View Full Version : My Road To Mastery

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11 November 2007, 05:50 AM
Hey everyone! Recently I decided to take all my free time and use it to paint and draw instead of waste it pressing refresh on a web browser, waiting for mail. I've been drawing on and off for a long time now, but I've always been terrified of painting. I've never had any classes or lessons for anything, so I'm basically self taught by observation and trial and error.
I saw a thread at another forum last night that really inspired me. It was a novice artist who vowed to post a new sketch or photoshop painting every day, just to motivate himself to develop as an artist. The transformation of his work over the next 60-odd pages was staggering and very motivating. I figured it was time I did the same.
So here I'll finally be diving into photoshop (and traditional media pages when I can) and seeing what I can learn. Lurking around here and the rest of the internet has given me all the evidence that I need of the reality that master painters are not extinct - they merely paint digitally now.

I have been painting every day for almost a week now, so I'll use this first post to catch you all up.

Here was my first attempt and trying to understand textures and layers in PS. I really had no idea what I was doing:

And my second. I can't say I like how the textures are inconsistent, but I managed to get the proportions right in relation to the reference without a grid:
(reference photo:

Then I moved to try my hand at watercolors. I messed up the masking tape, but I feel it was a pretty good result for my first watercolor:

The next day I found some brush techniques that helped me find some painterly textures in PS, and for the first time I liked one of my own digital paintings:

Later that night I tried another PS painting, experimenting with what sort of textures I could find. I'm not too happy with the composition or how the people turned out, but I enjoy the sky:

Now up to last night, I did another watercolor. I meant for her skin to be lighter and the lines to be more subtle, but I think the skirt turned out well:

And finally tonight's painting, this marks the first time I felt I've achieved a real emotion in someone's eyes. It's simple and it took forever, but I'm proud of it:

C&C not only welcome, but requested! The reason for this thread is two-fold, first to keep myself motivated to progress as an artist, but second to get as much advice from such incredible artists as yourselves.

Hope to be updating tomorrow!

11 November 2007, 08:12 AM
It looks like you have a good foundation to start with. You certainly show skills with proportions and spatial definitions. Most of your images here show the same light values across the image though. Push your darks and lights a bit more for contrast. Good luck with your progress.

FYI - You can embed your images into the post with a photobucket account by using the BBCode selection. Or tag around your images with IMG (i.e. [i]image url[/IMG.] -removing the periods).

Here's how the first image would show:

11 November 2007, 04:16 PM
Aaah, I was wondering why my html tags weren't working. I forgot most forums use brackets. Thanks!
But thanks more so for your criticism. Last night I spoke with a friend who graduated from design school and he said the exact same thing - more contrast. So I went back into PS and worked up a cast painting of sorts. Or at least that's what I think they call them in art school.

Here it is:

I never really understood what people were talking about when the tutorials said to paint in grayscale and then color it. I always thought they were basically implying to paint the image twice. But it seems if you've painted grayscale first, you can make an overlay layer and then just run a color over the painting. But I'm uncertain as to how that would work for a multiple-color painting... wouldn't the colors bleed through due to the nature of overlays? Or do you just paint in sections on the same overlay layer?

11 November 2007, 06:36 PM
As my understanding goes, the general idea is that by doing black and white is that by isolating value from hue and saturation, it makes it easier to focus on the form and lets you save the color composition for a later step.

Same idea goes for working at the macro scale and getting progressively more detailed -- isolate steps to reduce their complexity and obtain better control.

11 November 2007, 06:48 PM
They're called layers for a reason. You don't paint over what you've painted. You create a NEW layer, and paint on that.

Then, if for any reason, you don't like what you've added, you can easily revert to the layer beneath it, and try again, rather than trying to erase what you painted, and remember how you painted it before you messed something up.

Some images can have literally HUNDREDS of layers. Personally, I merge layers as I go, but ONLY those layers that have elements not touching or overlaying other parts. Just to keep processing time down with PS. You can then work on an element in the corner, and erase it, without affecting anything else. You can also always lasso an element and put it back on its own, separate layer, if you need to.

You are creating some WONDERFUL images. I'm glad you've excaped the 'Net addiction enough to get back to creating. You'll have MUCH more of value to show for it at the end of the day...

11 November 2007, 10:17 PM
I tried the grayscale method a few times and had difficulties with it as well. I tried different layer properties from Overlay, Color and Multiply but wasn't happy with the way the color tone changed with these options. I like it when the color I have selected is the color that paints on the layer. One of my dislikes about Photoshop.

Another drawback is that grayscale seems to muddy up the image. I prefer using color rather than B&W to paint. However ... this is an area that I need improvement on as well. I really respect those people who can do a daily thread like these. I wish I had more free time, I'd be doing one as well.

11 November 2007, 11:00 PM
CybrGfx - Thanks very much for the kind words! I really do feel much more productive in my day now. And I've also started merging layers as I go. It keeps navigation much simpler, too, because I don't name my layers.

Kirt - I agree with how you feel about grayscale making images a bit muddy. I also feel your frustration in coloring over grays, because using different layer types (other than 'normal', which seems pointless to me if you're going to go the grayscale route) causes you to paint in a color other than the one you actually have selected. It's always a little more... mm, fluorescent?

I'm going to experiment tonight by taking a portrait painted with soft sunlight and converting it to grayscale, then trying to use layer modes to color it again, achieving the same colors the original artist had. I think it will give me some clarity on whether or not bright, sunlit colors are possible when using grayscale+overlays.

I also noticed that my wannabe cast painting type thing up there has some pretty glaring lighting and anatomical flaws. I'm going to use more references from now on. Last night I watched a video on youtube of an interview with a bald guy in harsh overhead light... several little details became very clear, haha.

As for the update, I did this image last night, again using grayscale painting and then overlay and multiply layers to color. It took me about 6 hours, and whenever someone is in front of a painting for that long in one sitting, faults begin to hide themselves (even despite horizontal flipping, which I've learned is an invaluable trick). Seeing it this morning showed me how incredibly small her eyes are. I'm going to have a go at fixing them tonight.

11 November 2007, 11:25 PM
That's pretty good. I like the lighting on the lower half of the face. But I think you are going with too much shadows around the eyes (especially at the bridge of the nose). A strong uplighting will illuminate the bottom eyelids and to some extent the sides of the nose. And the hair will pick up highlights as well.

Flipping horizontally and vertically does help, but don't fall into the trap of making everything symetrical. Contrary to popular belief, the human face isn't. :D

Keep up the good work.

11 November 2007, 01:23 AM
EDIT: I've replaced my revision from this post with the newest version. I've revised the image 9 times now, actually, so I'm just going to post the latest here so it can be compared to the first attempt without all the clutter of multiple posts.

Ah! Thanks for the criticism, Kirt. I think it's definitely better now that I've fixed the eyes and taken the shadows down/added highlights for the lower lids and hair. The eyelid idea was especially helpful. I knew something about the painting didn't look quite right, and I searched every way I knew how on google images, but I couldn't find a decent lit-from-below portrait to reference. Thanks very much for your help.

11 November 2007, 03:22 AM
Well, it does have a bit of "dead stare" to it. Probably because the eyes seem to be focused to the viewer's right shoulder. There is no connection there between the viewer and the subject. Either adjust the eyes to stare at the viewer or go more extreme and focus the eyes at something further away from the viewer's center point (if that makes sense). Basically, looking at the viewer or not. Right now she's sort of looking ... but not. I think that is what is giving you the "Uncanny Valley" vibe.

I went looking for an uplit photo reference for you and could only find a male. But I think the principles of how the light highlight the face will still apply to your image. Take a look. ( Note the light on the brow, underside of nose, cheeks and around the lips. Note shadows on upper lip, chin and upper brow (above eyebrows).

BTW: Flickr has some great images for photo refs. My first fav image search second only to Google.

If she's staring at a fire, then you need more orange and red tones in this. Use purples and blues for shadows. I never was under the impression that there was a fire. It just looks like normal incandescent lighting.

11 November 2007, 02:32 AM
I discovered that her expression issues came from her feature tilt vs the tilt of her jaw and skull. I didn't really use structure lines when I first started sketching, so I messed up there. Guess I gotta pay more attention to the basics.
But I've fixed the tilt issues the best way I know how, and I discovered why the colors were so off. #1) It's true, I didn't use enough red tones. #2) I was working in 16-bit, which wasn't letting me just save as JPEG. I had to use Save For Web, in which the JPEGs were altering my color balance. Strange.

By the way, I took a typical studio-lit portrait and desaturated it in photoshop, then created an overlay layer and sucked up her skin color from the photo, hoping to apply it on my grayscale and recreate the skin color... but it looked horrible. I took colors from everywhere, but each attempt looked dirty and not at all vibrant and accurate. I think I'm going to try to paint with color from the start from now on and see how that works out... at least until I find out exactly what I'm not doing that all the experts out there ARE doing to make it look so good.

After all those difficulties with the last painting, and reading more general tutorials (what i should be working on first: shapes. last: people) I decided to do something quick tonight. Just a study of facial planes. I meant to do cylinders and cones and cubes, but I couldn't find any good pictures for references. I couldn't find any images of shapes on a table with a harsh light. I'm starting to think I'm going to have to start taking more pictures for myself.

Anyway, here it is. What I learned from this was how light travels on the jaw line. It's not a straight line of light-then-dark, but the curve of the jaw is suggested through the middle tone.

11 November 2007, 03:28 AM
I couldn't help myself. There are so many beautiful paintings here, I had to try another one instead of practicing simple stuff.

I've generally blocked in most of it, and started some detailing just to keep me interested. Some of the features on her face are a little off, and I plan to refine them as I go.

Now here's a question... I'm working at 72dpi, and I plan to upsize to 250 or 300 when I start adding small details. But when I increase the size, the image obviously gets a little muddier because the pixels are expanding. I forget the photographic term for this. But anyway, is it common practice to redo all the fine details even finer at this stage, or do people just add in really small details at the new resolution and then shrink it back down after they're through?

11 November 2007, 04:44 AM
Staticpen, I think your version of the woman is BETTER than she looks in real life, although it is not a complimentary rendering of her for a portrait, it would be an excellent book or game illustrative portrait. Something for you to consider, as you work to develop an individual and identifyable style.

The pixellation you refer to is generally worked around. When you are creating a work, tweaking compositional elements and establishing color palettes, you work at 72 ppi for processing speed.
Once you have your composition and colors established, and your general design roughed in, you enlarge the image to 300 ppi, and then create your printable image on a new layer above the original, so yes, you have the basic idea of what you need to do.

Please keep sharing your wonderful creations with us!

11 November 2007, 07:18 AM
I was out almost all day today, much of which was spent reading ImagineFX magazine. Wow! What a great piece of reading material, dude... I learned so much this afternoon, without ever picking up a pen. Actually, I did pick up a pen, cause I took my sketchbook with me and drew out a study of a man's face lit from below.

But anyway, I got some more time in with the painting. Refined the face a bit more, pretty much finished one arm and drew in the lines for the other.

11 November 2007, 04:43 AM
I didn't want to get burnt out on the realism painting, so i decided to try something loose and fun tonight. I tried the dry brushes for lines and the wet brushes for colors to make it look like a watercolor, but... I still haven't got this whole opacity thing. All my favorite photoshop paintings use opacity so well in their strokes and layers and textures. I suppose it's practice and a couple tricks up their sleeves.

Anyway, here it is. I tried to focus on how a child might compose the drawing, because truth is, most children have pretty natural compositional instincts. A house here, a tree here, a sun here... voila. And yet we forget it as we age.

11 November 2007, 02:06 AM
I haven't abandoned my realism painting, but I just really had to figure out how to get some texture into a painting. I like realism, but this is much closer to the sort of thing that I would say I'm most comfortable doing, or have the most fun with, rather.

I hope to either finish or get close with the realism later tonight.

11 November 2007, 08:39 PM
Nice thread! And I love how you are so enthusiastic!!! :applause: I have tried grayscale as well and it never really worked for me either. Though it does have its advantages when you are trying to achieve a particular look. I think you are doing a great job and your drawings are very nice. i really like the 'watercolor' sketch a lot! its so cute and fun! :D

now about skin the way i do it is different...i usually do everything on one layer OR i do it all on one layer and if i want to tweak something ill do it in another layer and if i like that then i merge it and start blending the two together. It doesnt help to suck up the color from another picture (i tried and it sucked) but just go through your colors and adjust them with the color sliders until you match the color to as close as you want. Or go through the color libraries because sometimes they have some pretty nice colors. Now resolution wise i generally start working at 300dpi. If you have a slower computer though then its best to do it the other way. I hope this helps! Great work! Keep at it you are doing great! :thumbsup:

11 November 2007, 01:51 AM
Thanks nerdyninja! I really appreciate the feedback. I'm definitely working at large resolutions from now on (the fat man was my first 300dpi image and I instantly loved the freedom of brush movement due to the size of the image).

Too bad this one is actual size. Hard to put in details, and of course, no printing.

I decided to leave the face different from the original photo because everyone I've been showing it to both online and in person has said they like it the way it is more than the photo. I'm also unhappy with her front hand, but I just can't work on this anymore. I've always finished my drawings in one or two sittings throughout a single day, so four days or so for this was a big stretch for me. On a whole, though, especially considering those first couple PS paintings I posted on page one... I'm pretty happy with my progress so far. Definitely gonna keep it up as long as I can!

11 November 2007, 04:51 AM
Hey there, I really like the realist painting. The lowkey lighting has been rendered really well.

The texture piece is great too.

Press on.

11 November 2007, 02:30 AM
Thanks very much JeanShade. :)

I didn't post yesterday because I was extremely busy getting everything ready for a thanksgiving trip. I'm headed over to Alabama for... steaks? It's true, some of my relatives are cooking steaks for thanksgiving. I, for one, will be eating turkey one way or another.
Anyway, I'm heading out tomorrow, so I won't be posting then, either. I'm not even sure if I'll have access to the internet while I'm there (for a week I believe) but I will be taking my laptop, and I will continue to paint.

This is what I started last night. It's gone through a lot of changes since then, and I never felt right posting the sketch until now. I'm settled on this idea. Zeus is demanding this angel's son to train for war against Hades, but he is reluctant to give him up. I've put some light composition lines in to show you how I've balanced the image. I figure classical style, use classical composition methods!

And a 100% crop of the face at this point.

I might end up moving his front shin a little further to the right... I dunno. I also feel that I'm showing too much of his back. Right now he looks a little short and squat. It's just a sketch at this point, but as always, any suggestions or ideas that you have are very welcome.

11 November 2007, 11:22 AM
Wow. Like the way you've used the star. I think maybe I would like to try composing using these shapes.

I think maybe his shoulders are a little too squashed width wise, try widening them to fit. If you cut down on the back it'll make his head look too big.

Great start there! Love to see more!

11 November 2007, 01:04 AM
I'm back! Alabama was a great place to spend thanksgiving. Had a lot of fun with my giant family and ate a lot of good food. haha. Hope all your holidays were dandy.

I managed to get some painting in amidst all the catching up, though I didn't get to it every day as I'd hoped. So let's get right to it, cause tonight's a 3-parter!

First, I went to town on the angel's anatomy and fixed a lot of errors. I'm still not happy with it, but again, there's still more work to do, so I'm confident it will shape up by the end. I also have a texture thrown over it on layer mode>linear burn. The texture is stretched quite a bit to cover the whole painting because of the color and contrast changes it provides, so keep in mind these large gashes will not be in the final piece. Here it is:

Here is a crop of the face with the texture layer at regular size (not stretched). It gives it an old, worn-out painting look that I think I'm going to try and refine in a later step of the painting. Some detailing has been done, and several anatomy fixes were made.

And finally, I was showing my collection of paintings, old and new, to my relatives over the holiday. It turns out that among friends and family alike, one of the most-liked paintings of mine was an old oekaki I did several years ago. Just a little thing that came out of nowhere, and pretty far from my usual style at the time. I like to think this particular image took me in a new direction with art, and I'm happy for that.
But anyway, since the image here is actual size (eep!) it's obviously far too small for printing. Over the holiday I started painting over a blown up copy of it with PS to make it nice and clean, and most importantly big enough for printing. The new resolution is 2533x1667@400dpi. Should be big enough. I hope. @__@ Never really printed a PS painting before.
Anyway! Here it is:

12 December 2007, 04:45 PM
I was up til 3:30 last night working on the angel painting. I've simplified the background a lot, and I think it balances the painting. I think all of the random colors everywhere weren't helping to keep the color palette uniform, and they certainly weren't accenting the figure. I think they almost overthrew it. So let me know what you guys think of this new background.
I also made more anatomy fixes, changed the wings, and repainted the baby. I also added some texture, which you'll see in the detail crops.
Of course, all helpful criticism is more than welcome. It's one of the reasons I do this!

12 December 2007, 02:07 AM

My two centimes.

By the way, the draw over on the bottom is just me being paranoid about the anatomy, I realised it just looks strange to me because you haven't finished painting it.

