View Full Version : Father Introduces Toddler to Horse WIP

12-14-2006, 09:16 AM
The Story the Painting Should Tell (if successful):
Though I called the thread 'Father Introduces Toddler to Horse' to help you all quickly know the painting subject matter, the finished painting will be called 'Introductions'. I hope to show the calm assurance my husband had when he showed Gregory a horse for the first time, yet in Gregory's face and body I want a mix of feelings to come across: interest yet some hesitancy. Afterall, horses are pretty big when you are so little.

The WIP Series:
I am going to post the painting WIPs in smaller increments than I have in the past, but bear with me, this is only my 4th digital so I surely don't have any 'formulaic' set of steps worked out. You pros with digital, please jump in where you see I may be missing some useful tool or technique that would save me steps.

WIP 01 - Original Design:

I have worked on the design of this one in the past with a pencil piece that I gave my mom several years ago for Christmas. Sorry the photo is so grainy, it is the only picture I have of it short of driving an hour to my parent's home and unframing it for a new photo. I have my reference to work from which is actually a mirror of the real moment. WalMart photo processed my 'slide to print' reference shot reversed by accident. I decided to just do the painted version with the mirror as well. Someday I will likely inherit back my pencil. It would be kinda funny to hang the pencil and painted piece side by side, one facing one way and one facing the other. hehehe. To make it easier here, I have mirrored the pencil image I am posting to match the direction of the painting.


WIP 02 - The Sketch Set up
In my research on how to do digital paintings, I came across some artists that work in layers. I thought that it was a good idea, so I am giving that method a try on this painting. At this point there are two layers. The black is the background which I will work on after I know I am happy with the story and likenesses. The next layer up is the sketch. I don't have a tablet, just a mouse, so the lines are by no means as light and subtle as I hope to have when Santa brings my art tablet. ;)


WIP 03 - Layer 3 added for working on little Gregory
I can see that the painting naturally will work in layers by having Gregory on the bottom (not counting background), then the horse layer, and finally the layer for my husband. It is just the way everything overlaps. So I am going to begin with Gregory. First I block in the planes of the face and start placing the features. Though you cannot see it here. I can toggle the sketch layer off and on, so I have it on to place the features and off for the rest of the blocking in.


More coming in next post . . .

12-14-2006, 09:49 AM
Tammy, I love that sketch! :heart: :clap: :heart: This is going to be special fun to watch develop. THANKS. :thumbsup:

12-14-2006, 09:50 AM
This is absolutely stunning Tammy! That sketch could stand alone; and you are coming along nicely with the painting thus far. This is such a touching father/son scene, and it is going to be something special when done! Keep up the great work!


12-14-2006, 09:54 AM
03 WIP - Smudge tool:
Since edges can be pretty stark with blocking in, I used the smudge tool to soften them a bit before moving on to the next step.


04 WIP - Refining a bit


05 WIP - Warming it up
I layered the whole face and head with a low opacity golden orange. Smudge tool is used where I need to clarify/correct and edge or blend old and new applications of low opacity color.


06 WIP - Refining the Features
I used low opacity layers of an alizarin crimson-like red and ultramarine-like blue to refine the features and begin working some more color into the shadows. Smudge tool is used where needed for clarifying, correcting, or smoothing edges between colors.


07 WIP - Blocking in the Torso
Not only did I work to block in the torso at this step but I chnged the background between black and white as I worked to be sure that Gregory's form would be solid. If any areas are left with too transparent a series of layers, the final background to come will be visible through his body.


All areas are still pretty unrefined at this point and the work went pretty fast, but as I come into the refinement stages the progress will seem to slow down as I begin to work more zoomed in on details and not way back on large expanses of color.

More to come this evening.

12-14-2006, 12:37 PM
Tammy, I like your highly saturated colors! ;)

12-14-2006, 05:19 PM
Looks great Tammy :thumbsup: and don't forget you can reduce the opacity down to 0 or very very low and blend with the brush you are painting with

12-14-2006, 08:25 PM
Cool! I didn't know the regular brush set at 0 opacity would blend. Thanks for letting me know.

