Practicing Your Art Anywhere.

ART – Practicing Your Art Anywhere.

Lara Croft Digital color Study


The above color study was drawn on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.  I used the Sketchbook Pro App.

Unlike the Supergirl study I did a few weeks back, this one used a more traditional digital brush.  I like the way it felt more than the previous one.

The reason I painted this study using my table was because I did it during lunch with my friends from work. We went out to get comics and afterwards, we eat.

While we ate and talked, I painted this.  It was a good opportunity.  Considering the circumstances the study turned out nice.

Which leads me the point of this post, if you really want to practice your drawing, or painting, you can do it anywhere.  Just make sure you bring your art stuff with you.

Before we left, I made use to bring my tablet.  I also planned out what I’d do when we sat down to eat before we actually went.  That way, once we started eating I knew that I’d be painting.

Both my friends are artists so they didn’t mind that I painted as we talked.  It was  good time, with a fun conversation.

Practice your art everywhere.

Please Share this, if you like it:

Share to Google Buzz
Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Practicing Painting Skin

ART – Practicing Painting Skin

Bruce Lee Color study


Since skin is so difficult to get right, I thought I’d practice by painting a color study a shirtless Bruce Lee. Once again, I limited myself to doing this study using only one brush size.

This helps me, not get into all the details and allows me to see the main colors and shapes.  If I can succeed in making the study look like what it is, without the details, I’m on the right track.

The foot he’s standing on was cut off in the reference photo I was using. I didn’t feel comfortable making it up so I left it alone.

There’s an awful lot more colors in a skin than “peach” or “dark browns.” When studying the reference photo I saw lots of reds and dark reds in the shadows.

They weren’t quite brown.  There where some browns but mostly reds.

You can see the colors I thought I saw in the reference photo above the study.  I didn’t use most of those colors. I didn’t touch any of the purples or bright reds.

I usually see a lot of purples and blues in skin shadows but not this time.

I’d like to say I’m starting to get the hang of things.  I might do one or two more skin studies and then try to do a finished portrait.

That will be the test to see how much I’ve learned by doing these studies.



Please Share this, if you like it:

Share to Google Buzz
Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Seeing How Painting Practice Applies to Coloring Drawings

ART – Seeing How Painting Practice Applies to Coloring Drawings

Draw Fu Perspective Secrets

I had to take some time away from my color studies to color a header drawing made for my perspective lesson post over at my other site The Drawing Website.

In the post I show the process I went through to draw the line work.  Here though, I thought I’d write about the coloring process.

The reason I’m doing so is because I took the opportunity to color the drawing using a lot of the techniques I’ve been using in my color studies.  Turns out, the processes are complimentary.

That should be obvious of course, I just didn’t know how complimentary they would be.

In general, I think the final colored drawing came out okay.  I didn’t really have a vision for what it should look like going in.  I was making it up as I went.

I’m not entirely sure that was the best approach.

I colored it all without reference. I was made up the colors and values shapes.  I began with the shadow colors and then added in the colors in the light.

I also used two different programs to color this with.  Not out of choice. I simply didn’t have access to the program I began coloring the drawing in.

The programs I used where Photoshop and Manga Studio 5.  The character in pink with the big afro, I colored using Photoshop.  The rest of the drawing I colored using Manga Studio 5.

It was an interesting experiment.  Using Manga Studio 5, I used the “oil paint,” simulator option.  It was a bit awkward at first to use it.  Little by little, the more I used it, I began understand it. By the time I was done with the coloring, I loved the tool.

Too bad there isn’t a brush in Photoshop that’s like it.  From now on, if I get a chance to color in Manga Studio 5, I’ll use it every time.  I diffidently want to try doing some studies with it.

In the end, my take away from coloring this drawing:

  • A preliminary color thumbnail might be a good idea.
  • Painting techniques apply easily to coloring line art.
  • The Manga Studio 5 “oil paint” tool is pretty cool.
  • Coloring a drawing like a painting takes long time.

Some of the links above are affiliate links. Thanks for your support.




