View Full Version : Digital figure painting

01-23-2001, 06:40 PM
I started out doing digital art when I had to draw some super tiny 16x16 and 32x32 pixel character game sprites and tile graphics for my Xenith computer games. However, since then, I've kinda grown distant from my computer, and decided recently to try doing a more elaborate digital painting using a brand new Aiptek 4x5 tablet I got for Christmas. It's kinda tiny but I like it a lot.

Anyway, here's my first:

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/lib/23-Jan-2001/cowgirlcg.gif" border=0>

I think it turned out ok. I kind of wish the texture of the paper didn't show so much in some of the foreground areas, and that the some of the hard contours were erased, and certain edges were softened up a bit. The pose looks funky too. Still, despite it's flaws, I'm kinda proud of it and I stuck my name on there real big and fancy-like!

I think some of the biggest flaws were just in the basic sketch. I kind of chose a crappy sketch to color, but I was just eager to try out my tablet and didn't think I would end up finishing the piece and instead was just hoping to experiment.

I was trying very much to simulate the look of an painting. I used Adobe Photoshop to paint it. I've tried Fractal Design Painter before. I love it, but my computer seems too ache and groan too much when I use some of the bigger brushes in it.

I started the painting by doing a pencil sketch on some rough paper which I scanned into the computer - I thought having some of the paper texture show in the background would give it a more non-digital look, but it just made it difficult to clean up the sketch afterwards because I couldn't erase without putting in a funny-looking textureless spot. Thus, there are still several areas in the foreground that still look a bit too textured for my liking, and I was unable to get rid of all of the pencil lines. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/frown.gif Next time, I'll have to remember to use smooth paper and do as clean a sketch as possible before starting the painting.

I used a photo I found of a supermodel and pretty much tried to just copy most of the girl. I didn't try to change too much, cause mainly I wanted this to be just an exercise of coloring and not a fancy picture. The top of her head and forehead were cut off in the image, so I tried putting on a hat. I also replaced the girl's face with an imaginary one - but I think it kind of ended up looking a bit strange and detached from the rest of the body. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/frown.gif The pose also looks kind of stiff to me. I don't know if I just did a poor job of copying the photo, cause it seems extra stiff in my copy of it.

Though I had difficulties, digital painting is really starting to grow on me! I think I want to attempt a second one again soon. The thing I really love most about digital painting is the easy changing and selection of color. Additive color mixing of light is so much easier than the subtractive mixing process of pigment, or at least for me. (Maybe I just feel this way because I spent a lot of time doing game sprites.) It's also fantastic how my palette won't dry, and has unlimited amounts of paint! Layers are also fantastic. It reminds me of acetate sheets that animators use. I did this painting using 4 layers, one for the sketch in the very back, then the background which goes over the sketch but is slightly transparent so I can still see the sketch to serve for painting, and then the skin of the figure, and then finally the hat and the skirt in one layer.

Digital art is also fast! I did this painting in a single session that lasted less than 2 hours - not including the sketch time. My sketch took almost as long to complete as the painting itself!

However, digital painting tires me more than anything. I still want to stick to my brushes and paints. Having to use all those virtual tools and navigating around the image by zooming and moving around the image really gets on my nerves, and there's something very tedious-feeling about drawing on that tablet - maybe part of the reason is because mine is so small.

Still, the advantages and speed of this medium are so great - I'm even tempted to drop my oil paints and acrylics and just devote my pure energy into producing digital art. I'll miss the fantastic life and character of my newly bought oil paints though....

Anyway, that should be enough rambling for now http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Please tell me what you think and if anyone has any good pointers for doing digital art to share, please do so! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif I'm still very much a beginner and still just figuring out how each tool works.

[This message has been edited by Dudi (edited January 24, 2001).]

01-23-2001, 08:18 PM
This is impressive! Thanks for the explanation of how you created it. I am new to creating art in general, have only been at it for a couple of months. I have never used Photoshop to create something like this which is awesome by the way). I have painter classic which is a 'lite' version of the real deal. No layers. I have an aging puter and have to limit myself because of its lack of resources. Painter seems to lag with brushes sometimes, but I love the feel of the program. But unlike you, I sketch in the puter directly (just a rough outline)and then use the brushes. Just like you would do it with real media. But it is so much FASTER and it has a great feature - the "undo" button! (not to mention the eraser) I am trying to teach myself watercolor by doing the sketch in painter first it really helps.

