eilidh: sketches, WIPs, and the abandoned


Oils are great but digital painting is “easier” since you can try different styles and colours :slight_smile:

About pencil, I don’t really know what I can tell you since you seem to master it too, but a very good way to do a smooth shading that gives a good “skin” feel is to use “crosshatching” but doing very tiny lines that are so close to each other than they are not separated. Smudging is not a good idea because it gives a “plastic” and flat look.
I would recommand you using a mechanical pencil for that (you won’t have to sharpen it everytime) and put a piece of paper under the hand to avoid accidental smudging. I also think that outlines are not necessary, they take away from the 3 dimensional aspect.
Well, I don’t know what to say… if you have a specific question please feel free to ask :slight_smile:


Thanks a lot Diane! I tried both suggestions, and they work rather nicely! The thin crosshatching approach gives a nicer, more tidy feel. Still soft-looking, but more crisp. I think I’ve got better control, too. And the paper on top is plainly life-… erh, well, drawing-saving. :slight_smile: I’ve been very prone to accidentally smudging drawings with my hand. So far it stays pretty clean.

I’ll probably get to scan the next stage tomorrow; I’ve been taking a break from it now to work on something else.


I was pretty irritated with a number of things in the pencil drawing and was determined to do a digital version.
I’ve set up the pose underneath the clothes so far, tried to figure out the katana’s grip (still puzzled about that one: feedback is appreciated), and work on the environment, too. Here’s a first experiment of the latter, but I’m not at all sure that I’ll stick to it.


AT first glance it seems like she’s holding the katana ‘sideways’,the direction of the cutting edge would logicall be parallel to the direction of thumb and index finger (if stretched out).

A friend of mine once sent me some photographs of a very beautiful katana set, I think they have oval hilts with leather that is twisted one half over every side to provide grip and absorption of the impact. I think a normal hand fits around quite losely.

edit oh he hmm… wonderful colours and vibrant appearance that seems to want to conquer the world. Is this a crop out or the entire painting?


I’ve tried to check what the grip would be like by holding… uhm, well, a stick! It’s too long and therefore awkward to hold, and consideraly thinner than what I assume a katana handle is. I might be able to make out of it eventually if I look into it more carefully. I had forgotten that they’ve got oval hilts; silly me. Time to google search!

It’s not a crop so far, no, that’s how it is right now. It looks a little awkward still, I think.
Your mentioning “to want to conquer the world” just gave me an idea, though:
to extend the composition far to the left (or far to the right after flipping it) to include a flat landscape; in which case the doorway would probably give way to a torii (shinto shrine gate), since it wouldn’t make sense being on a landscape on its own (and I’d like to have just the sky, not a building at the background). That would make a bit for a ‘world’ view. I rather like the idea, it seems very fitting. Thanks! :slight_smile:


You’re welcome :D.

Can’t wait to see the finished result. :slight_smile:


I’ve been trying to get the right setting for the samurai picture (with the slight fear that it might be too much work for a somewhat inane picture). I am thinking about something like this:

Doorway has been replaced by a shinto gate, landscape has extended.

Variation: perhaps something more dramatic with reddish-golden tones? The blue-sky landscape looks too happy. Then again, this one is probably too strong.

(still haven’t worked on the katana issue!)

Feedback is very welcome. :slight_smile:


wow this is looking good. The red-golden tones look good. :thumbs up:


Thanks, Kelandra. I’m not at all sure about this one yet, nor how it will evolve. Didn’t work on it today at all (I was preparing for my TKD promotions! x_x), but I think I’ll get back to it tomorrow.

Yesterday’s progress on Innocent X: that garment was a real pain to draw, and it’s still not very correct (especially at the bottom).


Photoshop, Painter, some 30-35’ for the one submisted at the DSG; another 30’ additional work for this one.

Mainly experimenting with various brushes and brush controls in Photoshop – and the Airbrush in Painter.

