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PAINTERY

28 June 2008

I recently installed Corel Painter because along with my tablet I wanted to have a program I could really paint with. And Photoshop just doesn't have the range of options for recreating that analogue feel of painting that Painter has. Or so I had been told. So step one was to ingest some tutorials to learn the ropes (which wasn't very difficult because once you know Photoshop the rest is easily understood. Besides, Painter is quite mallable with its shortkeys, so I could emulate what I was already familiar with). Step two was asking friends for requests. Tell me what you want me to draw for you and I have something to work for. That always works well.

The first one I picked, and I'm still working on it, was a rather daunting assignment: a space vista from Battlestar Galactica, which I'm currently watching with great enjoyment. I've got quite some experience with black and white space scenes, for obvious reasons, but colour has always posed a particular challenge for me. For some reason I can never quite manage to restrict myself to a set, narrow scheme, but all too often expand into all the hues of the rainbow and with it turn anything into a carnival of gaudiness. Why do I do that? So with this picture I really did some groundwork on the composition, contrast, colour scheme... I won't quite get it right, right away (I mean; it's taken me years to remotely do black & white properly, so comprehending colour will take some time), but they're good steps to take.

I haven't chosen the best assignment for colour though; a big space scene will inevitably need more different tones in a wider range than a single portrait. But this is still a valuable learning experience in terms of composition et cetera. Once all the requests are done I'll be 200% better at this, so I'm looking forward to that. Besides, I found out I really enjoy painting digitally. Painter's quite good at mixing and matching paint. I love the litte random quirks that occur when you're daubing along; the unforeseen grades when two strokes mingle. I love it when you can see that something was painted with great expression, with rough edges still there, and the sweat of the painter on the canvas. So many people go for the sickeningly perfect airbrushiness that digital painting can all too easily suck the life out of your work with. In that respect, I'm happy that I've only now started doing things digitally, but learned the ropes properly, outside of the computer, with real paint, real pencils and real ink.

You'll see the results dripping in some day, most notably on my Deviantart account (captainaugust, simply named), whence the requests came. I'm not promising anything of quality though.

Roderick.