12-14-2006, 08:58 PM
I didn't get as much time as I thought I would to work today. Most of the time I did have I was trying to locate refrences for the OshKosh label and the buttons on the overalls. Despite the kids having plenty of Osh Koshes in early childhood, I haven't saved a one of them. I did find a reasonable reference for the label by doing a Yahoo search but no luck on a really good shot of a button. If any of you happen to have OshKoshes around please scan or macro photo the metal button and post it for me. I would kiss your feet. :p

Latest WIP:
- Method of building skin tones
I have 'glazed in' a few low opacity layers of a warm yellow on the face. There are about two passes of yellow on the hands, so they still have the coolish purple color.

This is basically how I develop skin tones. I layer alternating 'glazes' of ultramarine blue, warm yellow, alizarain or cadmium red equivalents. From these four there are a large number of color interplays that can be developed. It is just a digital reflection of how I do watercolors. In watercolor I work from white paper up to the darkest darks with just layering these three colors with an occassional sienna brown near the end. In digital I jump forward in the steps by blocking in a purplish gray (as you can see in the preceeding steps) so that opacity is established for working with layers. In digital I use white 'paint' which is a new option compared to watercolor. In watercolor, adding white would kill the translucency and intensity of the colors. I find I like the freedom of getting to have white in the pallette with digital.


12-15-2006, 05:49 AM
Thanks for that Tammy, and thanks for all the detailed info., which makes the thread so interesting.

12-15-2006, 06:58 AM
Next WIP -Working with low opacity ultramarine blue for skin tones:
I started working on the Ultramarine blue passes in the skin tones. I have a before and after so you can see how subtle the passes are. These are unsmudged at this point so you can see the blue passes better. Before I move on to the next color pass, alizarin crimson, I will smooth by smudging so the blue blends softly. Also of note, if I were painting this in watercolor where I would not have a smudge tool, I would be making the same passes but in more fine gradations to avoid hard edges of blue.

In Paintshop Pro I am using an opacity setting range from 3 to 7 and many locations have had multiple passes. Basically any area of the face not directly facing toward the sun will have at least a little blue. The ultramarine blue passes are also significant in shaping up the more subtle shifts in planes of the face.

I have also made corrections to the shape of the forehead and jawline.


12-15-2006, 04:24 PM
WIP - Well, it may be a few days before I get to post the next WIP. I will be babysitting tonight and my folks will be in tomorrow. I thought I would post a face progression and current WIP. I will be back in in a few days. :wave:

Top left is the ultramarine blue passes.

Top right has the alizarine passes. It is easy to think that the passes are cadmium but cadmuim actually comes out a somewhat dull red because the blue and oragngier red cancel each outh out to a greyed red. But alizarin seems almost to intensify - when the blue and the alizarin blend it makes a lovely purple for colorful shadows instead of grey. If the shadows are too colorful for you, merely pass the cadmium over it to make it more nuetral. I have also dotted in the colors I use in this section. The three on the left are my main colors (ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, and a warm-leaning yellow). The colors dots on the right are colors I sometimes use: cad red for greying shadows or warming skin that is getting lots of light on the sun side (makes a beutiful blend with alizarine in these places); sienna-like brown which I almost never use on the face but will on hair sometimes; and in the case of digital painting, white which helps so much near the end to blend and give almost an oil-like feel.

Bottom has a few low opacity warm yellow passes though not many are needed in this portrait because the face is on the shadow side and the day was overcast. Not much yellow needed with such a combination. Then I added more passes of blue to sharpen up the features, smudged overall to get the colors to blend, and then made an adjustments pass with low opacity white. Lastly another round of blending.


12-15-2006, 07:54 PM
Tammy, you're teaching me o much about color and lighting...THANK YOU! :clap: :) :clap:

12-15-2006, 11:19 PM
This is a great WIP, Tammy. I'll follow it with great interest. By the way, I love your original pencil drawing. Besides the fact that your draftsmanship is marvelous, it is filled with such warmth and tenderness.


Selahs art
12-17-2006, 06:18 AM
Great work, looking forward to see it finished.


12-17-2006, 04:35 PM
Next WIP pic:

I worked on the overalls this morning a while. Currently, I am working on blocking in the horse and John. The horse has had some modeling already, but John is more or less at the stage of merely getting opacity in place so that the background layer will not show through his body. I set the background to a light blue now that I have lots of darks on the horse and lots of whites going in on John's shirt. I need to see edges well.


