There are certain processes I have come to follow when creating a digital painting. First and foremost for me is to draw the individual elements. At one time I would have tried to set them on the same piece of paper and worked with them where they were, not allowing myself the freedom to rethink the layout of the final image. Because I struggled so much to find time to draw or paint, I had a bad habit of giving up on ideas if they did not work out right away. I am now thankful for Gimp allowing me to correct parts of an image without affecting the larger painting, much as word-processor allows a two finger typist to complete a large number of short stories. Another thought on drawing the initial images is that mine are always drawn freehand. Even if I struggle to get the image right, I still use my drawing. It is an integrity issue for me.
Once I have the drawings done, I scan them into the computer as a jpegs. As I have gotten more comfortable using Gimp, I have learned to keep the elements separate until I am ready to place them into the final picture. I take each image and make the drawings sit on a transparent background. Then I create a transparent layer above or below the drawing layer, depending on where I think I will have trouble working on the image. This is where I will paint the actual artwork. In addition, I will add another layer below these, which will become a temporary background that can be changed as needed to better see the painting I am working on.
Next comes the under painting. This is where I just put the basic colors on the image such as skin tone, hair color, or fabric color. I don’t work on details at this point; I just want to completely fill in the areas I intend to work on with their basic colors. After the under painting is done, I will begin the true creation of the individual pieces. The detail work is the longest part of any painting for me.
When I have the parts done as much as I can or want, I will copy them into a larger final image as different layers. I like to keep them in layers until the very end in case I need to adjust their position without affecting anything I have done on the background piece I placed them on. However, there comes a point in most images where I have to combine the layers into one to help with connecting them into one coherent picture. My current habit is to hold off as long as I can. At this point it is all about making adjustments around the parts to make them fit the larger image. Then I tinker with the painting until I am done.
I just realized that I had not posted anything for my $5 a month patrons. I ask for forgiveness since I have been fighting a sinus infection, which is making me queasy a lot. To make amends, I will post last weeks and this weeks pictures together.
The first image is a photo I did for art class back in the eighties. The title is “Healing the Dark Crystal”, which means it is a painting of the Gelfling Jen preparing to make the Dark Crystal whole again. This is one of the few acrylic paintings still around from that time frame. I loved working with the colors and contrast of light to dark. Also, trying to capture the translucency of the crystal was fun. Obviously, the image comes from the movie “The Dark Crystal” directed by Jim Henson after the success of Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back”.
The second image is a collection of random drawings and sketches I have done over the years. There are a lot of skulls and a dragon. Also, an early study for the painting “Rodeo” that you can find on my Deviantart page. I started reworking “Rodeo” as a digital painting, but put it aside when the Tiger kept begging me to work on it and the fact that I could not come to terms with the background for “Rodeo”. Hopefully, as I work on other images, something will come along. Anyway, enjoy these scribbled ideas and painting from my past.
I uploaded another $5 reward to my Patreon page. It is the drawing I used to make a Christmas present for my sister who loves diving. I do not currently have a photo of the finished painting I did in oils, but will add it as soon as I can. One thing I like to see from artist are the drawings they do for paintings. Several Science Fiction and Fantasy artist collectible card sets show their well-known book covers and images along with little vignette drawings of earlier versions or similar works. I found myself wishing they had made more of some of the drawing. They were that good.