Sketchbook Thread of Sirielle


I really like the gate design - especially the figure on the left in the middle image!


As Dadela said,The gate design is cool. Will look great if it comes in a game like unreal, all normal mapped and grunge textured.


I don’t think Sirielle knows what normal mapping is :wink:

In short, it’s the bumpiness we get on objects in newer games.
Example: (see the neat light on the ball? It’s an extra texture on the model)

Oh and sorry for the lack of comments, i can’t get myself to do anything lately :frowning:


Tahnk you guys for the feedback!

No problem, thank you for example :slight_smile: I figured out that vikramvr thinks about 3D, but indeed I didn’t know what exactly mapping nor grunge texture are, I was going to google it. It will not be 3D, I want to paint it the usual way, but I’ll google Unreal Tournament art to compare. Need also take a look at Argonath from LotR movie again, as I decided to make my gate in a bit similar scale. I hope the plants fit to such scale.

Intervain, I hope you’re thinking of the better rendered figure? That would be on the right. That was just a sketchy base on the left.

A bit more work tonight - I had not much time, so I gave up painting all by hand and copied, flipped and painted over the sketch to get two very similar, but not necessarily identical sides:

[left]Still I am not sure what way the figure will look like finally. One supposed to be darker, the other handle light. Aaaaand I haven’t decided what will be visible behind the gate… I didn’t need anything for website as the content would be there, but now I need to think of it for an illustration.


The last image is nice. As soon as I looked at it, it reminded me of level art from Unreal

So I thought it might be cool, if it became a gate in that game…


I see. I thought you’re referring to something more like the Ancient Bath House by James McWilliams.
I was going to keep it as a gate to my Forgotten Isle, but we’ll see what way it’ll evolve, maybe into a gate to something darker. No post nuclear industry realm, though, rather alternative Avalon.

I’m still thinking what to pout in the back, this is gate in high mountains, the realm should be visible far away in the bottom or a misty mountains like the Chinese Yellow Mountains. The plants on the gate itself are inspired by this tree roots on a shot my father has taken in India, somewhere in Mumbai area (and that’s my mum there, several years ago).


Finally I used photo elements as background base (shots taken by my father in India). I don’t think it’s enough to call a piece matte painting. Nor if that has made painting faster, but at least I’m not irritated any more. Now I’ve got to repaint all the puzzles into oness:


Not much done and I like and hate this photo paint over element. ATM looks as the best rendered element of the picture and i’s not entirely mine, I hate it. Of course I need refine the rest, but I still hate it, so I’ll test more empty background. Also I wonder if the perspective is not off now?

[left]I need more hands and female body studies, definitely.


hahah omg my 3d way of thinking has taken over - yes I ment the right :wink: geez… I am too used to talking of the character’s right or left :eek::surprised

I think adding more value contrasts in the whole image might help it a bit :slight_smile:


Hi Sirielle

I think repainting the clouds in a less scattered way will improve the serenity a lot.
Take a good look at that vid your dad made… the clouds are actually a lot bigger than in your painting.

What I’ve also noticed is that there doesn’t seem to be a path leading towards and behind the gate anymore. I think you should go easy on the fog/clouds a bit. Save them for the last and add a more interesting light setup to the scene first. Paint in grayscale only until you are really happy with the piece. Then color it.
Only after that, add the fog n clouds on a separate layer, use a big soft brush (you can play with an airbrush type and make it spread a lot wider than a normal airbrush for example).

Always try to use 100% opacity for your brushes (except for fog and for the blenders in painter, where playing with brush opacity is actually handy) and lower the opacity of your layers afterwards instead. This will allow you to understand the effects of your strokes a lot better (remember, we paint forms) and personally I think painting this way makes controlling the values a 1000 times easier

Think about it, a good workflow makes so much difference but it is something we have to discover along the way. I think working straight in color without thoroughly knowing the forms you try to depict is suicide. Don’t compare your workflow with how pro illustrators work. They make nice tutorials but they forget to mention that it takes a long time to find a workflow that allows for quick painting on a professional level.
Speaking of that… where are the life sketches? :bounce: :twisted:

Oh just one thing I notice just now, why not try to break the symmetry a bit more?
Will add a lot to the “believability” of the piece I think.
Looking forward to your update


Magdalena, I will add more contrast with detailing, I keep it all mild just like I would it the whole image was painting hair. Highlights and sharpest details in the end. But maybe I’m overdosing since I used to have to strong shadows in the past, hard to fix, so I’m having not enough of them just in case.
I thought that maybe you think of it as her right side was viewer’s right side, too - I guess that’s the way of looking at things in 3D?