12-22-2006, 08:35 PM
Sorry I haven't been able to post the WIPs as much as I had wanted. I have been babysitting from 3am to 7:30pm for the last few weeks. I grab time here and there to keep working.

Here is the current WIP. I am experimenting some with how I might want the background to be. This is one of the possibilities. One nice thing about digital painting is that the background can be on its own layer. You can make huge changes quickly and none of the portraits themselves are changed anywhere. There is a ton of work yet to go, but all the blocking in is in.


12-24-2006, 12:05 PM
Wow! Doing fur in digital is fun! In watercolor you have to paint fur in painstaking steps to paint shadows between the hairs instead of the hairs themselves so much. With digital it is so much more natural. I am still trying to get a feel for how to do fur in digital, but the steps I have taken so far has been to paint the form first (as seen in the last post WIP) quite a bit darker than I want the finished fur to be. The darker color is intenmded to give depth in the final coat. Then I have added a few different sienna-like layers of hair strands. Then brought back in some deep brown strands to redifine some areas. This is my first time doing fur in digital, so if you have any tips, by all means suggest.


12-24-2006, 07:00 PM
Tammy, you're doing a fabulous job! :clap: :clap: :clap: It goes to show that with a fine background in traditional art, one doesn't need most of the filters and tricks that are available in digital.

12-26-2006, 04:52 PM
Beautiful. Don't forget to add a little reflection to the horse's eye. The fur looks great.

12-26-2006, 05:34 PM

Yes, I will definitely be adding a reflection. My reference pic isn't clear enough to show it so I have been looking at a few turoials that specifically do horse eyes.

My oldest son gave the family an Adesso tablet. we are all into computers and art so it was a perfect Christmas gift. I have to admit to hogging it for the last day or so. The others are busy with video games, so I don't feel to bad though. LOL. It is amazing! I LOVE it! with the mouse the hairs came out squiggly. It was almost impossible to get 'em straight. Yet with a pen, it is so easy. I figured out how to set pen pressure to control opacity last night and I am having a blast. hehehe

12-26-2006, 07:26 PM
Way to go! Congratulations!

12-26-2006, 08:19 PM
Tammy, tell us more about your tablet, please. Do you have a link?

12-26-2006, 09:35 PM
Here is a link to the tablet:

I love how flat it is. It has a metal back which gives it a sturdy feel to it. The pen is plastic but it has nice heft to the front which makes it light and well balanced. We have not yet installed any of the software other than the driver. My guess is it will not be to the level of Painter Essentials that comes with Wacom. We all already have our favorite graphics programs on our machines, so the software was not an issue. Melody likes MGI, Tim uses GIMP and Blender, Greg uses Blender and Paintshop Pro 8, and I use Paintshop Pro 8. I guess you can see why the tablet has not sat unused since it has been opened.

My son found ours on the internet for $50 new. It is his first Christmas to buy gifts from his own money, so he has been brimming over with pleasure that it has been a big hit with everyone in the family. Already I can see we will need a second tablet. My birthday is in two days and another tablet may turn up at the rate we are using this one. It may be a Wacom or another Adesso. If Wacom, I will give everyone a comparison between the Adesso (affordable) and the industry standard' Wacom (big $$).

01-01-2007, 04:02 PM
OK. It is finished. The original size is 4800X6000 pixels so it is really reduced to fit it here and shows some pixilation because of it. To see it a bit bigger, you can go to my gallery at http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/45749741/?&q=by%3Aarmoorefam&qh=sort%3Atime+-in%3Ascraps . You will need to click the thumbnail to get the larger view.


01-06-2007, 02:04 PM
My birthday is in two days and another tablet may turn up at the rate we are using this one. It may be a Wacom or another Adesso. If Wacom, I will give everyone a comparison between the Adesso (affordable) and the industry standard' Wacom (big $$).

As promised, I am giving a comparison between the inexpensive Adesso tablet and the Wacom. I did a journal entry this morning on it, so I will copy/paste that here -

I know many of you are where I was a month ago. I was wondering if a digital pen tablet was worth the investment and if so how did an inexpensive one compare to the standard, Cadilac brand (Wacom).