I’ve no idea what the ‘wild things’ shown here are. They vaguely remind me of some monsters (whose name I can’t remember right now) in Planescape: Torment :slight_smile: – but only just vaguely.


I like the colors and perspective on this one. It looks like the forest is on fire and the wild things got loose. Are you adding finishing details on this one? Good work.


Thanks. I don’t think I’ll work on this any more. There’s another image I have in mind, though, where I could apply some of the things I tried here. :slight_smile:


Wow, I especially love the last one, the colours and perspective are great! Very well done!


Thanks, Diane. I’m quite pleased with it too, as it happens. :smiley:


I love this piece! Is it possible for you to share the brushes you used for the leaves? :wink:


Definitely! :slight_smile:

For a start, a close-up, so that you can see what’s going on:

These were rendered in roughly three stages.

For the basic folliage I used one of the custom photoshop leaf-shaped brushes. I decreased its roundness at about 20-something%; Slightly angled. Size jitter is optional; minimum size diameter at 30-40% angle jitter around 10%. Scattering, both axes, ca. 250-300%. Other Dynamics: Opacity and Flow at Pen Pressure. All these values can vary of course.

I went on erasing and blurring some of the edges here and there to remove the stamped like effect; I next switched to Painter, where I used the Pepper Spray from the Airbrush menu, with the feature slightly increased (so as to have larger specks). I kept my pen tilted so as to have a larger spread. This was used relatively sparingly and I erased a lot of it once I came back to Photoshop.

(50% original size)

Photoshop again, blending in; not just black or dark colours now, but also colours I picked from the sky and environment, or intermediate tones. The brush is a standard hard round brush, roundness decreased at about 50%, slightly angled. I changed the angle several times while painting – this was the same with the leaf-shaped one. Size jitter about 30% (Control: Pen Pressure), Angle jitter 14% (Control: Off), Scatter: both axes, ca. 500%; Other Dynamics: Opacity and Flow at Pen Pressure. Again, I’d periodically adjust these, especially scattering.

Hope this is clear enough. :slight_smile:


You know, that last brush – I did something like that for my second digital piece -ever- way back in december 05 — for bushes – and I never did it again, as I deemed it cheating.

I have issues methinks - because damn – it looks AMAZING.

I think I’m coming to the conclusion that in some ways, the ends justify the means.

Another thread on CA.org is kind of helping me realize this as well. I wonder what that will mean for my paintings. I’ve been trying to do everything as ‘traditionally’ as possible in a digital medium, to make it feel more authentic – am I missing the boat?

I dunno, I guess I have this feeling that if I don’t slave over something for hours it isnt any good. BAH. I think I am wrong in the head.


And if you don’t do it like that, how will you do it? :slight_smile:

Traditional doesn’t exclude using various means – on the contrary. You get to use large bristly brushes, palette knives, sponges and cloth or wrinkled paper to make patterns, your own fingers – all sorts of things, in order to produced a desired effect. And the same happens in digital; only it’s easier, handier, and definitely more controllable.

I think it’s far from cheating: it’s plainly trying to do things in an efficient way. I don’t think it requires less skill to do something with specialized brushes like these than it would to paint them individually; I still had to think about composition, balance, flow, texture and feel. Customizing these brushes was part of the process, and it required attention as well.

I think I’ll have to refer you to your own signature as a conclusion, Renee. :slight_smile:


wow. thanks for the brushes and tips eilidh. it’s great help. :slight_smile:

runecaster: i agree with everything eilidh said. i think that i was proceeding with the same frame of mind as yours until i did my forest piece. normaly the leaves would have been done by dabing etc… but how do i do that in digital media and still have the same effect? the solution was to make custom brushes. i just couldn’t do it otherwise. maybe think of each medium as a whole new game with it’s own sets of rules. some techniques you can import and some you can’t. :wink:


Very well said, I think people have to be a little more open when painting digitally. If you were going to paind all those leafs individually, not only would it be a very daunting task, but the results might not even be as good than taking the ‘faster’ way.

Having said that, I’m looking forward to more progress, your artwork is great.