Please Share this, if you like it:

Share to Google Buzz
Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Supergirl Color Study

ART – Supergirl Color Study

Supergirl Color Study

Painted using the Android Sketchbook Pro App on my Wacom Cintiq Hybrid. It was a different experience than doing these studies in Photoshop.

I don’t like how it turned out all that much.  I think it was the brush I was using.  At first I wanted one with texture and bristles.  But it turned out to be too “rough.”

The study could only be exported at a low resolution as well, which is something I don’t like about the Sketchbook Pro App.  Otherwise it’s a great App.  I think next time I’ll try using a more Photoshop like digital brush.

This time around I learned I needed to practice skin in bright light a lot more.  I also need to watch my proportions when doing these studies.

I was trying to do that multiple colors within one value thing I wrote about last week.  Especially on the torso where there was a lot of skin.  My version turned out darker than the source material version.  I need to do a better job of picking the correct colors next time.

Also I need to make sure I’m simplifying what I’m painting into much simpler shapes so I don’t get lost in the details.

Because of the Holidays (Christmas) it was a bit harder to get more than one color study done.  I really need more practice though.

Please Share this, if you like it:

Share to Google Buzz
Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Painting Observation: Multiple Colors on One Surface

ART- Painting Observation: Multiple Colors on One Surface

Color studies Deathstroke and the doctor


As I study opaque painting by doing thumbnail color studies I’ve come to learn a few helpful things that I hadn’t realized.

As I’ve written before, I’ve tried painting a few portraits and have failed.  One of the reasons the paintings have come out so badly was because of the way the skin would turn out in the paintings.

I would choose a local color in a light area and vary it slightly depending on what plane of the face I was painting. But for some reason, doing this made the skin seem unnatural.  I wasn’t sure why until now.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, even if you’re painting one plane with one value, the local colors within that value may still vary.  In skin especially. Since skin is translucent, how much or little blood or blemishes are in an area change the local color of said area.

In other words, you DON’T use only ONE local color in the area you’re painting, but rather a few.  As long as the local colors match the value of the area, varying the local colors makes the area seem natural.

This same principle can also be seen in other surfaces as well.  Noticing when it happens can make the difference between making something look natural and making something seem unnatural.

Of course, it isn’t an absolute principle and there are local colors that are completely without variation. Still, being aware that it can happen, helps.

Above I painted two color studies. One of Deathstroke: The Terminator and the other is The Doctor.  My study of The Doctor isn’t a very good likeness, but it was difficult to do so when I limited the size of my brush to one size.  The point was to study the colors not to get a likeness.  Still, it kinda bugs me.


Please Share this, if you like it:

Share to Google Buzz
Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

A Lesson Learned About Painting Opaque in Color.

ART – A Lesson Learned About Painting Opaque in Color.

Digital Color Studies

As I wrote about last week, I’m trying to build up my skill in painting opaque.  This week I tried once again to paint a face.  A chose a subject that was in color but had very stark contrast between shadow and light. I thought by doing so, I’d have a slightly easier time of it.

Well, I has partly right.

On the one hand, I was able to easily make out and paint the light and shadow patterns.  On the other had, once I did so, and started to try and finish the painting, it started to quickly fall apart.  I ended up with a painting that looked amateurish and “dead.”

There was simply something fundamentally wrong with the colors I’d chosen and the way I had approached the painting.  The problem was, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing wrong.


The process painting from Pinterest

Around that time, I came across some process photos of paintings, on Pinterest.  The thing that struck me was the first photo of each painting.  It was so abstract and very simple, but I wasn’t completely sure what they where doing and why.

So I decided to get some help from a dead art teacher, Andrew Loomis.

I had a pdf copy of his book, The Eye of the Painter.  I read three pages into the first chapter and he’d answered my question.

Here’s what I realized I was doing wrong. I was being far too impatient.  The truth is,  I didn’t have enough experience doing what I ought to be doing, which was observing and seeing color paterns.  I wasn’t seeing the painting holistically and abstract.

I wasn’t seeing painting for what it was. An abstraction of strokes of color on a canvass that, when viewed as a whole, it creates an image.  I was trying so hard to “render” and “paint,” that I wasn’t “seeing.”

