After watching Matt Kohr's (http://ctrlpaint.com/) video on material spheres, I realized that I needed to start practicing better surface identification, especially since I've been really focused on different types of lighting lately. To reach that goal, I've created a template that I'll use to make multiple material studies of different surfaces under different lighting conditions.
I realized that I had been depending far too much on photo-textures on any material that wasn't skin or clothes, and so I hope that this will broaden my confidence when painting alternate textures under different lighting conditions.
The other goal of this project is to get better at color sampling visually (no eye-dropper tool allowed) and have a better understanding of the differences in value across multiple surface types.
These are really quite fun to make, especially because I'm able to make them quickly and get a MUCH better understanding of the surface I'm trying to render. If you'd like to use this template for your own material studies, it's available here.
Playing around with painting again, this time trying to pay extra close attention to the tonal differences between light and shade in direct sunlight with cast shadows and reflected light. I'm quite happy with this piece so far.
I'm also trying to limit myself from excessively saturated color palettes, as well as limiting the harshness of highlights and speculars for a more diffused, uniform look.
I've been trying to work with applying blocks of color directly to the canvas, rather than my more methodical (and often wooden) method of slow sketching followed by blocking in color and renders. I need to tighten up the creature's face, but I'm actually quite happy how the gentleman turned out. I don't know if I'll make this into a finalized version, but I feel it would be fun to do something with these two again.
In addition to the bear this morning, here are a selection of pictures I did for the ever popular subreddit r/redditgetsdrawn. It's a very welcoming place where people upload images of themselves to be drawn in whatever style you wish (generally speaking.) It's an excellent place to go for a quick warm up or idea sketch, as most of these took under 20 minutes. As you can see, for rendering I used the softer brush and eraser to sculpt the lines and render all on one layer. I'm still playing around with different coloring techniques, but it seems that a layer above the line art set to multiply works fairly well. The only problem is it eliminates the pre-existing highlights, so one needs to go back and repaint those in. It's a bit of an inconvenience, but it gives you a chance to go over your highlights one more time and make sure they're rendered the way they should be. The more you have to redraw something, the more practice you get to make sure its accurate. After that, a quick gloss over with a high opacity white pumps up the highlights and adds shines and specular lighting for the final pass.
For today's warm up sketch, I focused on using the technique mentioned previously about using the eraser to shape and shade the figure. I need to gain more confidence with using bigger brushes, especially in the rendering stage because the brush-strokes are pretty visible in this one. Regardless, I had a lot of fun with it today, and I think it made for a rather fun warm-up sketch. I think using the paper overlay for the BG helped too, but I'll play around with that and maybe scan in some images. A high-res scan of a toothy watercolor paper makes for a really good texture overlay that helps make digital pieces pop. More at 11.
My nephew lost a tooth recently, and inspired this particular piece. Full size -here-. Now, even though this started out as a quick sketch/joke image, it quickly turned into a very fun exercise in edge control and limiting myself with layers. I've always had a bit of an addiction to layers in Photoshop, and have recently been trying to work on single layer images to force myself to really consider the image as is, rather than saying to myself, "Oh, I'll just fix that later on another layer." Invariably, that particular vein of thought is forgotten, and the image looks sloppy. That, or I'll have to look through many many different layers to find the one that has the thing I'm trying to fix on it. This technique however is very simple, and I've used it successfully before on both a Jelly-Fish and a Mermaid (NSFW). Working with only black and white, and a brush with opacity and flow controlled by pen-pressure, I use this to paint in the lines, and then use the eraser to sculpt in the line by erasing from the outside in.
A collection of sketches,