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Painting monochrome and drawing big: Weekly Art Dispatch, No. 18. 🎨

25 April 2021 - Reading time: 6 minutes

This week's art output was a bit haphazard as I tried to figure out a balance between learning digital art, while still creating "fun art" with my usual traditional sketches.


Study Art

I continued to practice making clean linework on a drawing tablet.  I'd been playing the video game Bayonetta, so the eponymous heroine made a good subject matter. This drawing is much cleaner than my previous sketches, and I stumbled onto some shading methods too.  But clean digital linework sure takes a long time!

Bayonetta lineart.

On the painting side, after being prompted by Sinix Design's "Digital Painting for Beginners" video (mentioned in dispatch #17, I started two-value studies on landscape photos.  These studies challenged me to look at an image in terms of shape instead of line or colour, organize visual information into a hierarchy, and simplify the whole image into shapes, without losing the "read" (visual communication) of the picture.

Two-value studies.  Top photo reference © Greg Martin.  Bottom photo reference: unattributed, from a Discord server.

Two-value studies are challenging, but also fun in their own way!  I'll keep doing them.


Fun Art

After spending the first part of the week entirely on digital art, and getting very fatigued as a result, I realized that digital art is all study and learning right now.  So I chose to take a break from that at the end of the week, and went back to my pencil art.

I asked a friend who was a freelancing artist for some critique on my pencil works, and got a reply: work on a bigger canvas, and practice getting more values out of my pencils while shading (ie. be more bold with shading lighter/darker using the same pencil grade).  So - time to draw big portraits of my original characters.

Zhael (top) and Rann (bottom), drawn on A4 sketchpaper.

Indeed, my friend was correct: drawing bigger is liberating!  Not only do I get to practice shading at higher resolution, bigger figures also reveal proportional/anatomical errors that I could otherwise mask on a smaller canvas.  I'll have to make a trip to the art store soon to pick up A3 and A2 paper.

I hit an unexpected snag when drawing Rann.  I'd never been very happy with his character design, especially his hairstyle.  Drawing him big finally surfaced all my displeasure -- and the revelation that I'd inadvertently given him a mullet.  Unfortunately the mullet hairstyle is not my scene, and it had to be exterminated.  So I stopped partway through the sketch phase and went back to the concept art board.

Speedy character design (hairstyle version): pull a bunch of photo and anime references (and Geralt of Rivia) into a PureRef board; iterate a bunch of thumbnails to find one semi-acceptable design, then develop that design in detail.

Rann's hairstyle is much better now, though I'm still not 100% pleased with it.  But that just means I'll have to draw him more, and that is fun.


And for something quite different... I couldn't sleep one night due to a fire in the brain, and to douse the flames, I drew my OCs as emojis.  That helped me discover more about their personalities, and clarify their visual designs/shorthand even more.  Drawing outside my comfort zone of style/subject matter really contributes to inspiration and thinking outside the square. I ought to do it more!


Next week’s topics: More of the same - two-value painting studies, digital lineart, and big pencil drawings.  And I have to get back to the Drawabox course too...

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Yvonne M.
Luv BIG Portraits
Written by Yvonne M. on 9 May 2021
Love your going for BIG portraits. Inspiring - feed the voracious appetite of my writer's imagination!

I'm Vega.

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My Weekly Art Dispatch 🎨 is posted every weekend, usually on Sunday.

I also blog about writing and other creative projects; review books and video games; and may mention real life stuff from time to time.

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