Johan, It’s probably not believable, someone would have to force those plants to tangle and grow on a rock high in mountains. Magic :wink:

I never paint in b&w, this is another experiment like that. I prefer to start in colour and eventually turn into b&w if that’s desired :wink: All is flat to me in b&w and I can never have desired colours while colouring the b&w image. Thus I plan to add base colours as soon as the basic shapes are painted (still need to repaint the figures and maybe change the background) and then refine everything in colour.
Coming back to the colours above - they are crappy, not my desired scheme (cold blue-green probably), just added to see how it works in colour. As I said I see it as less flat this way. I kept them on a colorize layer, only background is in colour since I used the photo. I have desaturated now the background too and will continue in b&w.
BTW, there’s always a trick to use a layer filled with black and set to colorize to check the image in b&w from time to time.

Recently I work on 1, max 3 layers most, here I’ve got the gate on a separate layer, and the fog plus temporary layer with experiments. I still save a lot of steps with layers to move back in any moment.

“Always try to use 100% opacity for your brushes (except for fog and for the blenders in painter, where playing with brush opacity is actually handy) and lower the opacity of your layers afterwards instead.”

It will not teach me to paint with exact desired colours right away, will it? I prefer to use many layers of lower opacity brush strokes. I guess they are different techniques. But I’ll test it one day.

Little progress, I have moved the background and slightly broke the symmetry. Anatomy is still off. Brightness and contrast changed for web, it’s still mild in original for I plan to add more contrast with highlights while detailing (fog invisible this time):

[left]"where are the life sketches? :bounce: :twisted: "

Ooops, I don’t have them, haven’t done any nor joined the classes. But did these from photos today to remind myself what way a hand looks like. Female figure is still waiting for a chance.




Something different :smiley:

This idea struck me today in one moment while watching TV (fairy tale for kids, not related) so I took pencils and drew it. Around 1,5 hour. Strange it always gets easier on paper than in PC, even without CTRL+Z. Or maybe because of it? But I have used eraser a few times for corrections here (I don’t use it during normal sketching). I didn’t know how to make lights, so I used eraser, which doesn’t have any sharp borders anymore. I guess there are special thin erasers for a detailed job? Anyway here are pencils, including the last frame in two stages plus a little fix in PC *shadows and contrast fixed in all versions).

I like the best the last frame in the first take, before I added lights. I wish I had scanned the left bottom frame before erasing, too.

Now time for inking… without ink - I’ll use felt pens, pens, whatever deep black I’ll find. We’ll see if I’ll spoil or fix it, I have no idea what resolution for shading I’ll use, yet.



you are making a capital mistake by thinking color is more important than value.
Your forms will appear flat in color if they appear flat in grayscale.
The big advantage (and it’s really big) you have when working in grayscale first is that you don’t have to think about color. If your painting looks crappy in grayscale, it will look just as crappy in color, no matter what color scheme you use.
Just my 2c

Painting with a brush at 100% opacity will teach you a lot about form and light and how to control that with your brushstrokes. Once you learn how to use it, you will get your grayscale work on canvas much quicker than when using low opacity brushes. Those are used to add detail and mood in the end. Anyway, everyone has their own suitable workflow I guess…

It is wise to paint on as few layers as possible. I encourage you to continue to do so.

Great to see some traditional drawings :slight_smile:


Johan, I know how important learning values is. I said I don’t like it and it looks flat to me without colour, not that it’s useless. Other way I would not try to work this way nor checked my images in b&w often while painting.

