I haven’t been making much new art lately. A few months ago, I started hand painting some fabric for a skirt, but that has stalled for now. It’s probably the largest scale illustration I’ve ever done, to be honest, and it’s hard to find subject matter that I think is nice and that I can also freehand comfortably without worrying about messing it up… I only really get 1 shot at painting on the skirt 😛
I haven’t been working on the skirt for awhile though, and I guess my brain needed something a little more complete-able. Last Friday, after having too much caffeine and sugar, I started working on a digital painting using MyPaint, an open source painting program that has a pretty amazing brush engine. It’s a little hard to get used to, and it isn’t totally user friendly yet. But you can get some very nice painterly effects in it. I sketched my underdrawing and did the initial paint in MyPaint, then switched to Photoshop to edit the proportions/skew some of the features to get it to look more human. Back into MyPaint to do more painting over the gaps from transform-tooling the features. Then back into Photoshop to lay down some photo textures. I think I used 1 photo of space, 2 different photos of cracking paint, 1 photo of some paint smears I made, and 1 photo of some paint smears someone else made.
I used a photo of myself as reference, but quickly got sick of trying to make it look like me. I’ve never had any knack for accurate portraiture. As a result, it looks exactly like my imaginary second-cousin, which is fine for the purposes of this image.
Sometimes it’s fun to try my hand at realism, since it’s not something I’ve pursued much. Generally I like line-work better, and it tended to be my stronger suit when I was drawing more. But after doing nothing but hand sketches of sweaters/illustrator flat sketches of sweaters (along with the line work on the skirt I’m painting), I found myself wanting to be more painterly. I think it turned out pretty nice.
Someone asked me to post my underdrawing too. Here’s an animated gif of (some of) the process:
My line art is pretty rough since I know I will paint on top of everything. I’m mainly concerned with getting the perspective correct, and having some basis to start laying in darks/lights. I didn’t have any screenshots of the chiaroscuro phase, in which I splat a bunch of approximate colours in approximate places. I usually start with the brightest areas (not including sharp highlights). Then I will lay in the darkest colours into the shaded areas. After I have this, I blend between the two, adding in different colours for some interest. I didn’t do any colour adjusting, which I’m pretty proud of. I have a fairly decent eye for colour subtlety, and I picked all the colours using the wheel (no eye-dropper from reference photos). You can see that there are some drastic changes in the facial structure between the 3rd and 4th frames; this is where I went into Photoshop to adjust the proportions. My sketch was kind of messed up in the first place, and then painting on top until I lost the line work exacerbated things.