I like the texture of your background, was this the result of scan of your sketch or did you do something to create that? This was really something to be proud of! Have any more to show?

01-23-2001, 08:34 PM
Thanks Grace! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

The texture of the background was the paper texture, which was very rough and grainy. I thought using rough, textured paper would help make the painting look more real and less digital - which was what I was aiming for. However, it turned out to be problematic because I found I couldn't erase parts of the sketch without erasing the paper texture and creating a flat-looking spot in the image. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/frown.gif Next time, I'm going to try using smooth paper like Bristol board instead and try applying some filters at the end to give the painting a textured surface.

I'm fascinated that you can draw the sketch directly into the computer! I've tried doing this several times, but my control of the tablet and strokes still needs a lot of refinement. I agree that the undo button is really handy! I think I used it more than any other tool in my painting http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

I haven't done any more digital paintings since this first one but, I'm hoping to do some more in the near future. I realized recently that I need to spend more time on my drawing skills, so I've just been sketching for the past week.

01-24-2001, 11:25 AM
I cant sketch right on my tablet either! I always have to sketch on paper then trace my lines.

I found that if I do a few blind contour sketches before I sit in front of the computer, I feel more "Warmed up".

I really like the colors you used in this. I keep comming back to it and taking "One more peek"

01-24-2001, 04:55 PM
I like this piece. I really like the you used the lighting and shading to give her skin texture. Keep 'em comin!

I'm pretty comfortable drawing on my tablet (It's a Wacom ArtPad II with a 4" x 5" drawing surface.). In some cases, when I sketch something on paper to be scanned into the pc, I don't bother to do a lot of clean-up. I scan the image, open it in Painter, clone the sketch, delete the image from the clone, turn tracing paper on, trace the parts I want to keep and add any additional details or make any changes right in the program.


01-29-2001, 08:21 AM
How did I miss this? Don't slap me, I beg forgiveness. You have done an exceptional job with this, congratulations on a job well done. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

THE HIT LIST (http://members.iinet.net.au/~fireice/List.html)
I must make a piece of art everyday for my own well being.

01-29-2001, 11:05 AM
REALLY nice lighting. Excellent approach to combining digital and traditional media, scanning in the sketch, et cetera...

Three questions/comments:

1. What is that grayish-blue at the bottom edge supposed to represent? Water or mist or something? It feels really out of place with the remainder of the pic -- partly because of the color, and partly because it is a supersmooth superdigital airbrush effect, which is a real contrast.

2. It looks like there's raking light coming in from both sides... which is dramatic, but, it makes me wonder why the left side of her waist is lit and not the right? Compare to the right side of her arm.

3. This is really a comment for all the digital artists out there -- call me nitpicky, but it always drives me batty when somebody puts a big bold high contrast font-signature on a digital pic. I mean, if it's meant to protect the pic from copying that's one thing... but wouldn't a watermark or a barely-there sig works just as well? So often, it just seems to interfere...

Not that you have to handle it the way I do, but if I want to protect a relatively high-res digital image, I put a transparent watermark over the image area. I know it's still relatively obtrusive, but I figure it's better than solid black or white (plus it's harder to crop out).

Here's <a href="http://www.pixelscapes.com/digital/artimages/sandbeach01.jpg">an example of my watermark</a>. It's a lot more obvious on the top than the bottom of course since it blends into the ocean much better than it would into the smooth sky.

The upshot of this approach is that people can see the work at lower resolution without the signature getting in the way, and then they can see it at high res without it being easy for them to swipe and print it.

Back to the topic, anyway -- I'm very impressed by your drawing and digital editing. It's not often I see the two approaches go together in a way that looks natural and appropriate, but you pulled it off wonderfully!

-=- Jen "Just a thought or three" de la Cruz
http://www.Pixelscapes.com and http://www.BewareOfArt.com