This made me understand what that first panel of the process photos where all about.  That abstract group of colors and shapes is the crusial part of a painting.  If you don’t get that grouping of colors right, you’re painting will fall apart like mine had.

The other process painting from Pinterest

The other process painting from Pinterest

I realized that instead of trying to do a finished painting, I should practice seeing and putting down colors from the subjects I wanted to paint.

So I decided to start doing color studies. Small thumbnail color painting with no details.  My objective was to see the whole picture and try to harmonize the colors I saw, putting them in the right places, in the right way. Since I wasn’t going for a finished painting and I was trying to avoid detail, I limited my brush to only one size. I couldn’t reduce or increase the size.

This forces me to only focus on the colors and their placement.

The result was the color studies above. I was shocked and amazed how simply putting abstract blotches of colors in the right places made the sketch actually look like the subject.

Painting isn’t about the rendering, but about the abstract combination of colors you place down in the right spots that create the illusion of the subject you’re painting. Without getting this right from the start, no amount of rendering will make the final painting look right.

Before I try to do a finished painting again, I’ll need to do more  color studies.  I need to get the crucial beginning step right before I can move on finished paintings.


Please Share this, if you like it:

Share to Google Buzz
Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

The Story of a Digital Painting of an Orange

ART – The Story of a Digital Painting of an Orange



I’m taking a small break from the superhero drawing to brush up and build up some skill in a different form of art. I’m working on my painting.

Earlier in the week, I tried doing something a bit complicated. I tried painting a face.  Problem was that I wasn’t accustomed to painting opaque. I didn’t have a method to approach the painting.  As I worked on the painting I slowly discovered it.

That said, the painting was a failure and I ended up abandoning it.  Fortunately I had learned a lot from doing it so I decided to give it another go.  This time though, I thought I’d do something a bit less complex. I needed something much more basic.

I had an orange next to me at my desk.  I put a light on it and decided to paint it.

It was crazy hard to do.  I was shocked how difficult it was.  I just don’t have the experience with painting to draw upon.  There are so many painting problem I’ve never solved.  Every brush stroke was a new experience.

I managed to paint it though and it looks pretty descent.  So I’ll give painting another try and see what happens.

What do you think?

Please Share this, if you like it:

Share to Google Buzz
Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Spider-Ham vs. Captain Carrot

SUPERHEROES/ART – Spider-Ham vs. Captain Carrot

GASP! In color!

Spider-Ham vs Captain Carrot


This week’s Superhero vs. Superhero drawing  is a spoof of the famous Superman vs The Amazing Spider-Man cover published in 1976:

Superman vs Spider-Man

The cover was drawn by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano.  I had a very short conversion with Greg Willits (of the Catholics Next Door podcast) which lead me to want to draw the spoof. He’s a big fan of Captain Carrot.

I wanted to spoof the cover but I didn’t want to draw that very detailed background.  It would take too long to replicate.  I went online looking for a black and white copy of the cover. I found one but the jpeg had too low of a resolution. I own a reprint copy of the comic, and in the back there’s an explanation of how the cover was conceived.

There’s a black and white version there.  I scanned that version and that’s what I used for my background.

I took out Supes and Spidey and drew the cartoony characters in there instead.  Only, I found I had to adjust the tower.  Spider-Ham has bigger feet and he’s shorter.  when I drew him on the tower, it didn’t look right.

I ended up taking the tower art and enlarging it so that it looked more like Spider-Ham was on the  tower.

Once all the elements where drawn, I printed the black and white drawing on bristol board.  The line work on the characters where printed in non photo blue but the background was printed in black and white.

I then inked Captain Carrot and Spider-Ham using my good Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.

Once I was done, I scanned the drawing back in and colored it, trying to match the colors of the original cover.  That was a pain, but I did it.

I had an absolute blast working on this drawing.  I had a difficult time, NOT working on it.  All wanted to do was draw it.

While Greg is a big fan of Capt. Carrot, I’m a big fan of Spider-Ham.

See, Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham #15 was the first comic book I’d ever bought when I was in middle school. I bought it at a Circle K near my house.