Hope it helps!

12 December 2007, 05:29 AM
Ah! Thanks so much for those pointers, jeanshade! I went over the painting with a friend tonight and we discovered a lot of issues, neither of which you just mentioned, so I'm very glad you've pointed those out to me. I've been so focused on the face tonight that I haven't been able to see anything but the face. I flipped the canvas horizontal and saw a TON of mistakes, so I went crazy and repainted a lot of it with a reference.
Next time I'll take into account what you've drawn out, but for tonight this is what I have:

what a change! I think I'll go in with a hard brush and add some more definition next time.

also added light to the baby's cloth

this would be a whole lot easier if I knew how to do image rollovers with these "[" "]" forum tags. I try the html "<" ">" tags and they don't work. Does anyone know how to put in an image rollover here?

12 December 2007, 09:24 PM
I was looking through helzer's (spelling?) sketches in the WIP forum the last couple days and I was just completely amazed at what he produced in a short amount of time. I also found his color wheel thread very interesting, so I went ahead and put in 30 minutes for a sketch. I figure it will help to balance this thread and to help me learn faster, too, as opposed to being too focused on one or two large projects.

12 December 2007, 07:04 AM
I was going to just go to bed tonight after a long football game and drive home, but I sketched instead. Still trying to work out limited color palettes and being able to make something simple and interesting at the same time.

12 December 2007, 12:46 AM
I've got to learn something about workflow... I meant to spend 30 minutes warming up with a sketch and it ended up taking me an hour and twenty minutes... and it's not even something complex or neat. I spent most of the time painting and then undoing because I kept doing stuff I didn't like.
I like the monotone image better, but I could use some advice on what I could have done better with the colors, so I'll upload both.

what do you guys do when you sketch? do you continue to paint and hardly ever undo, letting things layer and stack up? Or maybe just use large brushes and then continually go smaller for details, or... I don't know. I've just got to figure out some way to get something done in less than hour. haha.

12 December 2007, 04:01 AM
I tried to do another sketch, but again, I spent over an hour on it. I think I need to somehow MAKE myself not care about how the image turns out, just so I can learn about workflow.

EDIT: I changed her arms to balance the composition, and added some greek to create a triangular interest. 'hell' is on her left wrist and 'heaven' is on her right.

12 December 2007, 11:13 AM
nice sketches, I like your unusual ideas :) well, good luck with the "road to mastery" ;)

12 December 2007, 02:34 PM
Staticpen, what a wonderful thread you have going :) Beautiful work! I'm totally awed by the the woman in profile with the graceful hand gesture. Keep posting!!!

12 December 2007, 02:56 AM
Ferril - thanks very much for stopping by! hope you'll come by again soon.

Daniel - wow, you have no idea how great it is for me to hear that from you. haha. I really, really admire what you're doing in your sketchbook thread, and I'm so happy that you've come by to check mine out. Stop by again soon! I'll be here posting all the while.

Tonight I finished the bouquet repaint I mentioned earlier. The original was pixel art at about 400x300, and this version here is hard brush at 3000x2100 or so. I'm going to print it for a friend this christmas, so I'm excited to have it done.

12 December 2007, 06:39 AM
I decided I was REALLY going to do something quick tonight... and I did it. I switched to a random brush every minute or so, and it helped me work loose and fast because of how little time I had with any given brush. Also tried some new texture techniques.

about 25 min (yay me)

12 December 2007, 09:01 AM

Your work and enthusiasm backing it is outright inspirational to me.

um so yes hello and I'll be here with you to the bitter end... awesome!

Hey good idea switching up brushes with the last piece! I sometimes find myself in a "afraid to break it" rut in which just going nuts on the canvas can generate new leads.

Saw earlier you where talking about undoing lots or something. I recommend using the ol' ctrl-z sparingly, maybe for those epic strokes that are really important that you want just right. What I'd rather do is when stepping in the unknown use a new layer. This saves your ass as well as allows you to erase out your work. Sometimes adding too much and "pulling it back" is part of the backwards/forwards development with digital tools. Stephan ( about this as well I think.

I see you'e posting lots.... could be more though ;)

Meet you here again soon,

12 December 2007, 01:57 PM
just popping in to tell you how awesome it was to follow your progress over the three pages this last 20 or 30 mins...!

Keep the hard work and dedication up - the two can take you anywhere you want! The road to mastery never stops... once you arrive you know you took a wrong turn somewhere...:D

So, keep going!


12 December 2007, 02:42 AM
Matt - Hey man, thanks very much! I'm very happy to have you here. :) And I kept in mind what you said about holding off the undo for this one. I decided it might end up better in the long run if I just let errors stack to create texture and character for the image. And I just read the article about Stephan. What he says at the very end about erasing is exactly what I was thinking might be a good idea, haha. I think it turned out well!

Mu - Haha. Definitely agree with you about mastery. I don't ever expect to get there, so I guess that means this thread will be up for a long time coming - fingers crossed! Glad to have you around, and thanks a bunch.

Here's tonight's sketch. I posted it in a DSF thread for "colossus" themes... are those challenges or just community sketchbooks?

75 min

I discovered after doing this that coloring over grayscale still has me beat. When I throw on colors my whole value setup gets shot. I either get the color I want but the values get super dark, or the values stay roughly the same but the colors look like an extremely low opacity, with no saturation. Does anyone have any suggestions for applying color to a bw sketch while maintaining your values? Multiply makes everything dark and overlay makes the color washed out. I dunno.

12 December 2007, 08:21 AM
Nice composition there Jason. Kinda made me laugh (damn dark sense of humor... we all know he's screwed... or is he??)

I use overlay on top of value sketches sometimes. If you run into issues with darks or washouts remember you can tame them by adjusting levels and curves (in photoshop). I'd recommend adding them by hitting the half moon button on the layer box so you can also paint in and out with the mask (just like the erasing out technique I mentioned earlier)!


try something backwards such as:

-polishing details (normal, etc)
-values (mulitply)
-colour unpaint (normal)

Check out the pro's source files over at:

such as EL Coro's psd's ->

What I've found is that overlay's are great for lightening up a piece and splashing a different direction with colours and multiply good is for darkening.

Post more mate!

12 December 2007, 05:25 AM
Matt - Ah, dude. Thanks so much for the .psd links! I'd always wanted to be able to watch someone paint in person so I could see their layers and such, because the speed painting videos on youtube are too small and quick to make out the 'how'. I'll be spending a lot of time with these, so thanks again.

I decided it was time to go back into my angel painting again. Luckily, I found that other than a few small fixes I still felt rather finished with it. At least this is about as far as I'm going to take this one. I could continue to improve it as my skill improves, but then I'll never finish. So here it is.

Just a fix of the drape angle of his sash and some cleaning up of textures/stray paint, mostly. I'm not going to include a giant detail crop this time, though, cause there were only very minor changes to the face, as well as the addition of irises. If you want to see the texture up close, feel free to go back a page.

12 December 2007, 12:30 AM
ITs been awhile since i have seen your thread but it is looking very good. love those sketches!!! Keep it up will check back soon!

12 December 2007, 06:56 AM
I changed my mind. I was looking at this .psd links you gave me, matt, and I learned quite a bit about adding details to images. A whole mess of detail can be added without getting carpal tunnel - all you need is a texture and some paint thrown over it to make it look less obvious.
So... yeah, I changed my mind and went back into the Zeus' Request painting. All I really did was vignette a couple corners to give the light some direction and clean up/add texture to the cloud he's sitting on. I also overlayed some angel wing detail.

12 December 2007, 08:23 AM
Hello, staticpen. I have to say, that i really don't like the sun on this last one. I think, u should rework it. And there is some mistakes in anatomy of the angel(if his body is human-like, of course..). :wise: His shoulder must be positioned lower, 'couse of the position of his arm. And there's somethink i really don't like about the area betweem right leg and the right arm. There's a flexure i don't like.
Anyway, your picture is great and i suggest you to take it to the "iconic" format. You know, you can add some ark over the whole image with some independed picture. And this will look great. :lightbulb
Else, i don't like that's the sky is one-toned. There MUST be different colours there.
Keep up painting and you'll get your mastery! ;)

I like the effect of an old painting that you've placed over the whole picture. This is just a texture layer with overlay or something, right? :)

12 December 2007, 09:52 PM
Advarsky - Thanks very much for dropping by an offering your take on the painting. :) You're right, the old paint look was achieved through overlaying photos of chipped paint and concrete walls on various layer modes.

So guys, I didn't post yesterday. What happened? I guess I was busy with something, but I did manage to get some painting in. I started a sketch before bed and finished it just now. There's something about it I'm not thrilled with, but all that talk about japan and daniel's newest painting got me feeling like I should do something in that vein. Anime and manga used to be all I drew back in the day.

12 December 2007, 10:40 PM
I think it's starting to show that I'm a fan of a couple compositions I'm comfortable with, and I don't paint much else... haha.

Thanks to T-Scholes for the tutorial on this ink/wash on canvas method.

Snaaaaaake! 10min

12 December 2007, 12:11 AM
Awesome sketch :)

12 December 2007, 12:15 AM
Thanks Dan!

I can't help myself!

12 December 2007, 05:44 PM
Hey Jason, I followed you over from your post on the DSG - very nice work you have here! I really like your colossus and the anime girl, very cute and loose.

What a great idea to start this thread and post your progress, if only I could be so organized... I've been trying to sharpen my skills and do a drawing every day, but it works out more like every few days - the sketch group is s great impetus to get going though.

Best of luck with your endeavors, and I'll continue checking in!

12 December 2007, 07:37 PM
Thanks, Deb! Glad to have you around. :) This thread has definitely been a major reason why I'm still painting every day. I haven't had a streak like this since... well, a long, long time ago. Years. It's all thanks to you guys! Your feedback, encouragement and criticism are all greatly appreciated.

RebeccaK said in one of her workshop threads that doing master copies was a great way to learn several things, including new software. I'm pretty new to PS, so I figured I'd give one a shot and see how things work out. Well, one night and a morning later, I've got new understanding of what brushes to use for painting and blending, when using the airbrush is a good idea, and how to spot like-colors and values in different areas of the painting, so as to make it a uniform composition and palette. Good things to know!

I chose Rubens, and I thought this would be a good one to start with:

12 December 2007, 02:06 AM
Tonight's update after a couple hours. Mostly hair and bust and facial touch ups. I'm still unsure of when to use what brush for hair and fabric, so progress is slow.


Also, would this thread be better off in the personal sketchbook area? If so, who do I contact to request moving it?

12 December 2007, 11:52 AM
Good start on the Rubens study! I was just going to suggest doing a longer painting and here it is. Master copies are awesome to do, teaches you loads of things if you don't just copy but try to understand how and why it was done. That's why I like to call them master studies, not copies. Ok, you get the idea.
I think it's good not to use dozens of brushes for one painting unles you really know how to use them. You don't want different parts of the same painting look painted in a different style.
Looking forward to an update!

12 December 2007, 09:39 PM
Thanks for coming by, Razz. Good to have you around. And yeah, I learn a lot about workflow from sketches, but I decided it was time to start something serious again. I find I get the most out of painting if I have a bigger project running along beside several smaller sketches. I can use the sketches for workflow practice and concentrate on perception skills and technique imitation when working on the larger project.

I haven't been able to update in the last two days because someone has been using my computer to watch TV almost nonstop. Apparently the season that's uploaded at the moment is going to get erased by a newer one soon, and they have to go all rambo on it to finish before that happens.

I've also been reading Juliette Aristides' Classical Drawing Atelier. It's a brilliant book, and I'm really learning a lot. I've also ordered Henry Yan's figure drawing book. His charcoal skills are out of control. It looks like paint, only it's charcoal... very excited for that to arrive.

I'm hopefully going to be doing some figure sketches tonight. I'd like to do something quick and implied, rather than large and concise. Don't want to get burned out, now.

Anyway, here is this afternoon's progress on the Rubens. Worked on her left shoulder and on her left arm a bit, as well as small touch ups in various places, such as the placement and rotation of her lips. It took me a couple hours just to make this small update. Cloth was never a strong point of mine... I suppose I might have progressed faster if I'd picked a figure to copy instead of a lady in a frilly dress. But, by encountering difficulties and overcoming them I am learning how to be successful in the future, so press on, huh? Cloth... pssh.

12 December 2007, 05:22 AM
The giants... oh, the giants. They depress me every time I watch them play. At least my dolphins won a game today. We're not a part of NFL history! Wooo.

But, since the giants were playing so poorly, I spent a lot of time with my head in my sketchbook.

Sorry for the quality... my scanner isn't with me, so it's just photos under poor light for now.

First I did some figures from imagination:

Then this weird guy lifting something heavy:

And I was drawing this chair until someone sat in it...

I'm gonna be back in Alabama for the holidays, so again, its hard to find an internet connection at my relatives' places. Happy going to you all!

12 December 2007, 02:00 AM
this thread just keeps getting better and better! Love the anime style drawings and your rework of the old masterpiece is wonderful! :thumbsup:

12 December 2007, 08:01 PM
nerdyninja - thanks very much! I'm very happy to have you checking in. :)

Got a bit of an update today. There're a handful a files this time, cause it's been so long since I updated last.
I didn't have a car for a bit after coming down here to Alabama, but I've got access to one now, so hopefully I'll be able to upload more often.

Anyway, here is a quick Ingres copy. I really like the subtle naturalistic texture I got with this one... I think I'll do more sketches on this surface.

Another bald, bearded man from imagination. I wanted to try a different expression, though.

Then I started getting really interested in trying to make brushes that simulated charcoal. This was the image that got me started.

Then I started to focus more on the brushes and came up with this sketch. I feel like the blending method I've discovered is working pretty well.

And the finally this collection of 5 minute sketches from imagination. I figured instead of timing myself and seeing how long I take to sketch I should try to give myself a time-LIMIT and see what happens.

The rubens is coming along, but I'm using my laptop battery at the moment and I don't want to open PS to resize it. Plus, I'm in a cafe, and I'm in a bit of a hurry to get the past couple week's worth of internet stuff done in one sitting.

Enjoy, and hope to be posting again as soon as possible!

Oh! And cross your fingers that photobucket doesn't go and delete some of the sketches with nudity... anyone know of a place where I can upload to a free account with no censorship?

01 January 2008, 12:54 PM
wow! great sketches! I love how you have experimented and found all these different types of methods. ...this is actually something that i wanted to do as well so this thread is great! Keep on workin it!

01 January 2008, 05:52 PM
nerdyninja - yeah, definitely take some time to experiment with your art. Doing the same thing over and over (coughbeardedbaldguyscough) isn't that good for your development if you're trying to branch out.

Uh, it's a really small update cause I don't work on it very often, but here is the woman with the mirror.

I haven't been working on it but little bits at a time lately cause I just bought some charcoal to draw and learn from my new Henry Yan book. It's been exciting and frustrating, to say the least.

I haven't got a scanner with me at the moment, so here are some photos of a couple pages. Vine charcoal on a big brown sketch pad. ;)

It's definitely another challenge, learning yet another medium. I've never used charcoal before. It's been really fun because of all the painterly sweeping motions I get to mess around with, but it's been difficult because I've been drawing while holding the charcoal like a screw driver - you know, way back from the tip, knuckles facing the page. I've never drawn like that before, and it's pretty awkward so far. Haha.

Anyway, that's it for today.

01 January 2008, 08:23 PM
Love your charcoal figure sketches, very nice! Vine charcoal is my fave, but it is very smudgy.

Do you recommend the Yan book?

Keep up the great work!

01 January 2008, 01:32 PM
colors and lighting are great, some more detailed work could be really nice

01 January 2008, 11:44 PM
ceruleanvii - thanks very much! yeah, vine charcoal is pretty smudgy. At first I adored it, because I could sweep it around like paint, but when I'm trying to make darker values with compressed charcoal over the vine, blending in the transition shades just seems to pick up the vine marks all together. It'll take some getting used to. But I definitely recommend the henry yan book. His work is a breath of fresh air compared to most figure drawing books (reminds me of the metal gear artist yoji shinkawa) and he draws in many styles throughout the pages. He also presents several step by step how-tos, and making-of sections where he takes photos of each stage of the drawings and explains what he's doing at each point. It's been great to work from.

bugworld - thanks so very much for stopping by. :) I'm still working on that woman with a mirror painting... it's trying my patience, but I get bits and pieces of it done every day or so.

I've mainly been focusing on becoming familiar with charcoal the last several days. This is the oldest page, here, and it shows my trouble getting accurate values at that point. Plainly seen in the reclining pose on the bottom right, it's basically just sections of black and sections of grey-ish tone. No variations.

Here you can see that I've become a little more capable creating value transitions over the whole image. I actually held this page up to a mirror to see the man reversed, and dude, was he discombobulated. Haha. Gotta get better at visualizing the bridge of the nose better.

And this guy here I made up. Trying to use what I learned from the asian man drawing and apply it to an imaginary draft.
Lumberjack ftw!

01 January 2008, 11:59 PM
Hey guys. I'm remodeling my grandmother's house down here in alabama, so I don't have a lot of free time. What I do have, though, I've been spending with charcoal, as you've seen. I do intend on returning to PS in the future, but I'm not going to be the one to stop the flow of progress when it's coming as well as it is these days. I'm really getting the hang of blending compressed charcoal over the vine marks.

Here is a recent page.

And last night's page.

01 January 2008, 05:52 PM
looking beautiful! Woah your sketches are awesome!!! you are very good at figuratism and loose beautiful sketches!

01 January 2008, 09:33 PM
Nerdyninja - Thanks for the kind words!

Here is what I'm working on for the OFDW.

The reference is in the top left, and each square after is 10 minutes of progress.

And here is an enlargement of the last square:

01 January 2008, 09:37 PM
Hey Jason!

Got that book you wanted, mm? Nice work done with charcoal in those drawings. There really are many ways to use this medium. Fun fun fun!!
Keep up with these. Charcoal is very interesting to me, because I haven't doen much work with it.

01 January 2008, 05:54 PM
Razz - Thanks man. Yeah, charcoal is really interesting to work with. I actually just bought a bunch of it only to find an art box in a closet FULL of the exact same kind of charcoal I was buying. Haha. Bummer. In a good way.

Anyway, the updates from the workshop today:

02 February 2008, 07:22 PM
i think its looking fantastic! I can tell the work you are putting in it! I do have to say the eyes creep me out though. haha but i know that is how it looks on the model! keep it up!

02 February 2008, 06:10 PM
I'm quite sorry for the lack of updates everyone, but seriously, there is no internet connection where I am... which happens to still be my grandmother's house in alabama.
Anyway, I've started drafting a character for the dominance war coming up. He's a stalker type, with I'm thinking vegetation artifacts or whatever.

Anyway, here was the initial improvisation:

I generally liked that idea, so I stuck with it and tried to come up with a face.

I feel that guy looks a little too cowboys n' indians to me, though, and I want him to have less muscle mass, so I drew another full body image, but from behind this time. I also shortened his weapon to a more manageable level.

I really like how his gear came out, especially the attachment of the sword to his belt, so I think I'm going to stick with this. I'm also going to draw up a draft with his neck-cloak thing pulled over his head like a hood, just to see how that looks. He is an assassin, after all.

If anyone knows what the CGTalk insignia is, please let me know what it is or where to find it, cause it has to appear on my character.

02 February 2008, 05:50 PM
Another update for the dominance war 3 competition:

So. Last night I got to drawing more stuff for my Stalker. Like I said last time, I wasn't happy with the face of my character. He looked like someone you'd seen in a trillion video games before. So what I did, I started working on the face exclusively, trying to find out what this dude really looks like. This is the first page.

The top two you've seen a million times. The bottom left I felt looked like he'd been around a while, almost vietnam status, and the bottom right had a crazy look in his eye and a lowered headband for character depth. Nobody likes a "I'm all about justice" hero anyway. They gotta have flaws, a dark side. More interesting. So what I did, I combined the two bottom faces and loved it.
I also changed his headband into bandages, to make him less typical and also because it goes with the wounded, starved soldier assassin motif better. I also decided that he could pull that thing around his neck up to wear it as a hood when it rained. Gotta think practically, no?

Finally, I worked up his face from the side and drew some gear descriptions.

I'm very happy with all of this, so I'm going to keep this face. What I'm going to do now that I see doing drafts of things you already like can lead to even BETTER things, I'm going to start redrafting his clothing and stuff as well. See what I can come up with.

02 February 2008, 09:09 PM
Here's more stuff for the Dominance War III

Here are two of the three views needed in the character sheet. I'll have this finished by next upload.

Here is a concept I thought about trying, where one of his arms is possessed by a demon.

Here is a sitting drawing.

And a battle pose!

and the final concept sheet for the DWIII required images.

02 February 2008, 06:42 PM
Finished the DWIII 3-view sheet.

03 March 2008, 12:37 AM
like it very interesting!~:thumbsup:

03 March 2008, 07:11 AM
Hey, staticpen,

How's the dominance war stuff coming along?

04 April 2008, 01:32 AM
Hey velon. I actually took a break for a while because I had everything done except the main image. I'm gonna try to get that done in the next day or so, even though I haven't felt like drawing.

The reason I have no progress updates is cause I haven't even started. haha.

05 May 2008, 04:03 PM
Hey guys. It's been a while. Sorry for that big gap in entries there. I had been putting all my creative juices into writing a book. I'm a chapter or two away from finishing, but the past couple weeks I've been really distracted by charcoal and - oh dear - stepping into the oil painting pond.
So before we get started on my oil painting project, I guess I'll get you up to date on the things I've been making when I wasn't writing:

I noticed some of my figure drawing images from a page ago were taken down from photobucket. Bummer. Anyone know a good spot to upload images without censors? Either way, here is one of the charcoal drawings I did since the last post. I think it was 25 minutes or something.

This one was a learning experience, haha. Gotta get that rib/knee structure right next time! I think it was 30 minutes.

And my first go at charcoal portraiture. This is when I started writing the drawing times on the paper.

And another guy. I started noticing that my heads were usually too small, so after this one I changed the angle of my paper as I drew.

And this is when I really made a break into feeling like I was comfortable with charcoal. Keep working at something and it'll click sooner or later!

05 May 2008, 06:38 PM
While I was drawing all of those I was (still am) reading a couple books by Juliette Aristides. Her drawing and painting atelier books. Great books. Anyway, I started reading a lot about and studying composition, so I got inspired to create a few simple compositions in photoshop.

This one I made because I was in Home Depot and saw all the orange everywhere and noted how ugly it all was. So I went home and tried to use orange in a nice way. I used a simple triangle made of one circle atop two others.

And for this one I used the armature of the rectangle, which I found fascinating. Using music to compose images? Count me in! I'll just post the process image, cause the final result is at the bottom of it and I don't want to post the same image twice.

So anyway! Here is the deal with the oil painting...

First, you can find the original here (

Here is a quick sketch I did to get used to the rhythm of the piece:

Here is a sketch of the head:

Here is a color study of the head painted in Photoshop:

At this point I decided to get started with the actual painting, so I made a careful drawing over a graph on the canvas. It's just 4H graphite on a 16x20 panel:

I'm going to experiment with finding the right color combinations in the next day or two, and possibly paint a small apple or something in order to get a feel for underpaintings, which I'm pretty sure Bougeureau did when he painted. A light gray underpainting, I think it was.
Hope you can dig this! Feel free to say whatever you want as things develop.

05 May 2008, 04:10 PM
I say your charcoal drawings look beautiful!

Have you ever painted with oil colours before? It's the last thing I tried and I really appreciate their versatility, although I find some aspects of edge control are a PITA. Especially hard edges.

Looking forward to your study WIPs and yes, light underpaintings!

In general I would like to pass on a recommendation by Glenn ( deals with oil painting techniques of the old masters and features step-by-step demonstrations of each technique.

Also, the oil colour channel of ( in information on technical aspects.

05 May 2008, 05:50 PM
Hoo boy, what a find! Thanks very much, Mu. :) That forum is especially helpful at the moment.

But seriously, I'm already having gripes about hard edges in oil. I did the following image a couple weeks ago right after I got my paint. Painting details is way harder than I thought it would be. If I paint with just the tip of the brush I get like one inch of color down, but if I start to bevel the brush for a longer line, the stroke gets all thick and messy. Eesh.

Other than that I did a really lame flower for Mother's Day. Haha. It turned out so bad. I didn't use any oil (just terp) and I not only put acrylic on top of oil color, but I mixed acrylic and oil colors to make a specific color. Aw, man. I went out and picked up some oil painting basics info after that one. Then there was one other random painting of a tree, which was equally as terrible. So I guess when all is accounted for this Bouguereau copy will be my 4th canvas in oil. Not counting the studies which I'll be doing before the final painting, which leads me to...

This image of the hands, which I'm going to start painting today if I can find the time. 8x10 panel, acrylic over the pencil to keep it from washing away:

Other than that I've been browsing around and looking at concept artists, and I've been inspired again to get back into PS not just to fool around, but to actually try to progress. I tried some glazing with this one and it turned out alright. I went into it thinking I'd try to be loose and free, but the next thing I knew the clock said 3AM and I had been working on it for hours. Hahaha. Still trying to figure out the workflow to that Craig Mullins-ish sort of style that's so popular these days. Anyone have any insight into that sort of method? Lately I've been trying to block in a 3-value image and then use textured brushes over it, followed by some multiply and lighten layers to kind of glaze some transparencies on it, finally finishing with some texturing. Anyway, here's the image:

05 May 2008, 02:21 PM
I love your sketches! Also love the little compositionals you did. The kid fishing ....i dont know is just so darn cute! Plus I learned some things too! haha Great stuff!

05 May 2008, 11:42 PM
Thanks nerdninja. :) Glad you found something helpful in all that.

I got around to doing the underpainting of my moissonneuse hands study last night. There must be something wrong with my red or green, though, cause when I woke up I found little spots of... something... in the grey areas (I used red and green to make my grey).

So here's the current status of that one:

Aside from that, I made this apple in PS. I haven't painted a fruit - in any medium - since I was like nine. hahaha. It turned out alright, I think, but I've got a few things I want to try next time. For half of this painting I felt like I was wasting time turning my colors to mud.

05 May 2008, 03:25 AM
this is my very first post on the whole cgtalk forum. after stumbling upon the site and then happening upon your thread here, viewing your incredible works and impressive progress, i decided to join so that i too could proceed on my road to mastery.

your thread has really been an inspiration to me; you have been an inspiration to me. your work shows such creativity and boldness that makes me see green. you have this tendency to just go for it no matter how challenging and without restraint and then possess the will to continue. i want to do the same. thank you for sharing your work and progress and good luck in reaching your goal! ill be rooting for you!

06 June 2008, 03:27 PM
Lestikitty - Aw, geez. Thanks a million times! What you're saying is pretty much half the reason I started this thread in the first place. One part for me, one part to hopefully inspire at least one other person to do the same. See, I actually got this idea from stumbling upon another artist who was doing the same thing on a different forum. His progression has been incredible, and he's still going - years later. So thanks again, and let me know when things get started so I can subscribe to your thread!

My hands study was still a little damp last night. I guess I painted a little too thick or something. I dunno, cause the terp was actually making some of the lines wash around like watercolor.
Anyway, my Dad was watching The Wire on my computer, and that's where all my Moissonneuse references are, so I couldn't do anything oil. I ended up breaking out the new watercolors I got recently and just went for something random. I was actually going to paint some potatoes, but I decided on copying a master oil instead. It's called The Pink Ruff, and I'd link you to a reference but I can't remember the artist's name, and image searches aren't bringing it up based on the title alone.
But anyway, this was started as a copy, and then about halfway through I just kind of started winging it. Hahaha.

06 June 2008, 12:29 AM
Aw, man. Oil is so hard. Hahaha. I'm really just winging this one...

As far as PS, well, I've been really inspired by Vyle and Bumskee and Razz lately to do environments and stuff. So uh, here is my first ever environment from life:

After that I went indoors and gave it another go, but trying to focus on simplicity instead of crazy textured brushes... I think it turned out a lot better.
Step one was putting down some perspective lines. I really don't remember much about perspective, so I'm just winging it here.

Step two was just sketching and blocking in some colors with a regular hard round.

Step three was blocking really simply on a multiply layer, trying to stay loose and not get caught up on details, which I tend to do.

The final image came about after doing something that I've just recently been experimenting with, which is painting the light and darkness in the air instead of painting the their effects on surfaces... such as uh, painting the emptiness in the room instead of the walls. Hard to explain, but basically all I did was make darken and soft light layers and just go in really lightly with a huge soft round brush. Other than that I just threw in a wood plank texture and painted over it. I forgot Bumskee or Vyle or whoever said to do that when I was doing my outdoor painting. That's why the bricks look so perfect. But anyway, here's the image:

06 June 2008, 12:33 AM
this is an amazing thread! you are very talented. i love the perspective on the last piece. amazing. really believable, great use of space, makes the room look big. the fan is throwing me off a little bit though, i feel like we should see at least two sides of it. and i love your apple. that is. amazing. really good ;)!

ill be checkin back in with this one!!

06 June 2008, 01:11 AM
no thanks necessary and ill be sure to let you know when i get started cuz i would like to have your input on my stuff :) just gotta figure out where to get started. ive been browsing around the forums for a while now trying to find where i want to start but its so much to take in and so much i want to work on all at the same time.

cool scenery pieces. i especially like the first one with all those textures.

06 June 2008, 03:05 AM
Auria - Big thanks! Hahaha, I have to agree about that fan. I was neglecting to paint it the whole time, and I finally just rushed it in at the end. It looks pretty terrible, hahaha. :blush:


I tried going out and playing tennis this morning, what with the french open going on and everything... dude, it was way too hot. I almost died.

I just finished up a sketch from imagination, though, so let's get to that.
Another environment. I'm starting to really like them, which is surprising even to myself.

Step one is just throwing down the armature of the rectangle as a compositional guide. After that I put down the horizon line on the perfect 4th intersections, also using that spot for my vanishing point (the center of the 'X' is the 'octave', with the next two intersections along the lines are the 'perfect 5th' and 'perfect 4th' marks. They have these musical names because their distances from one another are exactly the same as the distances between the wave intersections of an audible note of the same pitch. Hard to explain, but it's really fascinating if you're into that sort of thing.) I only used one point perspective for this one.

After that I made a new layer and just started sketching in stuff really loosely. I generally followed the diagonals of the armature, but without getting too specific. If you follow every line perfectly your image can turn out looking processed or stagnant in my opinion.

Step three is just throwing down colors on a layer underneath the lines. It's all hard round at 100% opacity and flow, both of which are set to pressure sensitivity. I try not to do too many transparent shades at this point because it makes me want to blend, and I find that to be counterproductive at this stage in the painting. For the street, however, I just put down a bunch of grey and then selected it with a magic wand, following with an application of the gradient tool.

Step four is just experimenting with brush settings and lower opacities. The further away something is the more atmospheric haze affects the color (as well as value), so in this case with a blue sky, I laid down a slight glaze of light blue over the background, separating my painting into two distinct planes of foreground and background. I also put down the red of the stop sign to draw your eye into the street. Red is the complementary color of green, and when two complementary colors are nearby each other they clash, causing a focal point. I took care not to have red anywhere else in order to reduce distractions.

The final stage was just putting down a photo texture on overlay and bringing the opacity down, adding details like birds and people. After that I adjusted the color balance with Selective Color, which I actually clicked by accident. haha. Lucky I did, cause I've never used it before, but the control it gave me over the look of everything was incredible. Try it if you haven't. It's not a filter, it's an image adjustment.

So there's that, but I have one other thing that might be interesting to some of you. Have you ever seen an image with a really rad color palette and wanted to use it for one of your own paintings? Try this trick on it. Grab your admired image and go to Filters > Pixelate > Mosaic. I think that's where it is. But anyway, you can select how simple or complex you want your conversion, and it basically gives you a ready-made palette to color pick from all throughout your painting process. Here's an example of what you end up with:

06 June 2008, 07:34 AM
Awesome how you explained everything! Where did you learn all this stuff? You've got some unique style going on there, I like what I've seen so far.

06 June 2008, 02:37 PM
Hey there Staticpen!

Ahh, composition is something I should study myself, but later with that. It's great that you're doing these environments and good to see how free you are with those. It's good to widen the range of stuff you draw/paint so keep at it! Would really love to see an update on that oil piece. Oils aren't that hard once you get a little more used to it. Besides, you can always correct, it's a very forgiving medium, so you're free to do mistakes, haha.

Here are some names to check out:
Tae Young Choi (
L.D. Austin (
Cole Eastburn (
Mattias Snygg (
Tuomas Korpi (
Yim Aukun (
Dan Phyillaier (
Nicolas Uribe (

Ok, enough for this time. Let's hope you'll find some inspiring and unseen stuff for you :)


06 June 2008, 08:10 PM
Lestikitty - Sorry, I missed your last post! It must have snuck by me somehow. Thanks for the kind words. It's true, I was lost on what to do at first as well. Maybe just start a sketchbook thread and dive in?

exStatic1 - Thanks, I appreciate it. I collect a lot of information about art through forums like this and books, mostly. I've got who knows how many figure drawing and anatomy books, as well as a couple technical books dealing with composition and color theory and all of that. But really, a good portion of everything is just a result of experimentation. Just draw draw draw! :arteest:

Razz - Yeah, composition is so important. Most people can get by on intuition and the rule of thirds alone, but lately I've been really interested in learning about taking it to another level. And thanks for all the artist links! Choi has been a favorite of mine for a while now, but everyone else was news to me. Some great stuff! Thanks again.