 Still I prefer to work in colour from the start, and that's not only personal preference but also result of the irritating way colouring in Painter works. (Photoshop hasn't been better in this matter to me, though some folks said it works better.) Only once I got desired colours this way, all other variants ended up miserable. Plus it gives way too monochromatic and artificial, sterile results to my taste, thus needs a lot of repainting afterwards. If so why bother? 
I can experiment and [u]I like to[/u] experiment in color from scratch. Learning values is one thing, putting visions on canvas another. When I get lost I find images I admire with similar or desired colour scheme and compare looking what is wrong. I ask others or turn into b&w, but the last one is last thing I want given the artificial results of colouring.
 With the gate I started in b&w because it is going to be a bit monochromatic.
 Another thing is pure black and white hard to avoid in b&w studies which together with pure grey should never appear in colour painting, unless one is choosing a specific stylization.
 Thus in the end in most cases I start in colour and only check in b&w values while painting. If I am off I'll learn on my mistakes :)
 If you have got a satisfying way of colouring b&w image in Painter I'll gladly learn of it :)
 I understand what you mean about 100% opacity brushes, but I can't imagine working this way when every brush stroke covers canvas completely (I understand 100% opacity this way - every brush stroke covers completely, no pressure sensitivity etc., only 0 or 1 ;) ).. Got to try it on sketches, but if I was painting on real canvas no matter what paint I would never use 100% opacity. (The only experience I have are watercolours and similar more covering paints). Anyway painting only with b&w dots.brush strokes is totally strange for me. So in the end I start with blocking colours/shapes with higher opacity and end up "glazing" (if that's the right name) with lower opacity, never use 100%.
 Talking about b&w here is the end of my today's experiment - it wasn't completely black and white after scanning, though I used only black felt-pens, but I forced exposure (nice feature in CS4) to make it totally b&w. I know there are mistakes (I messed up arms in the bottom image and aureole is not always in the right place, especially top-right, ooops!, nor has the perfect shape, etc.), but I'm really pleased with this piece. It was quick, entertaining, I've learned something new and I do have a real drawing in my hands (plus a print of WIP stage, my scanner finally behaves well).
 [left]Tips for painting such lights and shading midtones are welcomed for the future. I also plan to colour or remake it in PC one day, but this version is done. I could not fix it more anyway, I see no way to erase felt-pens ;)


The original scan for comparison, also before I drew more over her arms in the bottom frame (which ended up off anyway, the above b%w shows a mix of both variants):


[left]Edit #27464534 :wink:

Oh, and I used different methods of shading in the frames, it’s all experiment and tips are welcomed. I prefer best shading in bottom frames.



I like your pencil experiments! :slight_smile:

I don’t think using 100% opacity brushes means covering up everything completely every time. You can still enable pressure sensitivity to control opacity with your strokes. I think I only use 100% opacity with no pressure sensitivity when I am quickly blocking in values or base colors. I do use very low opacity when I am working in digital watercolor in Painter because I want the transparent look with underlying strokes showing through.

As for going from grayscale to color, have you tried using different layer modes (like colorize or overlay in Painter) to add color and still keep your values? Mal-1 has a guide on this process in his sketchbook and nothing about his colors look monochromatic or sterile to me. In fact, I think they are very expressive. Not saying one method is better than another if there is one that works very well for you, but keep experimenting! :slight_smile:


Heozart, that depends on a tablet I guess. And screen - I use LCD, a very good one but as every LCD doesn’t show subtle middle tones. I use the smallest Graphire 4 tablet, it has got half of the Intuos sensitivity which might be a clue, too. AFAIR Johan has got Intuos, perhaps you either. Intuos is more compatible with Photoshop and sensitive than my tablet is. For example I get thin lines in Photoshop even with large size brushes. Dry media and calligraphic brushes wiork better. And that works different in Painter - the bigger brush is the bigger mark it makes, logical. Most of brushes in Painter cover completely with 100% opacity, Photoshop does the same. Hmmm, I’m afraid also I do have a “heavy hand”.

Let me do a test:

[left]So, 100% opacity covers completely, I need lower opacity to have texture, to see strokes. That’s the point, isn’t it - to see brush strokes. 100% could work only if I wanted completely black and white or clear colour without midtones.