I’d had comics when I was a little kid but there was something about having bought the comic myself that made me really own it.

Also, I picked it myself for myself and that made a big difference.  It looked fun and silly.

Once I read it, I wanted more and I went back for more.  They eventually cancelled the book but had short eight page Spider-Ham back up stories on some Marvel Tales comics,  which featured Spider-Man.

I picked those up for the Spider-Ham back ups but eventually ended up reading the Spider-Man stories also.  They hooked me and I’ve been reading superhero comics ever since.

This it the first time I’ve ever drawn Spider-Ham and I couldn’t help feeling nostalgic the whole time. It was fun. I hope you like it as much as I liked drawing it.



Please Share this, if you like it:

Share to Google Buzz
Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Wasp vs. Bumblebee

ART/SUPERHEROES – Wasp vs. Bumblebee

Wasp vs Bumblebee


This week, Wasp (Marvel) vs. Bumblebee (DC).  This Superhero vs. Superhero fight is fought by the two women in their respective superhero universes that shrink  down and fly around like a bug.

I never really understood why this was a great super power to have. I just seems like one good smack, and it’s game over.

This drawing was ended up being more difficult to draw than I thought. Mostly because Wasp’s pose was so hard to get right.  And the angle of her head was really hard to draw.

It also didn’t help that the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen I was using is still over saturated with ink. I think I’m going to need to use a different one from now on.

I used a combination of Microns and different brush pens to get this drawing right.  All the preliminary drawing was done digitally and printed out in non-photo blue before being hand inked.

That said, I was really unhappy with Bumblebee’s right hand (the one closest to Wasp) after I had finished inking. Once I scanned in the drawing I redrew it digitally.

Please Share this, if you like it:

Share to Google Buzz
Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal

Magneto vs. Dr. Polaris

SUPERHEROES/ART- Magneto vs. Dr. Polaris

Magneto vs Dr Polaris

This week’s Superhero vs Superhero drawing gave me a lot of trouble. Seeing it, you wouldn’t think it did.

This is Magneto (Marvel) vs Dr. Polaris (DC).   They’re both the “masters of magnetism,” of their respective universes. And of course they’re now chibi refrigerator magnets holding up a drawing my son Ambrose drew when he was two.

The reason this drawing gave a me trouble was because of the lack of real planning.

The first time around I roughed it out and showed it to my wife to see if the joke “read.” I had drawn the two characters their actual size, hanging off a refrigerator.  The problem  was, they were so big, they covered up the fridge and my wife didn’t realize they were magnets.  They just looked like they were floating in a kitchen, in front of a fridge.

I scrapped the idea and simply wasn’t going to do it. I drew the Human Torch vs Fire drawing I posted last week instead.

Then I talked about it with a friend who gave me the idea to make them chibi style magnets.  That’s what I ended up doing.

Thing is, then I got ambitious. I decided I should digitally paint this drawing and not simply ink it. And by “paint,” I meant, not just color but get rid of all the lines and do a full painting.  They’re simple characters, I thought it shouldn’t be a problem.

So I began the process, and quickly realized  two things, one, I couldn’t paint all that well, and two, painting the drawing was going to take WAY too long.

So I quit.  It left me feeling really frustrated and I felt, I’d failed. On top of that, I seemed I wasted a lot of time I need to get other things done.

I had roughed out and cleaned up the drawing digitally. The line work was pretty much done.  Only, I didn’t like it.  I wasn’t sure what to do, but I ended up turning the clean up lines into non-photo blue and printed it out  so I could ink it by hand. Which I did.

And then I had a fight with my Pentel Pocket Brush Pens because the ink was too saturated and wouldn’t let me make subtle lines.  I ended experimenting with a Zebra WF1 Scientific Brush (Small Size) which worked alright. Although,  I think I still like the Tombow Fude Brush Pen I used last week more.

So in the end this simple drawing gave me more trouble than I wanted it to and it left me wanting to paint.  Which I think I”ll start doing soon.

Please Share this, if you like it:

Share to Google Buzz
Share to Google Plus
Share to LiveJournal