So anyway, I'm not sure if I'll be doing any more to that hands study in oil. I'm really just making up technique along the way, and I feel pretty lost. I might just end up doing an alla prima (fancy term for 'all at once') painting of the head next. This glazing stuff tries my patience way too much, haha.
And does anyone know if it's possible to move this thread to the sketchbook forum?


Anyway, I had a bunch of people over yesterday so I didn't really have time to draw. That plus the French Open AND a friendly between USA and Spain was on TV. 0-1 Spain. We couldn't even score one goal :banghead: .
I haven't been doing much figure drawing lately so I decided to sneak a couple in before bed, though. I used a really big canvas with a pretty thin line in order to practice contour accuracy, and it proved to be pretty tough. So often I draw on little sketch pages so the thickness of line allows my eye to 'imagine' the correct contour within the stroke, but really thin lines like this were forcing me to get the line just right. It really gave me quite a workout. Maybe I'll do some more?

06 June 2008, 01:55 AM
Well thought-out exercise. I never considered that a large canvas and a thin line would aid in practicing contour lines. I'll be sure to try it myself.

I think it was a relative success. These lines seem very organic and right to me. You need to clean them up a bit, though. There's a bit of 'scratching' going on, mainly in the second one around the lady's hip.

06 June 2008, 03:56 PM
^^; it did sneak in. since i just joined my first two posts had to be approved before they would actually be shown. that happened to be my second post.

i guess i should just dive in. better than not doing anything at all. ive just always hated doing stuff that i had no idea what i was doing. with my luck id probably end up sticking a sketchbook thread in the wrong place.

i never realized that the thickness of your line made such a difference other than in the appearance of a drawing. ive always done my sketches with thin strokes and couldnt imagine using anything else. these sketches have such fine details compared to most of your others and im guessing its because of the thin strokes. so now im wondering if using thicker strokes would help my guesture sketching cuz i have a very hard time with that. ill try it.

06 June 2008, 07:10 PM
Greenham - Yeah, definitely give it a go and post your results! Also checked out your lounging girl. You've got a pretty good base going on there, but I agree with the comment posted - don't be afraid of contrast! Throw down some dark colors and you'll make your forms pop.

Lestikitty - Line width definitely affects your level of detail. Consider painting a full-body portrait on an 8x10 canvas and then painting the same thing on a large poster. Using the same brush as the small canvas, suddenly your line is much thinner and you can fit much smaller details into your work. But yeah, definitely experiment with different line widths when gesture drawing. Thicker lines can be really helpful in adding weight to the pose. Now get that sketchbook going! :thumbsup:


I was pretty busy again yesterday, so all I had time to do was this cast shadow study. Pretty simple, just some lines and then coloring underneath. The shadow was on its own layer, painted with black at 100% opacity, adjusting the layer opacity down to about 60%. Then I just went in with a big soft round eraser at 1% flow and pulled out from the bottom up. Turned out to be a pretty decent way of putting gradation on a cast shadow.

06 June 2008, 12:43 AM
Great thread! I'm taking down notes. Looking forward to seeing more stuff.

06 June 2008, 04:02 PM
Maldoror - Thanks, mate. Glad you could find something interesting here. :)


Nothing major so far today, just another go at contours. I'm getting in some good practice drawing multiple figures with these. I usually just draw people on their own. Drawing couples is definitely different. I also figured I'd throw down some lighting on this sketch to practice shadow placement. Also trying to simplify lighting by using soft brushes for form shadows and hard brushes for cast shadows. It seemed logical, and I think it turned out alright.

06 June 2008, 10:59 PM
Yeah, you're right, the hard brush/soft brush technique looks like it works very well for the shadows.

06 June 2008, 01:05 AM
lovely. i know drawing characters interacting is always hard for me. this is impressive.

i think you shouldve tried adding some quick highlights too. that wouldve added some more pop to the picture.

edit:btw, i started my thread
^^; i dont seem to be getting much of a response so far.

06 June 2008, 05:31 PM
exStatic - Thanks. I'm thinking I might try something a little different next time, though... just to get a softer grad on the form shadows. Something with layers and big brushes. I'll post my results.

Lestikitty - Heh, thanks. As it turns out I did try adding highlights, but I didn't like them. Plus it was like 1:30 in the morning, so I wanted to sleep more than I wanted to figure out which value would work out for the highs. :p And give your thread time. New threads always take a while to gather attention. And the more you run around and comment on other people's stuff, the more people see your name. You should try linking your thread into your signature.


I did another charcoal piece last night. I used charcoal pencils for the first time. I used to think they were really rough and dark, but I found a "medium" and it was actually pretty hard, so I was able to carry some nice greys throughout without making everything too dark.

I also did this PS sketch before bed, just to get back to my oekaki-style roots, haha. 30 min.

06 June 2008, 11:51 PM
staticpen: what brushes and PS settings did you use to blend the colors on the photorealistic painting you did earlier in this thread?

I've been working on my own WIP and so far I can only get muddy-looking colors and the blend doesn't look as smooth as it does on yours. I'll post the image later over on my thread so you can see what I mean. thanks in advance.

06 June 2008, 02:41 AM
Maldoror - You mean the image of the lady in the burgundy dress coming out of the left side of the frame? I made that drawing really light outlines with a hard round, first. After that I just blocked in, again with a hard round. For form shadows I just used the airbrush. I pretty much did that one straight up on one layer, with the brush always on 'normal' setting. Sorry, no fancy tricks. :blush: The only thing out of the ordinary I did was use the Burn tool with a big speckled brush to get some texture on the dress around her waist. But that's really about it. Good luck, and let me know when your thread it up!


I put together a charcoal piece just a bit ago. Hope you guys can dig it. For the first time here I tried charcoal pencil, vine AND compressed charcoal. I liked that workflow. Sketching in and blocking with the pencil, then throwing down the compressed stuff for the deepest values. Then I just threw the vine over everything to get some greys. After that was adding details by pulling out with an eraser and adding some more compressed stuff here and there for transitions.

06 June 2008, 10:47 PM
Wow guys. I've never learned so much from a single forum thread. Can you tell me where I can find more information on the composition methods you're using? Sorry if it's already been mentioned, but I skimmed most of it. I don't know that I've ever used some sort of guide in my drawings... good idea (duh).

06 June 2008, 12:51 AM
you do the most wonderful sketches. really awesome job for your first few tries with charcoal pencils. i remember i got some, tried them, hated them, and havent used them since XD. i like that last one in particular. the blending is on point and the sketch has a bit of a classic feel to it.

okay. ill give my thread some time and try your suggestions. thanks!

06 June 2008, 01:34 AM
What I like about you is that you don't try to be one of those flashy artists drawing women with tremendous breasts, but you actually want to be a real artist. I love the fact the you work using several techniques. I believe you're on the right track to mastery, you do have that sensibility that makes an artist...

06 June 2008, 05:08 AM
What I like about you is that you don't try to be one of those flashy artists drawing women with tremendous breasts, but you actually want to be a real artist.

Everyone has their own unique inspirations. ;)

06 June 2008, 02:28 PM
That third charcoal piece above (woman in profile) is awesome :thumbsup:

06 June 2008, 04:25 PM
Brocklesocks - Thanks very much! Glad you can get something out of this. But uh, the compositional stuff I learned from books. You can find information on phi all over the internet if you search for it. Here's ( a spot you can learn a few things about composing with phi. Da Vinci did that a lot. As for the armature, well, I just spent 10 minutes searching for good info on it and I could barely find a thing. Bummer. I learned everything I know about it from Juliette Aristides' Classical Painting Atelier. Good book. She has one for classical drawing, too, which talks a lot about phi. Good luck!

Lestikitty - Thanks. ;)

Arielmedel - Aw man, thanks very much for the encouragement. :) But yeah, haha... big boobs. I dunno. :hmm:

Greenham - Hahahaha. To each their own, no?

Daniel - Hey man, thanks a lot. Happy to see you over here!


Sorry I haven't posted in the last couple days. I've been really busy working and writing and stuff. Four pages into the last chapter! Yey.

So last night I decided I had to paint something, quick or not, so I did this:

06 June 2008, 04:34 AM
You're writing a book, staticpen?

06 June 2008, 11:50 PM
Greenham - Yessir, I started writing a book back in January. It's one of those coming of age stories, I guess. It's kind of Perks of Being a Wallflower or Catcher in the Rye, or at least those have been two inspirational sources for it. Life has been the big one, though, as much of what happens is based on my real experiences. Maybe I'll throw up a link to the first draft once it's completed... ;p


Did some acrylic stuff last night. Just messing around with my abstract and surreal influences.

"To Beyond" Acrylic on 8x10 panel. (sorry for the bad photo. my yellows look kind of green in this @__@)

I used the armature for this one, putting the spaceship and the planet/moon thing in the background on perfect 4th intersections. I also separated the loner space dude from the group by keeping them on opposite sides of the vertical and horizontal halfway lines. Oh, and I didn't measure it or anything, but the big red shape is a freehand take on the logarithmic spiral, if anyone cares. :p

06 June 2008, 04:45 PM
I was in the mood for writing last night, so alls I did was a quick sketch... enjoy!

06 June 2008, 04:48 PM
I love this, specially the colors... :)

06 June 2008, 05:26 PM
Hey, I like what you're doing with charcoal. Do keep up with it, I'm sure looking forward to seeing more of those. Nice speedpaints also, they're a very good practise and you know that.
It might be just the way I ike to do it, but it's undeniably good to focus on just a few things, so that you know what you want to get from a study ar anything that you might be painting or drawing.

06 June 2008, 10:33 PM
Aerielmedel - Heh, yeah, I went with a green/red palette, keeping the lights cool and the shadows warm. Glad you liked it. :)

Razz - Thanks man. Yeah, charcoal is really fun at this point. I don't feel like I'm struggling to understand the medium every time I take it to the paper. Almost like pencils now, I feel like I don't have to battle some 'learning the medium' barrier before reaching the creative expression part.


I've been working a lot and spending some more time writing, cause I'm so close to finishing the book, so today it's just another sketch.

I used the armature again, but this time I went with halving the canvas into two separate armature sections just to try something different. Also, I put most of the action onto the same diagonal direction, which Rubens did from time to time to show uneasiness or tension. You can see that both of the swords, both legs of the airborne dude, and the spine and the rear leg of the foreground guy are all following the same direction of bottom left to top right.

Again, I'm developing a love for the pursuit of solid and interesting compositions, so I guess that's the reason I mention what I'm doing in that area most of the time. I think composition is skimmed over too much these days. There's so much more to learn than just the rule of thirds.

06 June 2008, 02:55 AM
Man, have I been sick... e__e

06 June 2008, 02:56 AM
This one is great, it has a very natural quality to it. I just wished it had more background...

06 June 2008, 10:33 AM
hey staticpen, very nice thread. It is pretty cool to see you experimenting with so many different things. I love your sketches the most.
Could you explain a bit about that composition stuff your doing in a lot of your picture. do you have a link where I could read about that? That looks pretty interessting. Go on...

06 June 2008, 07:32 PM
I just love your loose sketches they look great! I cant wait to see more and yes I am also interested in this composition book you are reading. It looks like its helping a lot and everything you have done with it looks great!

06 June 2008, 09:03 PM
you made to me nearly the same effect that the forum you talked about made to look at someone's motivation, sketches and improvements and to decide to do the do "a daily sketch".
I can see how much did you progressed looking at your sketches, and I can just make you my best congratz and tell you..good luck, but , above all, have fun! :)
Thank you for showing your road to all of us :D

06 June 2008, 04:59 PM
Arielmedel - Thanks. :) Yeah, I did that at like midnight, and I was feeling quite sick, so I just went to bed right after that. I was originally going to do a background, but I felt like throwing up. ;__;

TedNindo & Nerdyninja - Thanks very much! Glad you dig the sketches. But uh, I don't really have a "composition" book per say. I have these two books by Juliette Aristides, Classical Drawing Atelier ( and Classical Painting Atelier ( which discuss composition in great detail. Hope you find them helpful, should you go for the purchase. :)

Alicelefay - Aw, how very encouraging. Thank you. :D Let me know when that thread goes up, and good luck!


I did an oil painting yesterday, but it was dark outside, and the flash was reflecting off the oil so I couldn't take a photo. It's really lame anyway, hahaha. But uh, a watercolor from last night...

I tried using the armature by heart instead of drawing it in this time, and it turns out I got it right for the most part. Got the dude on the diagonals I wanted, and I got the frog on the perfect 4th intersection. Hurrah!

06 June 2008, 05:10 PM
TedNindo & Nerdyninja - Thanks very much! Glad you dig the sketches. But uh, I don't really have a "composition" book per say. I have these two books by Juliette Aristides, Classical Drawing Atelier ( and Classical Painting Atelier ( which discuss composition in great detail. Hope you find them helpful, should you go for the purchase. :)

Thanks, Staticpen. I would like to get one of these if you had to recommend one of them would you either go for the drawing or the painting one. For me I tend to take the painting one. Because I more in to painting at the moment.

06 June 2008, 03:18 AM
Thanks, Staticpen. I would like to get one of these if you had to recommend one of them would you either go for the drawing or the painting one. For me I tend to take the painting one. Because I more in to painting at the moment.

I would also recommend the painting book. It doesn't cover the golden ratio stuff in quite as much depth as the drawing book, but the drawing book says nothing about the armature. So yeah, if you're leaning towards painting as an interest, maybe the painting book is for you. :)

06 June 2008, 11:36 PM
So, despite the 30-something dollar book I bought about painting (although I paid 20-something on Amazon >: D) I had never learned what dry brushing was until I read about it in a painting magazine last night. I guess it's good read from several sources, no?

So yeah, this oil here is from a week or so ago. I was painting really thick, either straight up opaque or with linseed oil (no turp mixed in). I... I very much dislike this. I post it for the good of those who should benefit from realizing that artists work for their accomplishments, and do not come out of the womb throwing down godly pieces!

And then I painted this today, applying dry brushing techniques and mixing a bunch of turp in with my oil.

Because it helped me so much, I'll let you know what I learned, just in case you don't know... Dry brushing is using a clean, dry brush to push around the paint that is already down on the canvas. It worked wonders for blending form shadows. Also, don't just throw down opaque paint (even if you mix with oil) because it makes things wet and 'workable' for like... ever. You can't do paintings in one sitting this way, which is what I had been trying to do. In this style, anyway, cause other people are super good at doing everything opaque and stuff. But uh, generally (?) for quicker pieces, add a bunch of turpentine to your oil. It thins the paint out and makes the drying time drop to minutes or less.

06 June 2008, 06:01 AM
I love the water colour painting. It looks like an illustration for a book to me. Or an image to accompany a particularly uplifting or profound quote or statement about the universe. But that's just me, I'm sure. ;)

06 June 2008, 09:32 PM
Greenham - Haha, yeah! No, I know what you mean. I kind of get that vibe from it, too. ;)


Sat down in front of the Eurocup finals this afternoon and put this down... oils are finally start to make sense to me. I'll probably put down another coat when this one dries.

07 July 2008, 10:16 PM
Hello everyone. Sorry I haven't posted in a bit. I just finished the first draft of my book. @__@ Pretty exciting. If you want to read it, here ( it is.

Also, I've been waiting for that previous oil paint piece to dry so I can apply another coat.
Oh, but I have sprayed my Moissonneuse copy drawing with fixative, so I'll be painting over that starting tomorrow I hope. It's not the hand copy from earlier, but the 16x20 full image from a long time ago.

Anyway, here's a quick thing referenced from a certain clothing company... The lines are hard round put on thick, followed by an eraser to make different widths. All the colors were done with hard round with either 100% opacity (for blocking) or 17% (for blending).

07 July 2008, 08:38 PM
Finally started putting in the darks for my Bouguereau copy... I'm pretty excited. :D

07 July 2008, 03:01 AM
Amazing Sketches, want see more

07 July 2008, 07:38 PM
Ataulfo - Thanks very much. :)


Here's the base coloring for the jug... I have a few things to fix, and plenty of details to add after it dries (there are carvings on the side) but this is it for the most part.

07 July 2008, 09:14 PM
I thought I'd try my hand at ZBrush, so last night I made myself familiar with some tools via youtube, and I made this head before bed. I'd show you more angles, but I didn't know what I was doing as far as saving goes, so the last legit tool save I have is about 45 minutes previous to this level of detail (no lips, no nostrils, no ears... eh). I guess I'll start from scratch on my new go around.

07 July 2008, 02:02 AM
Hey Static, I like your progress on the Bouguereau piece. That's going to be an incredible learning experience when all is finished. Looks great thus far :)

07 July 2008, 10:41 PM
Daniel - Thanks man! Yeah, I have to say I've already learned a lot about oil painting technique after this little bit. I'm really pumped to finish it.


Here's the most recent progress photo of the Bouguereau copy. I finally tried shooting it under some different light, too, so you're finally seeing the colors a little more accurately.
I basically fixed some issues with the jug and blocked in the sky and the stone.

I also went back to the previous ZBrush head model I had. I decided to make a female instead of a male this time. I also know how to save correctly now, so that's nice. Anyway, here are a couple views.