While colouring grey scale I use whatever I can - colour, colourize, multiply, overly, soft light etc. I also tried watercolour layer - I’m talking about Painter now - which supposed to be the best, but still I don’t like results.
Don’t want to argue about Mal-1’s method, but it looks too sterile for me, maybe it was meant to be like that, though. For example I admire Hennig’s paintings, yet they are too sterile for me. Sure I’m nitpicking and these are all personal preferences :slight_smile: I just feel colours blend differently when one is painting directly in colour vs colouring on layers. To break it the best method is to turn into colour in the middle of the process - when basic shapes are done. Like Algenpfleger and Janaschi did here. While here is example of colouring a polished greayscale which I like, but that’s a different painting style than I usually look for. If I remember well Melissa did it with Painter’s watercolour layer, at least one of variants she posted on Epilogue WIP forums.
So I prefer to start in dim/dark colours and work towards brighter and more saturated ones (rarely opposite). I’m trying to learn it. But I know I need to learn proper seeing of light and shadow, so I work in b&w from time to time. Here is example of my owngreyscalecolouring with which I’m satisfied. I added colour when it was almost ready, but there was still more painting later. Oil pastels are love :slight_smile:

BTW, Johan asked me to paint on less layers - that’s what I do. Not only because my PC is slowing down on huge canvas when I add too many layers and in Painter four layers is enough to sloooooow with huge images. I’m just trying to do things as simple as I would if that was on paper. That’s illusion, because I could not turn layers on paper, move changes back and use some other features, also I’ve never painted with acrylics nor oils. Anyway I’m trying to do things on one layer, sometimes two. More only when necessary - elements will be moved later, I test a few different ideas on layers, etc.

OK, some images. Because I should be doing something else - those WIPs I started light years ago (or cleaning my flat), I was doing something else :wink: Trying to find a way of the best shading in black ink, in Painter this time (anatomy is off).

First I did some sketches from Hogarth (pencil and pens):


Two of them I used later as a bottom sketch for inking in Painter (and treated it loosely):

I’m satisfied best with shading here (original size):

Finally here is today’s sketch. I had an idea for it, we’ll see if I ink it after finishing the anatomy layer (the final image would have much more clothes than original, I’m just doing anatomy sketches by the way). The face is off. Referenced from Michelangelo, from red to black and still not enough ;)[/left]


This supposed to be warm up before finishing the forgotten colour WIP (which I treated as reference), but I ended up drawing this half a day and night, I’m dead tired I may touch it later again, the throne is unfinished and the balance of details/shading uneven.

[left]Painter 9.5. Ink layer, but also a regular eraser (the the ink eraser works strange, do I prefer to drop ink layer into normal one to use eraser). If not that it would be ready ages ago and who knows if more or less flawed :wink:


Haven’t finished Hel, but I’ve been talking about clothes with people who are in a Viking team and I know she doesn’t have historically accurate clothes on the colour image, I’m not sure of the head decoration, too. And Baldr’s shoes… Oh nooes, LOL.
Now I’m preparing a historically accurate simple linen gown for myself :smiley:

Anyway I haven’t been drawing last days at all. There are a few sketches but I’m not sure if older or younger than my last post, nor where have I saved the scans. So no update, but I wanted to do paint this idea - tribal fusion style belly dancer, here is the idea:

  • how to make her more “floating”, wavy than on the initial drawing? I have moved the hips, but am not sure if the anatomy is correct?

The serpent tail will not be totally visible, I wnat tom create the feeling she is on styage, dancing and the snaky parts are visible after a moment, the first thing visible should be the upper body and belly. We’ll see if I manage to capture that.


[left]Hel again:

As the text says - I’m note sure of the accuracy here any more after talking with the Vikings. Haven’t shown it to them, I’ll do it after polishing. Maybe they’ll laugh at it - as they do laugh at larps and fanatsy, but at least will tell me what is accurate for teh future - haven’t finished with Nordic mythology, yet.

BTW, mum jst gave me great idea how to curve the tribal dancer, I’ll scan it tomorrow.

And a few quickies:

[left]I bought The art of Disc World album by Paul Kidby - illustrations to Terry Pratchett’s books. I love his drawings and the variety of faces he presents (and Pratchett’s books are again on my "books-to-read’ shelves after a few years break). I badly need to paint more various faces, not the almost same one as I do now - a few patterns keep repeating.



[left]I bought The art of Disc World album by Paul Kidby - illustrations to Terry Pratchett’s books. I love his drawings and the variety of faces he presents (and Pratchett’s books are again on my "books-to-read’ shelves after a few years break). I badly need to paint more various faces, not the almost same one as I do now - a few patterns keep repeating.[/left]

[left] [/left]
[left] [/left]
[left]While you’re at it, try adding some expression to the faces as well… they all have the same staring, almost aphatic expression. Make them smile, laugh, cry, fear, angry, love etc[/left]
[left]Expressions will really bring life into your characters.[/left]