View Full Version : Vector art- a learning experiment

11-06-2006, 12:08 AM
The more I think about my 'style' ( a word I use loosely ;) ) the more I compare it to watercolour. I love watercolours and have several books that I bought to teach myself how. A lightbulb went on over my head and I thought "why don't I do these exercises again, but on the computer instead". I hoped that I could learn how much I can bring the two mediums together.

I also thought,afterward, that any vector artists here might be mildly interested in the exploration. They are very simple exercises, from the beginning of the books, but they hit the basics of watercolour techniques.
Just flat washes and glazing if it were watercolour, but I figured that there really is no such thing as a flat wash - it must have some variation, just to show that a human made it. So I think in large areas I should always use a subtle gradient blend.

More glazes and blending. I learned that adding a highlight is much easier digitally:), but that adding texture is going to be very difficult. Not sure how to achieve that yet.
It was too tempting to use the circle tool to make the orange. I made myself go back and squash it, it was just too perfect.

This was a 2 colour palette exercise, which I made myself stick to, only able to get a 3rd hue by layering transparent colours. I learned that just like traditional watercolour, every picture still has its 'ugly' stage. I discovered that starting from a pencil drawing and leaving it on the top most layer holds that hand drawn feeling that I like.
I had a bit of a revelation and will create a swatches palette that imitates my painting palette - a place to start from.

The next exercises in the book are a watercolour technique called wet-in-wet. VERY watercolour-y. These ones are going to be tough.

Any questions, suggestions, or feedback gratefully appreciated.

11-06-2006, 12:24 AM
I like these I play around like this when I can't get inspired to paint anything. :thumbsup: :wave:

11-06-2006, 09:14 AM
JA, I really enjoyed taking this trip with you! It's realy tough to imitate the look of watercolor digitally. :o

11-06-2006, 01:44 PM
jageo, here (http://www.adobe.com/education/pdf/cib/ill_cs/ill_cs_cib_15.pdf) is a good tutorial for achieving a "watercolor wash" effect with vectors that you might enjoy.
The texture is something that the only real way to achieve it is to make a gazillion little paths and stroke them, like the paths (http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~yukio-m/intro/img03/tomato.gif) for this tomato (http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~yukio-m/intro/img03/tomato.jpg).

Hope this helps with your experimenting!


11-07-2006, 10:51 AM
It's realy tough to imitate the look of watercolor digitally. :o
Part of what I'm trying to figure out, I think, is what I want to get out of the digital work. I don't *think* I want to imitate watercolour, but I do want to be able to achieve the loose-ness, the feeling, the transparency and shapes.
All of which I'm positive I can do digitally.
But why do I want to do it on the computer instead of on paper? That's the part I want to clarify in my own brain. The light? The vibrancy? The clarity?

So I figured if I worked on technique I could figure out the first part, and from the results maybe figure out the second part.

a good tutorial for achieving a "watercolor wash" effect with vectors
I do need to investigate gradient meshes and what they can do, but I haven't yet convinced myself that I want to use them. And that's all a part of my problem up above. Is it a tool that will bring me the style that I want? .... more info... more thought ;)
I had to smile when i read your signature line again because "detail" is not necessarily what I'm after. Even over in the watercolour forum, where I've played for several years, they debate "tight" paintings over "loose", and some achieve perfectly detailed works, while others don't go there. Not meaning that I don't admire the detail work (that link to the tomato is awesome), but I'm pretty sure that's not my direction. And sometimes that makes me wonder why i want to pursue digital art.

Ah... far too philosophical for 7:30 a.m. Must prepare for work instead.
Thanks all for comments and views, you are powerful thought generators :D

11-07-2006, 01:36 PM
This is truly an interesting thread!

You can paint anything you want to, using the proper software and truly understanding how to use it.

I am self taught (digitally painting) and use 2 regular brushes only in Paint Shop Pro. I prefer "realistic painting" so get results by being a perfectionist and totally driving myself NUTS! So this is not a great way to paint lol.

If you truly have a talent and an eye for painting, you will achieve a wonderful painting using any method you feel comfortable with ... period.

The secret is to paint with the media you feel the most comfortable using.

It is obvious to me you have a wonderful talent .. so paint with what makes you feel the most satisfied, to produce your wonderful paintings!

Hope I am not out of line posting this. Have not been in the forum for awhile but wanted to contibute.

11-19-2006, 03:50 PM

Another piece from the watercolour book. I did several of the little projects, and even tried some of the wet in wet exercises, playing mostly with the gradient mesh tool (thanks, Madster, for the tutorial link). I'm not happy yet with the results, and even above, where the mesh forms the mist and water, I'm not 100% sure it suits me.
But I do knownow that it has reached 'satisfying', and now I want to work on something from my own reference so, as Sunday is my self-appointed 'painting day', and the boys are all watching the Grey Cup, we'll see what comes out :D


11-19-2006, 04:22 PM
...The secret is to paint with the media you feel the most comfortable using.

I appreciate your sharing the philosophy, Babs. I quoted the above because I think there is a lot of merit in working the media with which you are *not* comfortable. I think of the picture in my head, what I want to create, as the centre of a target. There's a whole 360 degrees of direction in to reach that centre. I use watercolours to help my digital art, and digital art to help my watercolours. I pursued coloured pencil to deliberately step outside the comfort zone, to reach colour and form in a different way. (they aren't polar opposites, to be sure, but have a different attack)
I'm far too much of a 'hobbyist' to ever get to the centre of the target, but I recognize that for me, comfort just makes me do the same thing over again.


(editted for spelling)