07 July 2008, 04:53 AM
I've been meaning to finish this one sort of enviro/concept art-looking thing in PS, but I didn't quite have time today. Or maybe I did, but I just to spend my 50 minutes of free time before watching the last episode of the John Adams mini series (good stuff) tonight.

So, here's a self portrait from life. It's the first time I've actually done that. It was a pretty interesting experience! I've never drawn from life with charcoal before.
I would have liked to push the details in the lighter areas of the image, but I had run out of time.

Vine charcoal, 50 min.

07 July 2008, 01:14 AM
So here's the environment I've been kind of stop-and-go-ing on for the last two days. I put together a little workflow thing, too, if anyone is interested.

I started out with a sketch over the armature.

After that it was putting down some values. I experimented with which value went where, but I generally stayed to a 3-value scheme.

After that I made a new layer and paint bucketed a violet hue over the whole thing and brought the opacity down. Then it was just going to smaller and smaller brushes, painting stuff.

To finish off, I added some textures and then painted over them to keep things from being too obvious. I didn't really go for too much detail, but focused more on value and fun for this one. Enjoy!

07 July 2008, 03:03 AM
Great job, Static. Really nice self-portrait too!

07 July 2008, 04:29 PM
Thanks Dan!

Here's an update on the Willie B. copy from yesterday. I think I got the wheat colors pretty close to the original, and it's really starting to come together.

Also, I've been trying to figure out how to utilize Cellar FCP ('s impressionistic brush technique for a while now, and nothing I was trying was working... so I just decided to copy the source! I copied his "Western" piece. I wasn't really trying too hard to make an exact copy (as you can see by the face if you look at his in his gallery) but rather just finding a workflow for that technique.

So here it is:

For anyone who's interested, this is what I did:
Draw lines with a light grey hard round.
Hard round for the background, alternating between 50% and 30% opacity, usually.
Block in the midtone colors of the woman with a hard round, opacity 100%.
Apply darks and lights with hard round brushes of various sizes, usually using opacities of 30% and 50%. I did use 10% for light glazes, and 70% for things like the lines on the fabric.
When everything was generally looking OK, I zoomed in and erased a section of the line layer, shaping up on the paint layer whatever edge the line was previously stating. Other times I'd just move the line layer to opacity 20% or something and just paint the details under the lines that way. The point is, you use your lines to know where to paint, and by the end of the image you've erased all of your lines and you've got a clean image.
It's a little hard to explain. Maybe I should have taken screen caps, haha. (I'd show you layers, but I did everything on two layers, and like I said, I erased the lines as I went along, so I can't show you the whole process).

07 July 2008, 10:30 PM
I did a small oil sketch just for the heck of it. I wanted to get that Rubens-esque dark underpainting kind of feel, but I don't really feel I succeeded. I generally dislike this portrait on most levels.

And here I did another self portrait in charcoal. I used a soft charcoal pencil instead of vine this time, which is why it looks more like a sketch than a monotone painting.

07 July 2008, 10:38 PM
It should be a crime to be able to use so many techniques, man!!! lol. Damn, you┤re good. :D

07 July 2008, 10:21 AM
I agree with Ariel!! :D
Btw, I really love the way the Rubens style oil came out, really impressive!
And the western girl is really interesting!!! :applause:

07 July 2008, 06:39 PM
aeriel - hahaha, oh, I don't know. :surprised: I just try to keep things interesting, you know... doing the same thing over and over is great for practice, but I try to keep art more than just work. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

alice - Thanks for dropping by! I appreciate the kind words. :) You have a great start to your thread!


So, I started working on a John Singer Sargent copy - but in PS. Just because I learned some good stuff from that unfinished Rubens copy from way back in the day... that, and I felt like this Sargent piece I'm copying would be a good candidate to try that Cellar FCP-style impressionistic brush technique again. So yeah, I've finished the lines, and I'm going to start painting later today. I'll be copying Sargent's Street in Venice. Once it's all done I'll post it with steps.

Also, I decided I should start doing that 60 second figures practice method. So here I've got a page of 10 60 second figures. You can tell which ones I did first by how sketchy they are. As I went along I discovered that being more confident with your lines and drawing SLOWER actually meant I was restating lines less often, and I completed figures faster. Interesting, that. But anyway, here's the 10 minute sheet:

07 July 2008, 06:54 PM
Nice work, you seem to have a great attitude for art, having a lot of fun with your pieces. Also, i really like your step-by-step value study enviro very cool. That impressionistic brush technique seems like it could be worth trying, your result was very appealing. I'm always looking for new workflows to get different 'looks' from digital art. Keep it up!

07 July 2008, 03:29 AM
Hello everyone. Today I was bogged down with a load of work, so I wasn't able to work on anything too serious. So today, I present a couple sketch pages...

Yesterday, 20 minutes at TJ Max. Pen on paper.

Tonight I just went crazy with 30-plus minutes of 60 second figures. I really feel like this is actually helping me, haha. Learned a couple things, anyway.
Oh, for those of you who are looking for a way to use model references but don't have a real model and would like more freedom of pose variation than you get with photos, consider Daz Studio ( The software is free, and you get a free male and female model, fully posable. I've had it for a couple years, and it comes in handy so often when I'm uncertain of how a certain foreshortened limb or what have you is supposed to appear.
So there's that. Here are the pages.

No better way to get a lot of work done very quickly!

07 July 2008, 07:03 AM
Really nice idea, static. Although the downside is that it is still 2d to you eye, which is like drawing from a photo. But still better then nothing. I'll give that a try for sure.

What impresses me is how easily you seem to get every stoke right, there are almost no "wrong" stokes or even double stokes.. On the other side your figures look just a bit stiff. Either because you used a 3D-Model as reference or it is because of your stroke. I don't know.

08 August 2008, 01:45 AM
Ted - Yeah, it's a bit of a bummer drawing from 3D models (and yes, the figure sheets are referenced from the Daz models). You don't quite get the vibrancy and vigor that a real person presents in any given pose. Not to mention the digital joints don't look quite right in the resolutions of the free models you get from Daz. Thanks for stopping by!


I'm almost done with the John Singer Sargent copy, but today was pretty busy... no progress. Maybe I'll try for tonight.
But anyway, here's my first 60 second head sheet... they're pretty difficult for me, the underside angles. I'm trying to figure out which curves and lines to use to state the angles and stuff... I mean, rendering from the underside is one thing cause you can paint in light and surfaces, but tonight I had trouble deciding which lines give the appropriate impressions most efficiently. I'm also feeling uncomfortable with the tablet, as always. I've never gotten used to the feel of it vs pen/pencil sliding across paper.

08 August 2008, 10:41 PM
Great work! you always look so busy! also i have to say that John Singer Sargent is awesome! I have some of his vids! Great guy!

08 August 2008, 12:31 AM
nerdyninja - ah yeah, I do try to stay pretty active in my painting and drawing progress. I had a teacher for like... a week or so when I was living in Ukraine, and she told me then (I was like 10) "Draw and paint everyday. OK? Everyday." Haha. I guess you could say I let her down, BUT - I did remember those words... so by that alone, she continues to teach me. :)


I finished the John Singer Sargent copy today. Here's the original A Street In Venice ( I'm really happy with it. I learned a lot about faux finish brushes and refined my impressionistic workflow. I had a good time!

As promised, here are the steps:

Step one was just putting down lines. I decided not to use grids or anything in order to give my spatial skills a workout. I think I got everything set up pretty well, considering.

Step two was just throwing down a color with the paint bucket and then blocking stuff in at high opacities. I did get carried away with details quite quickly as you can see, and I started working in lower opacity strokes in some places.

Step three is me getting really involved in taking the background dudes close to completion. haha. Same techniques as step two, though. Hard round at varying opacities on a normal layer, no pressure sensitivity.

Skipping forward through the basic painting steps, here is step 4.

Step five was the final step. What I did here was hide the line layer and clean up edges at 200% zoom or whatever. This way, if you did a good drawing (very important!) you can just get rid of the lines at the end and have very little correction work to do. I also used the Faux Finish brush set, which comes with Photoshop (or CS, anyway, which is what I use). I always thought they were pretty useless brushes because they're terrible for painting, but... with this image I learned the proper use for them. Make a new layer of screen, color burn, whatever, and set it to a low-middle opacity. Then grab a faux finish brush and start throwing down texture! As you can see, it makes things look pretty organic and interesting - and without ever using a photo texture, of which I used none of in this image.
I hope you enjoy looking at this as much as I did making it. :D

With that out of the way, I happened to get some more work done on the Bouguereau copy, too. :)

AND - ha! - I did a 60 second head sketch with pencil and paper. Most of the lines look better to me, but it did prove that no matter the medium, I'm still having trouble stating forms from an underneath view.

08 August 2008, 01:48 AM
I love it!

08 August 2008, 03:56 AM
Awesome painting, Static. The step-by-steps are great and you really captured a beautiful yet somber mood with the piece.

08 August 2008, 06:56 AM
Nice studies!

08 August 2008, 06:43 PM
I, too, love your studies. That master copy of A Street in Venice looks awesome. Until I read what you wrote and saw your link to the original, I thought your last image was the real one, put up for comparison. ;-)

08 August 2008, 07:17 PM
nerdyninja - Thanks! :)

dan - Glad you like it, man. I appreciate the kind words. :D

danka - thanks!

velenosangue - haha, you're too kind. :p I did link the original in the beginning of the message, but... upon trying to put the two up next to each other I found that I didn't like the way it looked, cause you couldn't see any of the finishing brushwork that small. :sad:


Nothing too big today. Just a sketch from life. Sort of. I don't have any models or classes or anything, and I'm not going to ask my family to remove their clothes and pose for me, so... I just took a photo of myself and drew from that. Just to flex my interpretation muscles, really, because I can't just copy someone else's lines if I'm drawing from a living reference.

Aside from that I did a 20 minute sketch. I started out drawing my brother while he was standing around in the room, but he moved after like 30 seconds, so I just spent the rest of the time drawing stuff to go with him.

Other than that, I'm working on a painting of a lady in a field. Or at least it started out as he being in a field. I think I might end up making her on a floor playing checkers with a kid or something. Who knows. I'm not even done with the lines yet, though, so it could be a while before I post it.

08 August 2008, 10:15 PM
I decided to finally get on the life drawing train for real. It's interesting because people are always moving when you're drawing candidly. Gotta be quite fast sometimes...

From home:

From the bookstore:

Also the bookstore:

I have a little more from the bookstore, but the page isn't full yet, so I'll draw a little more before uploading it.

08 August 2008, 03:00 PM
Lovely thread!
Nice to see so many different things in a single thread
Keep at it!

08 August 2008, 10:46 PM
I just wanted to say that I am really impressed with this thread and how much u have improved. In fact reading this thread have inspired me to start drawing again in hopes that my art will improve as much as yours.

08 August 2008, 11:27 PM
NR43 - Will do! :)

wind - Thanks very much! Definitely get going on that art and do your best to never stop. It's one of those things where every time you leave and come back, you think, "man, how good could I be if I'd never stopped in the first place?" It's a sad question! We should all do our best to never have to ask it to ourselves. :)


I have a few digital sketches for today. I did these last night.

Pretty fun. I just did the ink blot method, you know? Scribble stuff until you see a shape. In this case I saw the hill and then added a fence. The rest is history. About 30 minutes (see if you can spot the usage of the armature in this one):

For this next one I figured I'd save steps, cause I was trying daniel's method.

First, doodle until something jumps at you.

Then work in some values...

Then add glazes with overlay, multiply and other layer types...

Finally, paint on top of everything on a normal layer and add texture.

08 August 2008, 05:00 AM
Man have you tried aquarel yet?
Since you're able to depict a lot with only a few strokes, I think you'd be able to create some nice stuff with it...
just an idea :)

thanks for sharing your progress
I really should do it too the way Daniel says...

08 August 2008, 10:08 AM
you deserve each improvement you reached...and you reached a lot, it's so clear looking at your respect and gratz!! Keep up the great work! :applause:

08 August 2008, 04:12 PM
Very impressive stuff, this is very inspiring stuff. Recently I had started painting again (conventional) and now your stuff is boosting my escape velocity. I am not having formal educ. in art, still I think I am able to understand the soul of it :D

Keep up the good work! and Thanks!

08 August 2008, 08:30 PM
Very nice updates, love the life drawings. Yes people move a ton, but you capture their essence with such strong strokes, very nice pen work. And its nice to see people trying out new techniques, i find Dan's technique very intriguing. Keep it up!

08 August 2008, 04:44 AM
nr43 - Aquarelle? Hm, I had to look that up. Haha. It says it means thin water colors... so I guess I have a little bit. I just found an unused watercolor sketchbook though, so hopefully I'll be doing some WC sketches in the near future! :)

aliveflay - thank you very much! :D

garphik - thanks for the kind words, and definitely get down on that canvas! I'd like to see some of your work in a thread here. ;)

rabid1 - Thanks very much for the kind remarks on my pen drawings. I think I'm improving a little bit... Come back again soon. :)


I'm really starting to get into the mood for working on the bouguereau copy some more soon, but today I was out for a long time, so I just have a couple more life sketch pages for you all.

This is half from the bookstore, half from yesterday... I think my favorite part of the page is the books, haha.

This is from today and my Uncle's bbq joint. If you'll notice, the top half is just sketchy rubbish. Me trying to fit details into gesture sketches. I wasn't able to control myself until the bottom half, which I think is much stronger.

08 August 2008, 08:12 AM
I see you've been working a lot. Nice life sketches, long time I haven't done any myself. Good thing you're not doing them with a pencil. The thing of not being able to erase changes things upside down. Helps the linework a lot though. Have you seen Min's (aka Bumskee) website? There are quite a few of those which are worth taking a look at and maybe studying a few is a good idea also. HERE (, just in case. I'm really impressed the way he shows a lot with just a few lines.
Looking forward to seeing your Bouguereau (I was learning to spell the name, haha) study continued. Some more speedpaints would be nice to see also as you're doing such a lovely job on those.


08 August 2008, 04:47 AM
Razz - Thanks for dropping by, man! Thanks for the link to Min's website. I've followed some threads, but I'd never been there before. Speaking of Min's threads, when are we going to get some updates, hey? Haven't seen anything for a long time.


I did some more work on the Bouguereau copy today. I finished the background people and painted the cap thing, as well as some hair. Dude... the hair is so hard. I hope I get through it alright. I'll take another photo soon and update you all.

But for now, some more life sketching, hahaha... I think I'm getting addicted.

08 August 2008, 12:41 AM
I've got another update of the Bouguereau copy today. Ehhh... the cloth hat thing and background people turned out all right, but that face got totally mangled once I started putting paint down. I have to reconstruct the nose/cheek/mouth/eye socket when I go back in next time. Not to mention all of the values/colors are off. Bad white balance in the photo is one reason, but in person the colors are off, too.

The worst part is that the little progress you see here compared to last photo took me about 6 or 7 total hours of work. I have no idea what I'm doing. At all. @___@

But on with the show anyway!! Haha.

08 August 2008, 09:02 AM
Hey, I think it's totally ok that you need to spend so much time painting this. It takes some getting used to and then it'll go faster. For example, my study after Frazetta. I've read that he did his paintings overnight, taking around 5-7 hours and I've been painting it twice that time if not more and I'm no way near finish. I think it's just that we're at this stage of learning, making mistakes in our process which take time to correct. I'm sure next time I'll be a lot faster. Bouguereaus style is extremely realistic, I'm sure it takes many, many hours to do a study like this. A wise idea would've been to do just a fragment of a painting to get more familiar with how to achieve his style and then si to something more serious like this study you're doing.
I think you're doing great. Now get rid of that white canvas, paint it over! I always joke that painting starts once I put paint on every part of the canvas, leaving no white, ha.

Keep going, mate!

08 August 2008, 03:35 AM
Razz - Thanks mate. :) You're absolutely right about what stage we're in... lots of mistakes, learning as we go. Like Daniel said last week, if you saw it, developing a routine when painting takes away some of the drag of improvisation and makes things move faster.
I actually did do a small oil sketch of the hands if you remember seeing that earlier in the thread. It didn't turn out very well, but not including that I had done a handful of other smaller oil paintings as well. It was just time to try something big for the first time. I'll get back to it soon!
You're working on a Frazetta painting? Since when? I don't ever remember seeing it in your thread...


I started sketching in my watercolor book. I was going to lay down washes over these sketches, but I touched water to the line and ink started spreading everywhere... so here's me playing with a pen + a brush + a cup of water. :p Next time I'll sketch in pencil so I can lay down colors.

08 August 2008, 04:35 AM
12 minutes:

08 August 2008, 10:06 PM
For the DSF 'Rocketman'. PS, about 50 minutes.

08 August 2008, 05:30 AM
Another DSF. Theme "King", limit 20 minutes. I wish I'd composed it so you could see his whole crown. Then I could have had the people spreading out above and beyond him instead of just the sides of what is ASSUMED to be a crown. haha, oh well. Lesson learned.

