A summer night on a nearby beach, painted in MediBang Paint Pro. Trying out the watercolor brush a bit. MediBang is a pretty neat piece of software, very lightweight and responsive.
This is a really good website for those of you who are into drawing or painting. Or if you are a photographer who would like to make your work available to others as reference material. Maybe even both of these things.
Paint My Photo is a site for sharing photos that can be used for reference and inspiration. It has the advantage that all the photos in the library are available for use under the same terms, which makes it easier and safer for artists. At the same time, it’s a more controlled environment then many other places and photographers don’t have to worry about giving up the rights to their work. You should take care to read all the terms and conditions if you become a member on the site to make sure it sounds fine to you personally though.
It does come with some restrictions. For example, the reference photos may only be used for traditional work, not digital. But it´s still a very useful resource. There is also a very friendly community to take part in.
I upload some photos for reference myself at times, but my gallery is still rather empty. I will try to remedy that at some point.
My ability to create any kind of art is still pretty limited. But I figured I could at least help someone else out by sharing some of the great resources I have made use of over the years. So this will be like a series of sorts.
Let’s start with a great tool for figure drawing, which is also completely free. Because its great practice if you want to improve your drawing skills. But finding either classes or models can be quite difficult, as well as expensive. Or maybe you are already taking classes but want to practice some more. Either way, an online tool is very convenient. I will drop the link right here so I don’t forget about it.
They include tools for faces, hands and animals in addition to normal figure drawing stuff. I have been using the option for faces the most myself. There are some options to help you narrow down what you want to practice, like only sad faces or only aquatic animals for example. I haven’t used those options very much however.
What’s your favorite artist tool?
For the longest time, I have been curious about photo manipulation. It seemed like a logical step to combine my interest in photography with my interest in digital art and painting.
The problem was that I had no idea where to start. But then I got lucky and found this excellent tutorial by Chris Spooner, which provided a very good starting point. Because sometimes all you need is a place to start. It’s also space themed and I’m really fascinated by that kind of stuff. Once I had seen some basic techniques, photo manipulation became a lot less intimidating.
I only use my own photos, it’s less trouble that way since you don’t have to keep track on a bunch of different licenses and all that stuff. So I have started building my own library of textures and stock images. It’s not very impressive yet, but it’s slowly getting there.
Are there any new skills you want to learn?
The blog has been rather slow lately, mostly because I’ve had some trouble with my hands that made writing and art making rather difficult. Of course, Christmas has also eaten a big part of my time, but i wouldn’t have it any other way. I enjoy it immensely. All the lights, the food and getting to spend time with family. Great stuff.
On the subject of my bothersome hands, I’ve had painful joints and trouble bending my fingers. Which is not the best thing for creating art or being a productive person in general. My right hand, which just so happens to be my dominant one, is the worst. So maybe I have strained it to much or something. I have been trying to use my left hand instead, but with limited success.
At least this has forced me to be more aware of how i treat my body and respect the fact that i have to take breaks sometimes. Even though i tend to get carried away while I´m working on something. I have been researching ways to make the strain easier on my hands. Things like how to sit properly, different ways to hold a pencil, stretching and even a different keyboard layout. I will try to write a bit about that later, in case someone else have the same problems that i do. Or in case you don’t and desire to keep it that way. If I ever get used to this new keyboard layout that is.
Take care of your hands everyone, you kind of need those. Remember to take breaks sometimes:)
It’ s always fun to try new tools, especially when they work well. This time that tool was masking fluid, also known as liquid frisket.
Masking fluid usually consists of latex, water and ammonia, often with some kind of pigment added so you can see where it has been applied. Put some on the paper, let it dry and then you can just pain on top of it. This way it’s possible to preserve highlights or other shapes that would be complicated to paint around.
After trying it out with this quick painting I feel like this is something that I will make use of a lot in the future. I enjoy using my watercolor with lots of water and my painting can get messy at times. It might be useful for other mediums as well, I´m going to look into that.
These paintings were done as a kind of personal exercise with the goal of actually completing something without over thinking it.
This was useful for me since I have a tendency to get caught up in the details and then abandoning my artwork when I can’t get it just right. So the goal here was to go rather fast and focus on the big picture. No erasing was allowed.
I did these paintings in ArtRage 3 studio pro, which is a digital painting software meant to emulate natural media. Doing it this way instead of using more traditional media has both pros and cons, but it does allow for experimentation without being limited by what materials you have available. It´s also nice not to worry about wasting anything or about preparation or cleanup. But it does allow for near infinite reworking, which is something I try not to do right now. Computing power is also a concern, my hardware is getting a bit old at this point. You can´t have everything I guess.
Either way, this was a very enjoyable experience and I was actually rather happy with the results.
Do you ever struggle with finishing your work?
I wanted to do something quick and simple to try out a pad of watercolor paper that i got some time back. When I get really nice art supplies I tend to be afraid to use them. I guess i don´t want to mess up and waster them. So they sometimes tend to sit unused for far to long.
Anyway, the paper in question was The Langton Prestige from Daler Rowney. It´s the 300 gsm (140lb) cold press variety made from 100% cotton. I usually go for the cold pressed papers. This is one of those pads that are glued on all four sides so you don’t have to stretch the paper before painting. It´s probably useful if you are painting outside. I found it to be very convenient, but I also found the finished painting got be a bit hard to remove without cutting it up by accident. It turned out alright in the end, but it was still a problem.
The sky is painted wet on wet, one of my favorite things to do when it comes to watercolor. As for the color palette, I keep coming back to yellow ochre and olive greens. I think they go well together and there is just something about this combination that is really pleasing to me.
This was created with the help of a reference image from PaintMyPhoto, the photographer being Irini Adler
Do you have any color you keep coming back to?
This is a drawing i finished some time back, while I was visiting my parents for Easter actually. But I somehow forgot to take a decent picture of it. So it had to wait until now, when I’m once again back in my home town to spend some of the summer with my family.
It´s done in colored pencil, a mix of several different brands. I had just gotten a new pencil case, one of those where every pencil goes through an elastic hoop and you then roll the whole thing up. A lot of time were spent picking just the right pencils for my travel kit, to make sure I had a good selection of colors. I also tried to avoid the shortest pencils, just to make sure they wouldn’t become unusable while I was away from home.
I started this drawing because I wanted to practice drawing yellow objects. In my somewhat humble opinion, it´s one of the hardest colors to work with, especially when working with dry mediums. Mostly since you can´t get a really dark yellow, instead you will most of the time get some shade of orange. So my biggest problem was to get all the shadows right and give the object a sense of dimension while still making it look like a yellow bell pepper, not an orange one. There was some green in there as well, that i felt helped in making everything appear less monochrome.
The reflection of the pepper on the surface it was placed on caused me some trouble as well. I didn´t get it to look as smooth as i would have liked. Reflections are now on my list of things to practice.
This was done in a sketch pad containing Fabriano academica paper with a weight of 200gsm, which I have grown quite fond of. It has a god texture, but the drawing is now a bit warped. If this is caused by the rather heavy application of waxy pencils, or if it happened at a later date due to storage or something else I unfortunately can´t tell at this point.
Do you have any color that you fins to be extra troublesome?