I was using a mouse until Christmas and though I feel I was accomplishing good results it required lots of concentrated effort and hitting the undo button to try again for the stroke I needed. For Christmas my son got the family a 4X6 Adesso brand Tablet (about $50 for budget-minded readers). It was a vast improvement over the mouse. Seldom did I need to hit undo because my stroke went wild.

For my birthday a 4X6 Wacom Intuous was ordered. At a budget busting $200+ it required two weeks of 3am to 7pm babysitting as well as Christmas and birthday money. So I was on pins and needles to see if the Wacom was going to live up to the acclaim I had heard. It arrived late yesterday. Oh, I have to say the Waccom is really something! It doesn't have the control issues of the mouse and compared to the Adesso the pen feel is the diference between smooth as butter and scratchy. You can even hear the difference. There is no sound at all from the Wacom. I think the Wacom's surface should last a long time; unlike the Adesso which already has a haze of scratches in its 2 week long lifespan. The Wacom is also significantly more responsive to pen pressure. It is advertised as having over 1000 pressure settings versus the Adessos 500ish, but it feels like the difference is significantly more than twice the responsiveness. I think it is because of the Adesso's scratchiness of pen point to tablet surface. It made pen pressure erratic. I love the conveinence of the touchpad zoom on the Wacom too. I doubt I will use the Wacom mouse though. It has several extra buttons which probably add some neat features, but they are located on the sides where I hold the mouse and I keep clicking them by accident. Very annoying. Personally, I think Wacom should drop the mouse to an optional addition and adjust down the price to compensate.

The Wacom came bundled with Corel Painter Essentials and Photoshop Essentials. I am really impressed with Painter. It focuses on the brushes. Instead of trial and error work to make virtual brushes act like real media, Painter has it all figured out and set up for you. There are about 10 media settings and within each you have special selections for the techniques of that media. For instance, I have worked with watercolor for about 15 years so I focused on the media I knew well. All the techniques I have at my disposal with actual brushes and paint are in Painter. I get the look of dry paper with dry brush; wet paper with pigment saturated brush, fading/erasing with water (without the paper damage, hehehe), salt, etc. I can even see the paper texture just as I would see in a real watercolor painting. Talk about cool!

Is the experiential side of the Wacom Tablet worth 128 hours of babysitting and applying Christmas and birthday money to it? YES! Will that translate to better paintings? Time will tell.

01-06-2007, 07:58 PM
Tammy, it turned out beautifully! :clap: :) :clap: :) :clap: I love the horse's fur, and the detail on the baby's denim.

The only think I'm unsure about are your husband' suspenders. It takes a hard squint to tell that it isn't worms crawling up his shirt, lol. Perhaps a bit of a shadow to distinguish between the white field of the suuspender's pattern and the shirt?

PS: Thank for the excellent comparison between the two tablets.

01-06-2007, 08:45 PM
Actually, those are the wierdest suspenders I have ever seen. It is a tradition of my husband to wear them at Christmas. The design is purple and green paisley. LOL.

I printed out this digital painting two days ago after finaly getting photo ink for my printer. Though I liked the other painting printouts I have worked on, I didn't like this one. I think that I will revisit it. It is darker than I had intended even on screen, but significantly so when printed. It will be a fun project to try the Painter out with. I think much of what I don't like, other than it being too dark, is based on jumping so fast into the brown of the hair. Usually I work a long time with the separate wash layers of Aliz, yellow, and blue before adding a bit of actual siennas and umbers to the hair. This time I just did it all with browns. It doesn't have the neat variations of color and activity that I like. I won't continue with WIPs here other than one final post with the revised final and a one post summary though.

01-07-2007, 08:09 AM
Tammy i loove your pencil sketch it's just lovely! :clap: I would like to draw at least half the way you do!. :) Perhaps this question is out of this forum, but regards technique and drawing, is there any good book you could recommend regards the subject?

Also like the way how you explained how to do skin tones, the reasons why you apply each color

01-07-2007, 08:43 AM
"I won't continue with WIPs here other than one final post with the revised final and a one post summary though."

As far as I'm concerned, each of your wip is marvelous, and teache me something. POST AWAY!

01-07-2007, 10:45 AM
Perhaps this question is out of this forum, but regards technique and drawing, is there any good book you could recommend regards the subject?

I figure no one would mind a one post explanation about the pencil technique here in the digital forum. I know of no book that tells how to use the technique that I do. All that I have in my personal library or have seen work more directly than I do; though, I have seen a few Artist Magazine articles written by artists that work the same way.