08 August 2008, 09:13 PM
DSF, "The Shade", one hour:

Still trying to decipher some of Mullins' technique after all these years, haha.

08 August 2008, 10:00 PM
hey staticpen, I really like your thread there so much going on. Your sketches are lovely. I like the one best where you added watercolors afterwards even with the bleading of the pen.

Your last DSF Entry is nice as well. I see you using stuff you've learned in one of your mastercopys. I'm maybe wrong but thats what I see in that image.

It's really nice to see you takeing big steps forward. It allways reminds my that effort pays off.

08 August 2008, 06:57 AM
TedNindo - Many thanks. :) Yeah, I used some faux finish brushes there in that last DSF entry, which I discovered as useful during the Sargent copy.
I hope I'm taking steps. I can see some improvement, but I still feel I have so much more to learn. Every painting is a bunch of mistakes to learn from, heheheh.


I've really been trying to pick out the logic and technique of Craig Mullins lately. Not just his amazing topical brush skills, but his mastery of value, gesture and composition. For instance...

Image 1) Click here ( . The values and colors are basically perfect. From this distance it looks like a master painting full of detail.

Image 2) This ( is the actual size of the image. See how everything is suggested and actually not rendered much at all? It's a testament to how much value matters compared to detail when talking about the overall quality of an image.

So that's what I've been trying to understand lately. I browsed about 500 of his images over the last two nights, and just now I've finished my first copy. To see the original, look here (
Because I'm doing this to try and decipher some of his technique, I'll post what I unravel as it comes to me.

Left image: In many of Mullins' paintings he has an incredible amount of texture going on underneath the various layers of paint. One common method a friend and I have noticed (in some of his paintings that are a little less polished it's easy to spot) is that he uses a branch/tree brush and scatters it around the background.
Right image: This is just me rolling down some lines, because I find it much easier to work within boundaries than to block down shapes and then erase to find form. After that I just started throwing down paint with a hard round at various opacities.

After that, I learned that you don't need too many special brushes to create good texture. A handy and quick trick is just to go into your brush options, tick the texture box and choose a texture and style (multiply, darken, etc). When you're done, just uncheck the box and go back to whatever you were doing. Don't go looking for specific texture brushes - bring the texture to the brush you're already using!

So here it is. PS, about 45 minutes.

08 August 2008, 02:35 AM
(for those of you getting directed to this page from your subscription, you might have missed my last update at the end of the previous page. it was an entry with a Craig Mullins copy and a couple process images on one of his texture techniques, but if you've seen it, then no worries. :D)

Again, just working on my values... I'm seeing more and more that being bold is what gets the job done. Too often I'm afraid the contrast will be too great and I end up putting gradients everywhere.
Something else I noticed while studying Mullins last night was that the further into the background something is the less saturation/contrast there is. So I tried applying that logically here by losing the front bill of the hat into the background, as well as certain areas of her face. A handy method for doing that is not to worry about blending colors all the time, but simply lay down your color on a new layer and then use the sponge brush on desaturate with a flow of 10% or so. Then you can gradually take away the saturation. When you're set, merge down and you're good to go. As for contrast, I made an adjustment layer and brought the contrast way down. Then I just applied it with low flow in the areas I wanted to drop contrast in. I didn't know what adjustment layers were for a long time, and they're SUPER helpful, so if any of you don't know what they are/how to use them, just say so and I'll throw up a quick tutorial.


08 August 2008, 10:15 AM
Your latest work is very impressive!
Damn I need to work harder :banghead:

08 August 2008, 01:45 AM
NR43 - haha, thanks man. definitely keep at it! your latest post was very impressive in its own right. :)


These are exciting times. I made a big breakthrough in value theory tonight. I wanted to see if there was a science behind Craig Mullins' ability to select near perfect values every time, so I opened several of his paintings in photoshop. I found something very interesting.

You know the color selection window? There are a ton of numbers on the side. I don't know what most of them mean, but I started sliding the eyedrop tool around highs/mids/lows in the paintings to see if there were any constants regardless of hue. Things I could write down and apply systematically in the future. There were. I've drawn it out below:

The S number here stands for Saturation as far as I know. Sliding the color picker left to right moves the number from 0-100.
The B number here stands for Brightness. Sliding the color picker bottom to top moves the number from 0-100.

After examining several of Mullins' paintings in photoshop I discovered that in basically every painting there were three main values, and each value was in a specific range of Brightness. Saturation constants were more elusive, but more on that later.
What I found was that the majority of Mullins' highlights, regardless of color, were between 80 and 100 in Brightness.
The majority of Mullins' midtones were between 30 and 50 in Brightness.
The majority of Mullins' lows were between 10 and 25 in Brightness.

This is not to say that Mullins never uses values with 60-70 Brightness, but the numbers speak for themselves here. After checking all parts of several paintings, the vast majority of them reflected the above scale.

As I mentioned earlier, Saturation patterns were harder to detect. They really depended on subjective things like what color palette he was using and, well, what color he wanted. Some of the paintings had narrow palettes with S numbers from 10-50, while other more vibrant pieces ranged the full 0-100.
Very generally, as mentioned before, the S number depended on one or more of many things. Here are the uses I saw most often:
The further into the background something was, the lower the Saturation.
The darker the value, the higher the Saturation (usually 50-100).
The higher the value, the lower the Saturation (usually 0-50).

With these things in mind I sketched out something quick with the intent of making it pop with value, not contour, detail or color. I did not use a grayscale adjustment layer here either, so no easy value checks were allowed in order to really put the theory to the test...
My method was to choose a value based on Brightness and paint a midtone. Then I painted other midtones in the sketch with different colors, but pretty much the same Brightness number. All that was left was to repeat this with highs and lows and make little adjustments where needed.
Here is what came out, and I have to say, simple and rough as it is, I really think I've discovered something very interesting.

08 August 2008, 07:36 AM
Well you actually discovered the key to successful illustration :)

Similar things as your findings are written in most books I have and in every video tutorial I find. The hard part is to try and distinguish Value, Saturation and Hue from each other as we pick colors. This is why a lot of great artists have advised me to make a grayscale version first. It breaks down the choices to picking only Value at first. When adding color (on a separate layer in color mode) one can then choose hues in combination with different saturation, without changing the value.
I think practice is the key be able to pick all 3 features at once successfully... in time it will be possible if we work hard.

A suggestion: It would be interesting to see the effect of changing saturation for the same hue/value in highlighted areas and shadowed areas.

Keep posting your findings... I'm learning as I read and it's nice to be able to refresh my memory about things I already knew.

08 August 2008, 07:44 PM
NR43 - Yes, I know about the three value scheme and all of that. It's in almost every book/tutorial, as you said. What I was pointing to here was the number theory, which is photoshop specific. Instead of having to guess where to stick your color picker in the box for your three values, just type in a number. And in this case, I found a group of numbers that are proven to consistently give you solid value compositions. :)


A quick wash of watercolor over some life drawings. I know how to apply wc slowly and carefully, but this time I was experimenting with quick washes that were really wet. Usually I use almost no water at all. But yeah, you can see in some of these poses how much I overdid the water, heheheh. I think I found the right balance of paint/water in some of the simple leg drawings on the left. An even wash with a slight darkening at the edges where the paint settled.

08 August 2008, 02:32 AM
For the DSF "Lazy Morning".

About 40 minutes, PS.

08 August 2008, 08:04 AM
Hey Statcpen,

really interessting read. After your first post about studing mullins, I went to his page and travelled through some of his pictures myself. Which was very interessting. I am amazed how rough he works on most of his pics. What I tried to find out is how he lays down textures and where. And I have to say that this is very difficult to say it seems as if its different every time. Your studys about hue/saturation/value is very interessting as well. I never thought about breaking those into nummbers. I recently orderd a video from gnomon about that exact topic. It's called "practical light and color" it is very interessting to whatch and about exact the topic you are thinking about. I can highly recommend it.

On your last picture I have a critic. I really like it but I think the guy on the picture shoudn't be there. There's nothing interessting about him, he doesn't even throw a shadow onto the girl if I am right. Just my thoughts about it, because I really like the rest of the image very much.

08 August 2008, 09:36 AM
I wouldn't want to rely too much on the numbers though, because if you ever get to use other software (eg Painter), you could be screwed. I'd say train the eye instead so you got a source you can always rely on

After all, art is more about perception than calculation (imho)

Just my 2cents

08 August 2008, 11:58 PM
TedNindo - Hey man, thanks very much. :) Yeah, Mullins is legit. His brushwork is very impressionistic most of the time, very rough and lively. I've done some research over the time I've known of him as an artist, and it's well documented that he only uses the brushes that are already available when you buy PS. Another instance of 'not the tool, but the application'. But yeah, every once in a hundred images or so you'll spot a lazy image and find an insight into his technique. As you mentioned texture, I know he uses the single blade of grass brush on 100% angle jitter to go underneath his opaque paint layers. He also tends to take a photo of whatever and stretch it until it's unrecognizable and use it as texture, which actually seems to blend in more than rock texture if you ask me. And then of course, apparently his favorite, ticking the texture box on a wedge brush set to 'Direction'.
I just noticed that you didn't actually ask a question, but I've already written all that. hahaha. @__@ Sorry. But thanks for the heads up on the video and the critique. The man actually is casting a shadow on the bed, but if it's not obvious, then I obviously didn't execute my idea as well as is possible. ;) Sorry to ramble!

NR43 - For sure, drawing and painting are so much about replicating what you see, not what you know. :) To try and be clear, I'm using these numbers to give my eyes constant examples of what I should be looking for as far as value and color, so that each time I step away from PS I'll have more experience knowing what those 'right' colors and values look like, and I'll be better able to pick them out on my own. It's kind of like drawing figures from reference to improve instead of going through trial and error with your imagination. If you constantly expose yourself to the correct choices, you'll be more capable of making those choices when you're working from your head.
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this with me. :)


I noticed another helpful thing when studying a Mullins sketch. For every point you saturate your color, you get darker in value at the same time. You can see this demonstrated on the Mullins sketch below:

There are two clear values indicated by arrows on the figure here, but they have the same Brightness number. If you look at the color picker box compared to when it's converted to grayscale, you can see that for every point in the direction of saturation, your value drops 1/2 a point. Not too major of a find, but just something to keep in mind when deciding on the saturation of the colors in your paintings. Plus, I'd never looked at a black and white color box before. :p

As far as images go, I've been fooling around on the DSF forum a little bit lately. Here's some of that...

'Look Up', about 30 minutes:

'Fire', 25 minutes:

And this one I actually posted under my Wure-Squad alias. For 'Fire' as well, 7 minutes:

08 August 2008, 06:09 AM
For sure, drawing and painting are so much about replicating what you see, not what you know. :) To try and be clear, I'm using these numbers to give my eyes constant examples of what I should be looking for as far as value and color, so that each time I step away from PS I'll have more experience knowing what those 'right' colors and values look like, and I'll be better able to pick them out on my own. It's kind of like drawing figures from reference to improve instead of going through trial and error with your imagination. If you constantly expose yourself to the correct choices, you'll be more capable of making those choices when you're working from your head.
Ok now you are making sense. (Perhaps I'm a bit slow lol)
Keep posting your findings on color please

What's with the WURE-squad thing??

08 August 2008, 09:25 AM
Hey Jason!

Lots of nice sketches, really nice to see you pushing forward and doing it fast! About my Frazetta study, well, it's sitting on the easel for three months now, untouched. I became digital. My excuse? It's easier to plug in my tablet than get all the paint, brushes, palette knives, palette out :) But as I don't use loads of tricks that are only possible in digital, all I learned should transfer to traditional, I hope, haha.
Good to see you're learning about color. Good luck with that. I'll just rely on the saturation slider, because I always go quite desaturated. Mhm, this I couldn't do in traditional medium...

09 September 2008, 07:54 PM
NR43 - Yeah dude. Sorry it took me so long to make it clear. :p The wure-squad is a group sketch thing I'm a part of. We run around different boards and forums under different names and just draw a bunch of stuff together. That's about it. Haha.

Razz - Thanks man. Yeah, I totally know what you mean about leaving oil paintings alone because they're so laborious. It's like... if you don't finish in one sitting, the chances of going back are really small, haha. It just takes so much time to get everything out, paint and then clean everything after you're done. Digital is so much more convenient. @__@


For "Beer", PS, about 45 minutes... Trying to get better at painting without drawing lines first. It's so tough for me.

09 September 2008, 03:18 PM
I've hit a road block of sorts in my art. Unless I'm copying from life or someone else's work, I can't seem to paint anything. I spend hours painting, erasing and repainting the same things. Trail and error. The following images have several very clear issues/problems with them, but I'm posting them anyway. Maybe someone who is in a slump will read this and be assured that they're not the only one who feels like nothing goes right when they paint, or that every time they start with an idea in their head, something else ends up on paper.

This one started out as a line drawing. Then I spent over an hour painting, erasing, repainting, erasing, etcetera ad nauseam. The shadow placement is just a guess.

This one started out as something totally different, but after 25 minutes it still looked like a crayon drawing by a 10 year old, so I erased everything and started over. After erasing, the repainting you see here took 25 minutes.
(note: if you've seen this on DSF, I'm not stealing art - I posted this with my wure-squad alias "zeropercent")

Again, there are several issues readily apparent to me in those images, so I'm not so much posting them for critiques. I'm just putting them up because they are in fact part of 'my road to mastery', which was the whole point of this thread when I started it. Gotta post the strikes AND gutters.

One thing I will say is that most of my time spent on those images was trial and error. Guessing where shadows went, guessing methods for making a certain texture... I'm contemplating just copying from life or masters/pros for a while. Getting more good habits and information into my head/hands. The more you know, the less you have to guess when sketching. Cause over the past couple days I've been painting my backyard from reference and I'm quite pleased with how it's progressing. I think it's just the making things up for quick sketches that has me beaten right now.

09 September 2008, 02:29 AM
So, I started my quest tonight. Learning from images instead of guessing by imagination... This is from a photo I took last summer. All I did was throw down shapes with a big round brush and then put in some color with a smaller hard round. Something I've found that looks pretty cool is to block in with a plain hard round darker than you should, and then paint the correct value over it with a textured brush so that some of the darker color comes through and adds some interest. You might also try this with complementary colors underneath the glaze layer. Oil painters do that sort of thing a lot. Oh, and I also learned the beauty of the airbrush, hahaha. It works wonders for lighting. I never really used it that much in my other paintings.

PS, a couple hours.

09 September 2008, 06:03 AM
Your thread is in my top fav list these days... I'm learning heaps from you!
Damn I haven't had the chance to turn on my pc for the last 3 days and I'm missing it!!

Something I've found that looks pretty cool is to block in with a plain hard round darker than you should, and then paint the correct value over it with a textured brush so that some of the darker color comes through and adds some interest. You might also try this with complementary colors underneath the glaze layer.

I must remember this

09 September 2008, 02:19 AM
Johan - Kindest thanks, man! That means a lot to me that you enjoy my stuff, and even more that you can learn something new in here. :D


I was going to upload this for the DSF challenge "Nurse" but I think I might have crossed the line with one of the rules... I'm uncertain, but better to play it safe than get in trouble or be accused of being an intentional cheater. I used a reference for the costume, which I know is OK, but the pose reference was a photo of a lady on a bench in front of a wall. I know references are allowed, but there is a rule that says "original composition". Even if I changed the person/clothes/dimensions of the frame, I don't think I would be allowed to use the composition of a photo I did not compose and shoot myself. Anyone have any experience/clarity on this matter?

PS, 40 minutes:

I also did some paintchat with some friends last night. For those of you who've never been in one, it's basically a chat room with a big white board everyone can draw on together. Good fun. Here are some sketches...

I'm still working on the backyard painting, and just yesterday I started a van gogh copy in acrylic. I hope both of those will be finished soon.

09 September 2008, 06:19 AM
From a photo of my good friend Nick at a UCLA game.

PS, 2 hours.

09 September 2008, 06:40 PM
Hey Staticpen,

Congratulations on getting Sketch of the Week.

09 September 2008, 09:55 PM
yes Static, Sketch of the week! Very nice.

09 September 2008, 07:07 AM
And a well deserved front page plug it was :D
Awesome stuff!
You are progressing with leaps and bounds... keep at that ;)

09 September 2008, 03:10 PM
Congrats on the sketch of the week. Well deserved.
Continue like this and you'll reach the sky, just like in the sketch.

09 September 2008, 08:59 PM
Michael - Thanks man, much appreciated. :)

TedNindo - Thanks! :D

Johan - Thank you sir, and will do.

Razz - Many thanks mate, and Godspeed to you as well.


The weather has been killing me lately. For the last several days there have been some rain clouds and thunderstorms around the area. Since my internet signal isn't actually coming from the house I live in, the connection has been extremely fickle. It took me a good 20 minutes just to get here from my homepage, and my subscription page won't load at all.

