Wednesday, 20 July 2011

20 Minute Ja'far!

I spent a lot of the day tweaking my brush set and studying, but finally got a chance to test them this evening. i took inspiration from an image in the handy-sized, PORTRAITS book (by Steve McCurry) and banged out a 20 minute speed painting. ideally, i wish I'd had time to repeat this image once or twice to see how the work flow kicked in (as i wasted a lot of time choosing brushes!!). ah well, I'm sure it will come naturally with a bit more practice!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

20 minute 'Speed Pants'...(Well You Wanted It Loose!)

Right, so here's my attempt at a timed, speed-painting challenge!  i won't try and hide the fact that I'm not really an environment artist (or a particularly quick one either!), so you'd might wonder why I'd start with a 20 minute, American landscape? well, this IS a place of experimentation, and I've never been a proud man...especially after this! ;)

Anyway,  i figured I'd see what i could do in a twenty minute window, assess after, what i needed to make me work faster, and repeat the exercise. GOD this first one was shocking! any measured approach to this was replaced with sheer panic, and i wasted valuable time worrying that i wasn't going to get it finished!

this time i changed the aspect ratio of the image to give a more panoramic feel. it was a step in the right direction, but around 15 minutes into this one, i already knew I'd spent far too long struggling to get that speed-painted look! this lead me to believe that my tool-set was incorrect, and I'd have to create some brushes that would do some of the work for me.

i felt that by the third one, the improvement was significant enough to stop, and write a list of things that would have saved me even more time. i enjoyed this process; it's made me think about what tricks and techniques i can use to squeeze the most out of every last second and it's bolstered my confidence enough to pursue it again tomorrow! I'll be mixing it up with some 45 minute and 90 minute paintings in the following posts, but i guess I'll always start with at least one or two 20 minute pieces just to get warmed up!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Art Of Manipulation...

...OK so not strictly a sketch, but this is an attempt at stepping away from some of the problems i mentioned in the previous Old Work...New Lessons post. i AM trying to loosen up the application of mark-making, so it's, not-strictly-a-sketch-but-definitely-walking-in-the-direction-of-Sketchville! i have some speed-painting and life drawing scheduled into my timetable for the next few months, so TRUST me, there will be a lot of VERY loose work going on show here (I'm starting to panic already!!) 

anyway, this was a good opportunity to practice painting without first, generating line art (as i did in 
the Sorry, No Trainers - Value Pass post). also, it was a fun colour and lighting study, so with that in mind, it qualifies as blog-worthy! i like the idea that this cat lacked the opposable thumbs to handle a fishing rod, but managed to rig a human nervous system with two arcade sticks! 

it needs a clean-up and i have a fish bone-mountain silhouette to add in the background, so I'll post that again :)

Sunday, 10 July 2011


this is a quick sketch in one of those diaries, but i stopped as I'd killed the possibilities with some shocking anatomy! anyway, i wouldn't say it was a great improvement, but i spent a few minutes correcting things in Photoshop and it sits a little more comfortably now (you're probably thinking, 'CHRIST! it must have been REALLY bad before, then!')

The Only Way To Fight A Samurai

i have a pile of old diaries, which (like my sketchpads) never get filled. At least sketching on the lined paper in these makes me less precious about starting a doodle (which can only be a good thing!)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Old Work...New Lessons

This was my first stab at a 'proper' painting! it's of a robber baron/nightclub owner called Gileese and his two doormen Jachin and Boaz. i think the wide-angle, forced perspective and underwater lighting were a bit too ambitious for my abilities, but i was pretty chuffed with it at the time!!
this was the second (and one of my favorite in the series), of the blind shaman Borlese and his army of Gelada baboons. i tried to focus on the balance of composition in this one, and tried to improve my understanding of how cloth hangs and folds (what a shame i didn't try to improve my understanding of simple rim-lighting!?). i think this was an easier painting for me as it's pretty monochrome. But what it lacks in colour, it makes up for in fist-pumping monkey!! ..."AWOOOGA!!!"
Baroness Kruesmark and her loyal soldiers, atop a decommissioned train in London's underground system. here i was trying to handle different textures, like bitumen on the train carriage and the leather of her catsuit. i liked the curve of the dogs' shadows on the subway tunnel ceiling (but it was a total cop-out, as i'm not a natural at environments!)

here is the story's anti-hero Joseph Hellenbach and the red kite that serves as his visual aide and companion. i wanted this painting to be much lighter than that of the barons, and felt it was a good opportunity to have a crack at painting some rocks and a sky scape! i look back at these paintings and really notice things like how dead and flat the skin tones are; things like the ear have no light shining through them with a nice orange glow! (or sub-surface scattering for the texture artists out there!)

Baron Palencarr. i really enjoyed painting this, but again feel like the absence of finishing touches like bear drool and shiny gums give the painting a stale and lifeless quality. it's only looking back at these after several years that i realise how such simple things can really bring an image to life! maybe I'll revisit these with a quick pass on each to add some much needed atmosphere!
this is where things started to get surreal! the conjoined barons Burnett, at their sacrificial was little more than an interesting anatomy study (although i shudder more at the obvious mistakes than the subject matter!)

this was the big daddy Lu Yueh, whose webbed fingers suggest the start of a transformation into the demon in the background. great fun to paint, but very much lacking in life and atmosphere! i really needed to study lighting (and still do now!!).  if anything, posting these images was a nice trip down memory lane, and highlights the areas i need to push to bring more energy to my artwork.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

WARNING: This Sucks...

This is a quick painting i did to try and loosen up my style (with some chunkier blocks of colour) and to compile a small colour palette (as I've never really given a lot of attention to this area!) i used some dirty big palette brushes that i created in photoshop and really enjoyed the process! I'll post some earlier paintings that i created for a story Martin and i worked on about 10 years ago. They were my first digital paintings (but to be more accurate, they were my first paintings of any description, as the medium has always terrified me!), but I've always looked back at them and think that they say a lot about my way of working (and possibly, thinking!) as they're so tight and stuffy! the dream would be to throw down a few blocks of colour and simply suggest what's in mind, but I'm a looooooooooong way off being that courageous!! Anyway when you see them, you'll realise why i feel the need to loosen up my style!...

Dead Or Alive

I had an idea that I'd create a load of wild west superheroes with a steam punk vibe (particularly Superman in a giant leather duster, and Thor covered in makeshift armour ripped from a train engine), but due to other deadlines, I've kind of dropped the ball on this challenge! anyway, maybe this is something to revisit somewhere down the road with some other iconic characters (possibly as a super villain theme).  Anyway, i tried to go about this as if i were trying to make Spidey look more bug-like. in fact, i based his silhouette on a big-eyed jumping spider, with eight eyes Incorporated into the steam punk goggles, and added some spider leg seams in his cow-hide poncho. and i quite like the detail in his suit looking more shabby, like cobwebs, and there's a nod to his original eye mask shape with the leather visor.

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