I work in pencil in the same fashion that I work in watercolor. I build up the layers. Instead on trying to hit the correct tone in one pass, I take my time and build up to it with anywhere from 20 to 50 layers. Light toned areas are only the 20 and shadowed areas of the face can get up to 50. This is all done will gentle short strokes, so gentle and small they blend without drawing attention to themselves - at least that is the goal anywahy. I use the harder leads for the light tones, smooth textures. Generally not any harder than 3H because anything harder tends to damage the paper surface causing pics that will adhere more lead than I want and be too dark on the next pass. This results in a speckled effect that I do not want. For shadow areas on the face I use many different lead hardnesses in the many layers going from harder to softer (the Bs). The reason for doing this on the face area is that by using the harder leads first, being careful not to damage the paper, the deeper crevices of the paper darken as well because the pointed hard leads can get down to them. This makes the shadow areas of the face look very soft. Nowm for rough cloth and sweater textures you skip the hard pencil levels because yu want the higher contrast of dark which is on the high points of the paper texture and the light tone that lies in the crevice. The result looks just like cloth and it takes on a one or two layers.

I will post an example. Much of the detail is lost here because the photo is not very good and I have to reduce the size to post to Wet Canvas dimension restrictions. All my pencils are in frames, so I cannot get a better photo conveniently. But here goes:


I specifically did this drawing as a practice on different textures. It had it all. Baby soft skin, heavy cotton, a plaid rougher textured shirt, and a sweater. I had a blast! Though it may be hard to see, the pencil work is just as I have described. Sorry I don't have a full view of the whole drawing. I tried to find one, but it must have been a victim of my hard drive crash a few months ago. All I was able to save was what I had uploaded to the net.

01-07-2007, 11:40 AM
Amazing portrait Tammy... And I love the sketch of the little girl, too! Your technique is gorgeous.

I hope you won't mind me posting this here for Kareen, since she asked about sketching, it's a thread here at wc about free pdf downloads of Loomis' sketch books. Hope they still are available, and hope they are what you seek.



01-07-2007, 11:45 AM
Remember how I said that I was disappointed in how the hair looked in the piece I worked on in this thread because I just jumped into using a brown directly instead of building it up with the separate layers of aliz, ultramarine, and the yellow? I will go ahead an WIP the rework, but I thought I would post this for now ...

I have never shared this portrait online because it is a practice piece done from another artist's painting. It is one of Micael Dees piantings. He also works in layers of color like I do, but he is much more masterful. My version is not so perfect as his, but because it is not yet finished you can see in the hair a bit of how the color brown is built up. Since this is being posted to show a technique and I am very up front about the orginal not being my own idea, I guess copyright issues wouldn't be a problem. Remember, it is a pianted copy of Michael Dees painting, not my own original. Sorry for the flash. This peice has sat unfinished for a while and I framed it in a spare frame I had to keep it clean until I can return to it.


If you look at the ends of her long hair, you can see that I have already layed in the layers of Winsor yellow and alizarin. You can see the differences between that area and the areas where I have already laid in the ultramarine blue to make the brown I needed. Also of note, look at how the colors of 'gray' on the porch are not at all grey but many layers of those three colors which are not blended overly much so the shadows are full of color. The jacket too is not just blue. Much alizarin is also allowed to be evident.

So, I am going to go back in to my digital 'Introductions' painting from this thread and rework the hair and maybe the overalls a bit too in my typical style. I think I will like it better. Painting the brown directly was faster, but the longer I look at it the more I hate it.

01-07-2007, 11:56 AM
I just realised that I didn't spell Michael Deas name correctly in that last post, Sorry, I misremembered it. Here is a link to see the full painting of what I did my practice peice on. It is truly beautiful and puts my pitiful attempt to shame. Enjoy! http://www.michaeldeas.com/The_Letter.htm

01-07-2007, 12:07 PM
Thanks a lot Tammy for the information! :) You're very kind. Wow!. That little girl and the woman are beautiful and the explanation of your technique really clear. Thxs!I'm going to try this technique!:cool:

Brenda i looled at the site, and...it's still there. I'm just downloading the books. Seems is a good artist saw some of his works Thxs a lot! :) It is very useful!