With that said, I got lucky and was able to upload a couple images just now. Here's a sketch after Edward Hopper. I neglected to go into details and tried to focus on color and value accuracy. I'd like you to the reference, but as I said, signal issues... so if you want to check out the original, it's "Room in New York" by Edward Hopper.

Also spent some time on a Van Gogh copy in acrylic. I really enjoyed having fun with the paintbrush in this one. Working on the Bouguereau is so laborious in comparison. I also loved how fast the paint dried. I'm more of an alla prima painter, I suppose. Maybe that explains why I only finish about 60-70% of paintings that I don't complete in the first sitting.

09 September 2008, 09:27 PM
Hey Static your VanGocgh copy looks really cool. I tink traditional paiting would help me unterstand colors in a completly different way but I still shy away from getting all the material an so on. What is your experience in that regard?

09 September 2008, 06:59 PM
lots of beautiful work and much improvement have been made while i was away. your thread is as much of an inspiration as ever, static.

09 September 2008, 05:44 PM
TedNindo - So sorry it's taken me this long to get back to you! I try to post an image in every entry, and learning Japanese has taken up all of my time this week, it seems. But here I am! So uh, painting traditionally. Yeah, it definitely helps me understand color better. It's been a lot of help to just grab the essential colors and do my own mixing in order to create the various compliments, analogous colors, and so forth. The main advantage is that when looking at colors in life, I don't think about where on a color picker that color is. Instead, I think of which colors make up that color. It's a handy way to think. I encourage you to try traditional color work. :)

lestikitty - Long time no see. ;) Many thanks. Any chance you'll be posting more soon?


So yeah, Japanese... taking up all my time. Haha. It's especially tough learning it on my own. But I've been doing it on and off for about 10 years now, so I figured I'd start really trying to buckle down and tackle the language this time. It's going pretty good.

Anyway, seeing Razz's oil sketch on paper reminded me how much more fun I have when I mess around with oil on paper instead of canvas. I really dislike canvas. Rigged canvas, anyway. Everyone has different preferences, and I think mine are for smooth canvases with a lot of gesso/sanding layers. I just don't have any gesso, haha. But yeah, so here's last nights oil sketches from life:

about 25 minutes apiece. oil paint and turpentine on watercolor/gauche paper.

09 September 2008, 07:15 PM
very soon. hopefully today!

its a really big update cuz i have to catch everything up. i want to keep record of things for looking back on.

and good luck with that japanese. i hear its a hard language to learn.

09 September 2008, 07:38 PM
So yeah, Japanese... taking up all my time. Haha. It's especially tough learning it on my own.

You too, huh? I've been having a lot of false starts for a couple years so far. I find that most of the time I have a choice between practicing Japanese or practicing art, and art usually wins.

A few sites that you may find useful:
Japanese language learning podcast. Much less boring and tedious than pimsleur. A little like a talk show. (
Digital Kana flash cards (
Digital Kanji flash cards (
Rikichan firefox plugin (instant kanji translation)-
The WWWJDIC (online kanji dictionary) - (
Slime forest (kanji RPG) -

Also, "My Japanese Coach" coming out soon for Nintendo DS. Not sure if it'll be any good.

Ever tried Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone?

09 September 2008, 09:16 PM
Thanks static for the insights.

Japanese hu? I guess thats rather timeconsuming. My brother is learning Japanese as well and as he told me it seems to be rather difficult. But I guess it is with language as with art or other things. Practice makes perfect. So keep on practicing :D

09 September 2008, 02:07 PM
lestikitty - Thanks. ;)

velanosangue - Ooh, thanks for the links, man. Those will be very helpful. My brother says pimsleur has been working for him, but I haven't tried it. I've heard him using it, but I haven't started doing it. I've been learning with a youtube series called uuuh... Yan and the Japanese People. Over the course of 23 lessons you follow an american dude moving to Japan, with no subtitles. You watch, then learn, then watch again. It's really cool. You should check it out.

TedNindo - Yeah dude, it's tough. Just when you get the basic word and sentence structure down, you have to learn a million new sub-structures and sub-word forms. Psssssh. haha.


So yeah, I'm taking Spanish, too. Compared to Japanese, it's like I already know the language. ;)

Anyway, here is an oil painting from last night. I don't think I used enough turpentine, as you can see... all of the colors mixed together and got very muddy. Once that happened, I just gave up and threw a bunch of paint on it to fill the page and then quit.
I really, really wish I could take a class or something. Trial and error is so tough!
So indeed... I'm pretty sure this is one of my least favorite paintings I've ever painted. But in the essence of recording progress, not just the good times... here it is.

Because I couldn't let myself post an entry only featuring that, I did some figure drawing last night. I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it to draw with a tablet at all. Not like, Is is worth it to paint digitally, but specifically drawing. It's so much tougher for me to be precise on the slippery plastic than if I were doing the same thing on paper. I think maybe I'll start doing all my figure drawing on paper...
These are from, and about 15 minutes apiece, give or take.

09 September 2008, 11:07 PM
I finally finished the painting of my grandmother's backyard! It was a big project, so I saved some steps for you guys.

First, I just went with the Mullins grass scatter technique to get some action going on the canvas.

Next, it's just using a hard round at high opacities to block in. Not too opaque, though, or all that grass scatter will end up totally covered. Once an accurate color is down, I go in and use a custom textured hard round to add lighting and details. It's just a regular hard round with the texture box ticked and set to "wax crayon on vellum" and "multiply". Varying opacities depending on the effect desired.

No real tricks to talk about here, really. Just more of the same... Old fashioned painting on a normal layer.

Here's the final piece. I used PSCS and it took me a handful of hours. Hope you enjoy!

09 September 2008, 08:01 AM
wow, that painting of your grandmothers backyard...gorgeous. those textures are what really do it for me. i couldnt possibly imagine attempting something like that with this old version of photoshop that i have.

now the oil painting XD i think is cute haha. i bet youll come back to that sometime in the future and laugh.

09 September 2008, 10:14 AM
hey Static,

really beatufull painting. It is no extraordinary subject, no goblin killing a mighty knight or whatever. You were capable of painting an everyday scenery and express something enjoyable.

Good colors good perspectiv. What have been your thoughts about the composition?

09 September 2008, 12:23 AM
lestikitty - Thanks a lot. ;D What version of photoshop do you have? Cause the texture technique described isn't a very new feature, if my photoshop memory serves me right...

TedNindo - Thanks man. My thoughts about the composition? There weren't many, really. I took a panoramic photo of the backyard and then just painted it. I didn't do much else besides go with old photographic instincts when framing the picture. The only compositional element I did change was a bush. There was a big bush/tree thing that took up a huge amount of the left side of the foreground. I excluded that and painted the towel and jeans instead. But thanks again!


I think one of the reasons I'm so slow in PS is that every other image I'm trying a totally new technique or aesthetic. I think it might be a good idea to select a style and work on it for a bit instead of jumping to a new one right away.
So yeah, what I'm doing here other than the obvious value practice is trying to construct a workflow that I can use consistently for solid groundwork. The more I experiment with it and see other people use it, the more I think the gradient tool is a big part of working efficiently. So I've used that to some extent here in this first of four thumbs.

Drawing is referenced, everything else is from the head.
I think a negative here is obviously that I'm new to the gradient tool. I think I kind of used it for the sake of using it as far as the garage is concerned... It has nothing to do with the light source at all, and the wall would have a cast shadow if anything, not a gradient. Everything is also kind of this middle-grey value, too...
I think a positive is the hardwood that frames the image. I think I got those values and shadows down pretty good there.

09 September 2008, 03:39 AM
photoshop 5.0 limited edition :P

god how i wish i had cs. i would even be happy with 8.0

i wish i had a deeper understanding of art so that i could really discuss your picture. at my current level of understanding all i can say is that i like it but cant really say why. i think it may be the lines but i cant be sure. i can say tho that its hard for me to tell that you used a gradient tool in it. it looks more like you used a really soft brush. i dont think thats bad tho cuz for a picture like this if you could actually look at it and tell that you used a gradient tool, it would look cheap. how did you use it?

09 September 2008, 03:46 AM
lestikitty - Hey, thanks. :wavey: How did I use the gradient tool? Well, I put down flat colors with a hard brush first. Then I used the magic wand tool to make a selection out of the garage. After that it's just picking your colors and clicking and dragging to make it happen. For the grass I made a new layer and dragged a gradient over the whole image, after which I erased what I didn't need and merged down. Thinking back I probably should have used a layer mask... :shrug:
PS 5 LE, huh? That came with my first tablet. Do you know anything about how to adjust your brush properties or anything?


Thumb 2 of 4 from around the house.

I felt I did better with the gradient tool this time. This one has a lot more detail, but it actually went faster than the last one. I suppose that's cause I was guessing what to do less. So Go Workflow, no? It's already paying off to try and refine a single method instead of moving on right away...

A negative is that I can't grab highlights as light as I would like. I'm putting the pencil drawing on a multiply layer and painting underneath it. I try putting down white, but it shows up the value you see in the far window. How do you guys digitally color under a traditional pencil sketch and still have a full value range?

09 September 2008, 06:01 AM
Thumb 3 of 4.

I figured out how to get the paper texture off of my layer this time, which was nice. Also adjusted the levels to make the white of the paper legitimately white, which gave me a full value range. So that's nice to know. I also thought the gradient on the tree turned out nice.

Negatives are the background elements in the distance. I wasn't quite sure how to (not) render them. I ended up just leaving the desaturated gradient there and figured I'd learn more about it next time. Trying to keep these quick.

Which actually brings me to another positive. I think this one took even less time than the previous one, again. Go Workflow? Why yes, indeed. :D :D

Again, ref'd sketch, light and colors from the head. Except for the figure. I made him up to have a focal point... something that first thumb really lacked, haha.

Thumb 4 of 4.

Hmmm... weak values. :banghead:

09 September 2008, 08:34 AM
grandmother's backyard: That turns out really well. Great sunny mood. And interresting way of doing underpainting.

09 September 2008, 05:36 PM
Hey! Neat stuff, mate! It's good you're trying to develop one style to speed your process. To me style is just the brushes I would use or the different ways of using them. I think what is important is a logical way to approach a painting and it all depends on the complexity of the painting.
For example, If i were to paint a landscape and a portrait, I'm pretty sure I would not approach those two paintings the same way.
So what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't have to be like "I MUST do the linework first, then follows the block-in and the third step is to.." You get the idea.
I could go and talk about this much more but I feel there's no need for that.
Also, it's all just my opinion and I'm not sure that I got everything real clear, haha.


09 September 2008, 10:44 PM
siiilon - Thanks. :)

razz - Yeah dude, I totally get what you're saying. Haha. No worries. But for sure, it's been interesting. I'm not actually a big fan of the look of these thumbs so far. I didn't think about finding a style I enjoyed and then learning a workflow for THAT style, haha. I just started going and taking notes on whatever style came out first. So I'm gonna have to make some more adjustments in the future, heheh. Thanks for stopping by, man. I always dig what you're working on.


I tried going even smaller and simpler this time. Gotta figure out how to make things not look so much like cutouts...

Value practice thumbs from imagination.

09 September 2008, 01:14 PM
Ahh, thumbnails, neat things. Take a look at Min's ( thumbs for a great example on those. It really is a great way to learn about different stuff. It might just the thing for me. Good thing you reminded me of those, hehe.
Do you use selections to paint stuff? Those create a very sharp edge, which might make it look like a cutout. Like in your thumbs here, very sharp edges which look even sharped with the gradient of the sky. To deal with edges, compare them to one another. Choose the sharpest edge a softest edge and just don't go any sharper/softer than those in a painting. There's quite a lot of theory about edges. Try getting your hands on the book that I posted a photo of in my thread (the one by Richard Schmid), I'm sure you won't regret it. It is more about painting from life but the knowledge can be applied to imaginational painting also.
Ok, now I felt like some kind of advertiser.
Always exciting to see your new stuff. Godspeed.

09 September 2008, 06:57 PM
razz - hey man, thanks a ton for mentioning edges again. I was so focused on trying new tools that I stopped painting, you know what I mean? And thanks a million for the Min link. I've got that thread in my subscriptions, but it's so far down that I'd forgotten it was there. Never finished browsing all of the pages. Those enivros were intense! Haha.


So yeah dude, Min was doing envrios from references on, yeah? So I went there and did this during lunch. All painting this time. No selection tool, no gradient tool, no adjustment layers, no color picking. It felt so good. :D :D

09 September 2008, 03:48 AM
Dinner sketch...

Ref'd from pbase. Tell me, what techniques or tools do you guys use for making straight lines? The line tool in PSCS creates a new vector layer, and having to rasterize and merge down a layer every time I want to make a line is really tedious.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to find out how to not suck at clouds. Haha. :p

09 September 2008, 11:19 PM
Another (becoming daily? :O :O) lunch sketch. Ref'd from pbase. PS, about 35 minutes.

09 September 2008, 09:55 AM
Hey Static,

straight lines: while brush tool selected klick hold shift down and klick at the end of the line again and you will get a straight line. If you have pressure sens. on opacity the line will fade out.

09 September 2008, 11:17 AM
Yeah that's one way to do straight lines, but with this you can only do a vertical, horizontal or a 45 degree line. I prefer free-hand. A few tries and something decent comes out but then again, I've never done any serious mechanical/architectural linework, so it's easy for me to speak. But it's not a problem in Painter, with one button click you can set the brush to draw straight lines from one point to another without getting any new vector layers. Painter :buttrock:
For straight lines when not doing a linework, but painting, using a selection works good. Polygonal lasso tool in PS, if I remember correctly. But you knew that already.
New stuff looks good, especially the last one. You may try doing those without texture brushes (just like Min did). A tad bigger challenge and you may just learn more.
Good luck, mate!

09 September 2008, 02:19 PM
Yeah that's one way to do straight lines, but with this you can only do a vertical, horizontal or a 45 degree line.

Hm thats actually not true. Thats just the case if you just click and drag once. But if you click at one point. and then hold down shift and klick at any oter point you will get a straight line between those to points no matter what the angle is. Its really usefull. Especially because it keeps the style you have set for your brush. Just give it a try.

Another cool thing you could do but is better suitet vor perfect curves is drawing a path line with the pen tool seth to path.(p) . and then select you brushstyle and size. With the pen tool selected do a right click --> stroke path.

09 September 2008, 06:12 AM
I guess I was thinking more about Painter than PS when I said that because I work all the time in Painter. Well then, problem solved with that one.
Thanks for correcting me, Roman.

09 September 2008, 10:54 AM
well yes, for me it was exactly to other way around. I can remember that you can change between freeform and straight lines in painter but I don't use painter that often anymore.
Sorry razz for beeing a smartass ;)

10 October 2008, 05:26 PM
Roman - Thanks very much. :beer: I really appreciate your input. I just tried that click and hold, shift, click again technique and it's exaaactly what I was looking for. I knew PS had to have something like it, but the electronic manual within the software didn't mention it as far as I could find. :D

Razz - Thanks dude. ;) Yeah, I prefer to do freehand lines for a number of reasons, but sometimes when doing perspective grids and whatnot you've got to be specific, you know? As for texture brushes, I think I skipped them for the first couple sketches... I can't remember. But really, I haven't really felt a difference in my learning whether or not I use a textured brush in these little studies. I'm about to post some more sketches here in a second, though, and a couple were without textured brush use, sooo... it all depends on how I'm feeling, I suppose. :p


So, very sorry there has been such a long delay between posts here. The internet signal at the place where I live is officially gone. Right now I'm at a small fast food place, and I feel kind of sneaky, cause I didn't order anything. :O
But yeah... I'll be posting as often as I can, but it seems the updates will come slowly for a while to come...

Some value sketches over lunch the last week. All about 30-40 minutes:

10 October 2008, 07:19 PM
Oh yeah, I forgot to post this one:

10 October 2008, 09:09 PM
That naked womam is very nice, but I love the last one. Wonderfull.

10 October 2008, 12:04 AM
Siiilon - Thanks very much. :^^:


I'm sorry it's taken me so long to post again, and I feel even worse that I've got so little to post. :( I'm downloading something quite large (couple gigs) and I have to leave my laptop out here in the garage for the signal. And well, painting out here is really uncomfortable. I have been learning a little bit about pixelart and animation, though, so I made one of those.

It's me. :)

It's roughly a gameboy-sized sprite, so this is a 400% zoom:

10 October 2008, 05:56 PM
hehe, nice sprite! Pixelstuff is cool, I used to do it quite a lot while I was working at a mobilgames company. I would leave away the shadow or better dither it. So you can better see the walking animation.

10 October 2008, 01:02 AM
tednindo - hey, thanks very much man. :) Yeah, someone else mentioned the same thing about the lower area being too dark. You can't really see what's going on down there. Thanks for the tip! What kind of projects did you work on at the mobile company?


