View Full Version : Art Question

12-01-11, 11:45
Hi All

As some of you know from my previous thread im really trying to up my game with my colouring and backgrounds at the moment as that has always been a sour point of my pictures.

I think the thing i do is not trusting myself, i pick a light source but only approach it gently so theres not much contrast etc i think im afraid ill make it too dark and ruin it or something like that or i dint trust the colours im putting down.

Sorry pouring it all out here but i just wandering how to you guys know what tones to use, i looked at tutorials and things like adding purple to skin tone i would never have thoughft of, but how do you know for other things.

Like example im working on an egyptian backdrop for a Lara pick at the mo ( below) and ive added greens and blues etc to the water and the surrounding area to get the blue reflecting off the stone work but at the moment im just staring at it saying well obviously i need a yellow, brown, orangey maybe but then im just not trusting myself to put it on the piece and create all the dimension and tones

I was just wandering how you all approach it as your work is just so stunning and clean and mine always seems so messy.

Thanks in advance guys sorry to rabbit on.


12-01-11, 12:03
What I think you should do is pick a light source, like in the drawing itself, and pick a base colour, and with that colour either plot out where the light hits or where the shadows are. That way you will know which direction the light will be coming onto the objects in the painting and with that method you can pick the tones you want for shadows and light.

I hope that helped. :o

12-01-11, 12:36
Well everyone has their own way to do things because everyone has their own style, especially when it comes to digital painting. I for one, am fond of realistic-looking fantasy art. Like Boris Vallejo, Luis Royo and Joe Jusko. So I try to - i don't know what word to use - understand (?) those kind of images images. Just look at them and notice things, how they are made. WHat I found out when researching those articts is that realistic art doesn just HAPPEN out of the imagination. You need reference in order for things not to look stiff and just odd :p Just like lovely Joe Jusko shows in his TR: The greatest Treasure of all.

http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g154/NightWish6969/th_Thegreatesttreasureofall-43.jpg (http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g154/NightWish6969/Thegreatesttreasureofall-43.jpg)

http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g154/NightWish6969/th_Thegreatesttreasureofall-44.jpg (http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g154/NightWish6969/Thegreatesttreasureofall-44.jpg)


See how he uses photos he took with appropriate lightning? I think this is what you need. Finding reference with the necessary level of contrast for you. PLUS fortunately when it comes to digital painting things are even easier. You have Brightness/Contrast, Dodge tool adjustments and Colour Balance. You can for example duplicate the layer and start experimenting with it, so that you do not fear that you might mess up what you have done so far.
Also another thing useful is, when starting a pic, to not leave the background colour white but using the main colour of the whole painting. In your case looks like that would be a dark golden-ish brown. And start colouring with an airbrush or a brush with low opacity so that every colour you use has a bit of the main colour in it. This will help for every object to look situated in the painting's space, not just cut out and stuck there.

Hope that helps ;) I am also looking for ways to improve that in my art so I am looking forward to reading more replies here!

12-01-11, 12:44
^^ Very good:)

You're asking for one of the greatest secrets and mysteries of painting.:o
When you thought on this picture, while you were doing it, what was your idea?

I think you should close your eyes and think a while on how you imagined this sequence.
It was lit the whole room? lighting only focused on Lara?
What did you want to have real significance in the picture? The whole scene was important?
All these questions must be answered to know how you color it. :o

12-01-11, 15:24
Peanut made a very good suggestion as far as light source goes. :tmb: That's what I usually do, I start by choosing a light tone and a dark tone, and paint the very basic shapes of shadows and lights to define the light source.

But TBH, I too have a hard time colouring digitally. The colours never seem to come out natural enough to me, they always feel stiff and plastic, unless I have a reference to pick the colour scheme from - and that's what I usually do, I look for pictures with the basic colours I want, pick those basic colours and start working from there. For example, when I painted portraits of characters in Rapture, I used screenshots from Bioshock to pick the colours.

To me it's much easier with coloured pencils or acrylics: I just use a base colour and blend lots of approximate tones in the same space until I reach the shade I like. But this is because natural pigments actually blend, they don't just overlap each other which is what makes digital colouring so hard for me.

On the other hand, digital painting programs do allow you to change the brightness and colour balance a posteriori: if at some point I don't like the exact hue or shades so far, I play with those processing tools a bit.

...Needless to say, I don't think there's much fun in digital painting. :p

young Lara Croft
12-01-11, 16:50
^but it's less messy!

My point of view is different
I would suggest following tutorials mostly, try to sketch on paper first when you learn about the relation between volume and light then you've just mastered a part of the whole process. I would like to see you learn first,in the beginning there is no shame to copy for practice, trying to take samples from the same color palettes and getting the proportions right.

Another thing please try to meditate for a sec : is realistic digital painting for you? can you handle it?

12-01-11, 16:54
@Encore; Yup, when digitally painting I find it hard to get proportions to look right and colours to look good and also, when colouring it sometimes looks bad with me and that's why I am using Traditional methods in art these days.

@young lara croft; Yup, it is less messy. :p

young Lara Croft
12-01-11, 17:07
btw Mr Joe Jusko does the same thing like John Howe!

12-01-11, 18:47
btw Mr Joe Jusko does the same thing like John Howe!

Every artist who aims to draw people and animals in a realistic way do that. I just have an example of Joe Jusko :p

young Lara Croft
13-01-11, 07:30
^ I remember Mucha did reference too !

13-01-11, 12:40
Thanks for all the amazing advice guys.

I am going to attack it now with the darkest and lightest and repost :hug: