It's about your ability to depict shapes and surface qualities efficiently without beating the horse to death. It's kind of like the visual equivalent of telling a story with poetry as opposed to a full-blown novel. You get the important idea across, but without the unimportant details.

The problem with your question is partly because you are asking it when you are still a beginner. What Craig does is highly advanced work that most pros can't even pull off. When beginners ask these types of questions, it's never as cut and dry as they think it is, because they don't realize how much of their question is directly related to their lack of understanding of the basic foundations.

When you get to the level where you know how to deconstruct a style, you'll just know, but if you try to do it before you reach that level, everything will look wrong anyway. My advice is to simply try to master the foundations and you'll naturally be able to understand what Craig does when you've reached a particular level of competence as an artist.

PaulZant
06-16-2009, 11:05 PM
Thx for the help and for your fast response. hope I get there some day.

jfrancis
06-17-2009, 07:10 PM
Here's my $0.02 fwiw -

His loose style comes from being loose.

"I did a rough line sketch in a mask channel and then put a flat color in the background and a flat color in the foreground on a separate layer. This way I could add and subtract from the silhouette easily. I find that this additive and subtractive approach is very helpful in giving variety to your shapes, and can be used not only in drawing outlines, but in general painting as well. But down a big shape, and cut away at it."

Craig Mullins: Revising Golongrias Picture (http://www.gfxartist.com/features/tutorials/974)

He is not afraid to work loosely, and be slightly wrong with his first stroke, because he knows he can correct it with his second stroke, and this pushing and pulling of color, or of mass, creates complexity.

Perfectionism with each stroke leads to indecision, frustration, and boring simplicity. It's like giving dictation to your painting. Being almost good enough with each stroke and then coming back with a correction on top leads to more of a 'conversation' with the painting as you go along.

jfrancis
06-17-2009, 07:16 PM
This may seem completely off topic but I think it relates to my post above:

Here are 8 photos, each filled with severe deviations from the ideal image. Some of the deviations are too warm. Some are too cold, Some are too bright. Others are too dark.

Combine all 8 'mistakes' into one image (or push and pull color and form over time) and the overshoots and undershoots start to 'correct' each other and approach the ideal.

http://www.digitalartform.com/archives/2009/05/image_stack_fun.html

Lunatique
06-18-2009, 12:39 AM
His loose style comes from being loose.

While that is partly true, I think being loose for the sake of looseness isn't really the main goal. Or to put it differently, looseness serves a purpose, and that purpose is not for the sake of being loose. When we talk about looseness with beginning artists, it's very easy to end up mislead them, and what ends up happening is the beginning artists will turn out piles of really messy, incoherent scribbles that all point to one thing--lack of discipline (there's no shortage of works like that in the speedpainting thread at Sijun forums, where Craig spent years teaching and influencing a whole new generation of digital artists). The looseness is something that is actually controlled, and I think more than anything else, is meant to express a sense of natural organic quality, spontaneity, and energy. Too tightly rendered works often lack that sense of spontanious and organic energy, since everything is spelled out with such overwhelming detail that nothing is left to interpretation or the imagination. There were times when Craig's clients demanded very detailed works, and he has done those as well, but his approach has always been to impart those organic and spontaneus qualities even in his highly detailed works. It is one of the main things that he strives for and struggles with--that balance between spontaneous energy and the illusion of a "finished" piece of work.

jfrancis
06-18-2009, 11:48 PM
While that is partly true, I think being loose for the sake of looseness isn't really the main goal. Or to put it differently, looseness serves a purpose, and that purpose is not for the sake of being loose. When we talk about looseness with beginning artists, it's very easy to end up mislead them, and what ends up happening is the beginning artists will turn out piles of really messy, incoherent scribbles that all point to one thing--lack of discipline
I think we are probably in agreement.

What I mean is that if you are loose in the sense of throwing things down and hoping something good will happen, all your mistakes will cause you to meander off into a messy place.

If you are loose in the sense of throwing down a shape that is a little too big and carving it back, or too dark and brightening it, or too warm and then cooling it -- all the while holding a clear vision of the destination in mind and making meaningful corrections -- then all your 'mistakes' (for lack of a better word) and their corrections (adjustments) will add up to an energy and a richness and a texture.

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