I've been reading school catalogues and stuff lately, and I'm pretty sure I want to go to an art school and end up trying to become a storyboard artist. I was on the fence for a long time between art school and film school. But I'm thinking art schools have film classes, too, sooo... see what I like with electives at an art school and then go from there. Also, storyboards are something that I've been doing for a while now for fun, cause it's a nice mix of drawing and film stuff. It's like my perfect career path!
So on that note, I thought I'd dig out all the old storyboard bits I could find in the sketchbook I have here. Nothing fancy or properly formatted here, just sketches meant to remind me of shot techniques.

11 November 2008, 11:05 PM
So, I lost my internet at the house again. I had it back for like a day, but it's gone again. I actually took a break from art for a few weeks there anyway. I felt overdrawn. Plus a few family members are having health issues/surgeries, so things are pretty busy here.

Anyway, here's a quick oil sketch from the other night. The photo made the reds really hot though... =/ That and my relatives came in and took the table to play cards, so technically it's unfinished, haha. :argh:

11 November 2008, 03:46 PM
Another oil sketch.

What do you guys do about alla prima oil sketching? Do you use any quick-drying mediums? Do you ever paint over alread-painted areas, or do you just try to lay down the value you need and bring areas to completion before moving on to a new area?

11 November 2008, 11:02 PM
So... two nights ago I started a still life oil painting. Again, I wasn't using oil. Just turp. This is what happened:

Then I got frustrated and decided to try a quick face, cause that's my comfort zone. Again, just turp. I think this is pretty boring but it was useful in the sense that...

... it made me try using oil in an oil painting again, which is what I did in the following picture. Now, I didn't save steps, but this is a two-layered still life. I did the complementary color underpainting technique. So, with just turp, I painted the pumpkin blue and the apples red. You can see those colors peeking through in some places. I let that dry overnight, and then with just linseed oil I painted the overlay colors. I didn't actually have a blue apple, but I thought it looked cool, so I made it blue-ish. :p But yeah, anyway, I'm really happy with how this turned out. The brushwork was a lot easier using oil when compared to just turpentine. I also really prefer this smoother paper surface to the bumpy surface of panel.
So yeah, here's the painting anyway. I was going to just move on to charcoal for a while, but I think I'll do a few more paintings instead...

11 November 2008, 05:37 AM
Oh man I've never painted traditionally yet... will get to that eventually but I'm afraid it will still take a few years... I figure it will be best for me to complete my drawing education at the academy first and then switch to painting class (that's another 5 years of fun yay)

How does the paint and turp affect the paper? Doesn't it start to curl up all over when it dries?

11 November 2008, 10:55 PM
Johan - Yeah, traditional paint is pretty scary. No undo button, haha. I got acclimated to watercolor pretty easily, but oil has been troublesome. It's very complex, if you really want to get into it. It does seem that most places teach drawing for a while before painting, though, so I suppose you're on the recommended track. And doing quite well, I'll say! I'm loving the drawings you're putting up these days. As for the paper, it depends. If it's thick stock, there's no trouble. If you're using thinner paper, though, it tends to curl when it gets enough moisture in it. I had some curling trouble when I did a watercolor on charcoal paper. However, I've been oil painting on watercolor paper recently and haven't had any issues. It's a lot cheaper than buying a bunch of panels, and I like the surface better anyway.


I decided to just try painting with the paint right out of the tube, which is the way a friend of mine likes to paint. It turned out very well, I might say. Smooth surface + medium-free paint is a winner with me. :)

As an example of such methods, here is a two-step still life I did.

Did a brown wash with turp to thin out the paint and make it dry quickly. Then I sketched everything in with turp and ultramarine blue.

A day or two later, I painted (mostly) with no oil. Just paint. It was actually FUN! :D

11 November 2008, 09:18 AM
Looks great!
I think you could push the highlights more (imho)

I found out yesterday in class that as from the 4th year we are supposed to choose a 2nd discipline to follow beside our drawing sessions. Unfortunately it's only 1 4h session per month but you can bet on it that I will pick painting!! :bounce:

11 November 2008, 11:41 PM
Johan - Thanks mate. :) Let us know when you start painting! Hope to see some of that from you soon.


I don't have any more turpenoid, so I can't clean my brushes of oil paint... so I did I watercolor last night. I stumbled upon a wipeout technique that I thought had an interesting effect, so I based my painting around its application.
Basically, I just laid down watery paint and then lifted off from certain places with a napkin. My values need work, but I think it turned out kind of moody and interesting.

11 November 2008, 05:13 AM
Tonight I was browsing art as usual and found out I had a love for Degas inside... like, wicked love. That dude rules. So, naturally, I decided to get out my pastels and see what I could do. I'd never used them before, so I thought I should try while I was inspired.
Anyway, they're water soluble, so they weren't very easy to blend and smear like regular oil pastels, from what I know. But I think it turned out pretty well anyway. I liked putting all the different colors down in places they normally don't belong.

11 November 2008, 09:06 AM
Nice range of media you're working in! I like the oils one the most. Must be because i like oils the most. It would be interesting to see a photo of that still life, so we could give more crits. It does look like a little more work on it would help. For example, painting the background. It would add a whole lot.
So, get some turp and give us more!

12 December 2008, 05:03 PM
razz - thanks dude. :) Indeed, I left the underpainting showing on that still life. I feel a background would complete it, but the purpose of it was really to learn some brush technique and experiment with paint. Adding a background would have required another sitting, because I finished quite late at night. And I didn't want to do another sitting, so I just left it.


I've been sick for a while, so sorry about the lack of updates. I'm well now, though, so I have some energy again. I did this charcoal last night. Hope you enjoy.

12 December 2008, 06:37 AM
Beautiful piece, Static. I really dig the lost and found edges. :)

12 December 2008, 08:34 AM

That's an amazing piece to be honest!
Really impressive!!

12 December 2008, 05:29 AM
Dan - Thanks very much, Daniel. ;) Glad you can dig it.

Johan - Many thanks mate! Hope you like this new one...


Here's a new charcoal from the other night. I like the way it turned out. The original Henry Yan drawing was doing in charcoal pencil, but I wanted to express myself a little bit and not do a direct copy. So I used mostly vine and compressed and decided not to leave any outlines, like a painting. Another reason I think it was good for me to use a little personal touch was that I don't have too much experience drawing from models. When I get into art school I'll have to tap into my own creativity a lot more. I won't be able to just copy Henry's lines, you know what I mean? So it was good to kind of get into that part of everything with this piece...

Vine and compressed charcoal, 55 minutes.

Also, I did this portrait of an old friend last night. It's based on a photo, but I moved his figure and changed a few other things. PS, about 45 minutes.

12 December 2008, 06:43 AM
I ran out of paper/canvas/turp this week, so I've been doing digital stuff.

30 min

after scott burdick, 1 1/2 hrs

about an hour

this one is a concept that I'm going to refine a little bit in the future and hopefully oil paint one day. a couple hours:

and this is a concept idea for another oil I'm doing for a friend. not sure how long this sketch took :p

12 December 2008, 07:45 PM
Painted over the mirror concept. The perspective is kind of wonky cause I didn't use guides, but here it is:

12 December 2008, 10:07 PM
I really LOVE your charcoal pieces, they have a touch of antiquity that amazes me.
The way you are capturing the shape is amazing, my congratulations! :)

12 December 2008, 01:03 PM
naughty boy! You have got me in big trouble, spending the last 2 hours looking at this thread when I should have been working!!!:p

Seriously I just dropped by to say what an inspiration your thread is, it is truely amazing what you have learnt, how you have persevered and progressed. I am in total awe and cannot wait to see your next pieces! My only regret with regards the thread, is that there are so many "sketches" I would have loved to have seen you take further, guess thats just me being greedy hehe :beer:

12 December 2008, 06:30 PM
alicelefay - Thanks so much!

recce - Aw, that is very much appreciated. Thanks very much. :D


I really wish I could stay and talk more, but I'm in a wicked rush, so let's just get to the uploading:

Oil, two sittings:

12 December 2008, 10:00 PM
those charcoals are fantastic >;)

12 December 2008, 12:37 AM
Siiilon - Many thanks :)


Seems I'm always in a hurry, so I can't go on and on about any techniques or discoveries this time.

Vine, compressed, and charcoal pencil. About 2 1/2 hours.

A hatching exercise in PS:

12 December 2008, 09:56 PM
OK. I don't have the time to talk about stuff this time, so I'll just put up the images...

Chris Sears is an awesome dude, and his sketchbook has some great stuff in it over on Not just to look at, but to read. I highly recommend checking that out... I'd link you, but I haven't got time.

Also, he's got an pen and ink hatching mentor thread. These are some exercises from that thread...

And here is a sketch referenced from a photo in pen...

This is a self portrait in PS from last night. 1 hour.

And a Degas copy from this morning, in PS. about 45 minutes.

And forgive me if I've posted this before, but it's from back in October. It wasn't uploaded on my file hosting site that I could see, so I'm just going to put it up just incase I missed it back then... It's referenced from a photo my mother took last year, thus the blown out background.

12 December 2008, 11:34 PM


I was so involved with all the other stuff I have been pushing this year (it will be 2008 for another 23 hours and 39 minutes where I live) that all the times thunderbird informed me that there's an update in "My Road to Mastery" I just let it slip by.

Now, that I spend a little time again here I notice that I checked your thread roughly some twelve months ago.

- dear forum etiquette gods close your eyes and let me capslock this one single time -
WHAT THE F&%žK?! is this?

Last time I checked you were already good. You were eager. Your stuff was interesting, nice to look at, your enthusiasm charming.

But now, your accumulated knowledge and skill which I had to take in in one go from page I don't know what til here crushed me like an avalanche of awesome and power!

I just can't believe it.

Your analytical curiosity alone.
I mean, most of the stuff you squeezed out of your Craig Mullins analysis I had already read a dozen of times, but I'll be damned if I said that I have actually grasped its meaning half as much as you did by figuring it out by yourself.

The diligence, the dedication, it's been like having to down a bottle of excellent wine all on my own by just browsing through it all: befuddling and enjoyable, but way too much.

Nothing can stop you. You have become one unstoppable force of nature and I just realized again how wonderful it is when things yield fruit. I mean, I had my own share of that this last year, albeit on totally different fields.
But I had to neglect drawing and painting for a long time in order to put as much energy into that stuff as was necessary and it's a good reminder where renewed dedication into art will take me.

Long story short: inspiring.
Replace everything above with: I am speechless.

good night, sir.

01 January 2009, 11:05 PM
Good heavens, Mu, I think I'm the speechless one. I really, really appreciate your kind words and encouragement. Being self taught, being in an environment where I'm the only one I know for a few hundred miles who's into drawing or painting or what have you, and the fact that I don't have the internet at home to browse places like this (which are so helpful for inspiration) really adds up to some lonesome vibes sometimes. To be able to come back here and read such an encouraging note really helps to remind me that, as you said, stuff bears fruit if you put work into it. And I'm very happy that you found some interest in the Mullins dissection or something of that nature. It's it my nature to get every detail about something understood as best as possible, and it's equally high on my priority list to share it with as many people that I can. So I'm glad somebody thinks it's at least sort of interesting when I start going on and on about some technical thing or whatever. It's easier to stay motivated when you're not the only one doing it, hey? I suppose that transcends art, really...
Again, from the bottom of my heart, thanks. And happy new year!


Trying to pump out as much drawing mileage as I can so I can improve... still have a long way to go before I'd be worth anything to an art department! Pros are so good... @__@!

A tree down the road. PS, about 45 minutes.

My grandmother's garage from last year, before the rebuilding. PS, about 40 minutes.

A sketch of some friends having a birthday party at a wedding... PS, 18 minutes.

I recently bought some oil pastels for myself. I'd never tried them before, and I've developed a strong appreciation for Degas recently, so I thought I'd see what they were like... Tough. Tough is what they're like, haha. If anyone knows of any good resources for learning how to use oil pastels, please let me know!
From life, oil pastels, not timed.

I also bought a new portable sketchbook the other day and started working from life inside it, but I want to fill the page a little more before uploading stuff. But now you know... life sketches in pen coming soon!

01 January 2009, 11:49 PM
hey staticpen,

I know what you mean by lonesome vibes and support through an exchange of thoughts like in this place.

It's the beauty of the 21st century, regardless of all the things that suck in our age. It partly rocks, you know...:D

happy new year.

01 January 2009, 10:31 PM
Mu - haha. Yeah, I know what you mean. Thanks for dropping by again. :O


So, I figured out what the deal was with the pastels... I bought cheap ones, haha. They're not particularly soft, so it's a bit like treating a watercolor in the sense that you have to know where your highlights are going to be beforehand. Apparently with better brands like Sennelier the consistency is more akin to lipstick than a crayon, so the white (or whatever highlight color you're using) basically melts off the stick onto the canvas. I guess that's what I get for buying before researching, heheh.

From life, in PS, not timed:

01 January 2009, 12:34 PM
Hey man every time you upload new images I'm in awe!
Looking forward to see more pastel stuff! (I would buy some too if they weren't so bloody expensive... and I will one day but not just yet, spending money on other things now ^^)

Love that tree btw and also that old lady you drew with your DS!

01 January 2009, 09:58 PM
Johan - hahaha. Thanks, man. You're too kind. :D But uh, an old lady I drew with a DS? I don't remember drawing an old lady for a long time, and I haven't ever drawn anything with a DS. There must be some miscommunication somewhere. :p


Here is a process image for a painting I've been working on. I did it from a reference photo that consisted of three individually stitched photographs, so the perspective was all broken. There are some very evident errors if you're looking at it right, but I'm not too bothered by it. I really just did it to get more experience in PS, as well as the usual reasons of improving with value and proportion and all of that.

And this is what it looks like after the dressing layers:

I go to bookstores fairly often, but I recently decided to take my tablet along with me for some environment painting in PS. I figure it'd be good for me in regards to developing more chemistry with PS, which is what so many professionals use these days. So it just made sense to start painting in it much more often than I usually do.

So, here's a bookstore in PS. 2 hours.

In case anyone wants to know how these 'dress' layers actually stack up, I made an image of the effects of each layer along with their position in the layer queue:

I also figured I needed some work on hands and controlling line in PS, so I decided to rummage through some photos and just draw all the hands with the tablet.

01 January 2009, 09:59 PM
I also did some pastel sketching during the playoff games this past weekend. I've realized that it's very difficult to control values with these things... Unless you have the perfect colors in your set, you basically have to add a very dark color/black and smudge stuff around to get something darker. I suppose I should learn to adjust to the medium instead of trying to make it adjust to my needs. Like pens, for instance. You have very limited value with them... maybe I should just treat these pastels like colorful pens, haha.

Aside from those, here are some life drawings I did in the last couple days.
Also, if anyone knows a tool or a good way to create a precise, curved line in photoshop, please let me know. In that stooping panorama, the perspective is a little distorted in the photograph. Like, curved. I just couldn't think of any good way to get precise, curved perspective in PS. So yes, if you have an idea other than "draw slowly", I'd be glad to hear from you. ;D

01 January 2009, 12:50 AM
Hi Staticpen,

If you need a curved line that's perfectly smooth and adjustable, you should look into using the pen tool and beizer curves.

For drawing freehand, I've found that it helps to zoom in a lot and have a second view showing the full image in another window, preferably on a second monitor so the first window can be as big as possible.

Using a large tablet would probably make it easier to be accurate as well.

01 January 2009, 10:34 PM
velenosangue - Thanks for the tip, man. I tried messing around with those pen tool variations though and only found ways to make shapes, not lines. i even found an old photoshop tool booklet, and that didn't help me much either. All I can do is make anchor points. When I let go of the click, a shape is made. Hmm...


Alright, let's see... Sorting out a week's worth of stuff is not my style, haha. I'd update daily if I had the internet.

I guess we'll start with the life drawing:

I also spent a couple days reverse-storyboarding a short I made with some friends a few years ago, just to see how many I could do in a few hours. I got through about 20-25 in a 2-3 hour sitting. I didn't really time myself, so that's just an estimate. Plus, drawing your own frames with a ruler over and over is really tedious, haha.

I also downloaded some chapters of Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki Samura, who I feel is really great for studying hands and feet with a lot of structure. He draws them with a lot of... hmm, character? Anyway, here's a page of that in PS:

And here's some figure practice in PS. It's pretty much from my head except for a few checkups in DAZ posing software.

01 January 2009, 01:06 AM
wow. i've been very entertained by your last page of updates...well done sir! Between your varied mediums i'd have to say the clean confident line work of your life drawings are my favorite.

As for the photoshop tip, Veleno started you out in the right direction. For creating precise curved lines in PS, use the pen tool/bezier handles to create a path. The path WILL be your line... you just have to figure out which brush to apply to it. Once you have created the path with the pen tool, switch to the brush tool, adjust the brush to desired width/hardness/opacity etc,. then you need to find your "path" window (usually grouped next to layer window).. make sure your path is selected, then hit the "stroke path with brush" button near the bottom of the window. There is a shortcut for this command which i can't think of at the moment, but this should do the trick for you.