More digital paintings…

As you can probably tell, I’ve been focusing almost exclusively on my art lately, which is why I haven’t really updated this page much. I haven’t given up on writing entirely, I’m just having more fun improving my digital painting skills. Here are a few things I’ve done recently that I rather like…

More portraits, both physical and digital…

I’ve been doing quite a bit more sketching and digital painting lately, and recently I started sketching again with actual pencils on actual paper. I’m still doing quite a bit of digital painting in Photoshop, but I’ve found the sketching to be really good practice that has also improved my linework in Photoshop.

For a fun challenge, and to get even more practice in, I’ve been taking part in Meds 50 heads challenge. The idea of the challenge it to commit to finishing 50 portraits in ten days, although the creator says there are no rules and the point is to follow through. That’s actually rather fortunate for me because I’ve nearly come to the end of the ten days and have less than a third of the portraits to show for it. However, I do plan on finishing and I’m learning a lot while having a ton of fun.

I think I might buy myself a new graphics tablet like this one with an actual screen as a reward once I finish, which just might conveniently coincide with my upcoming birthday. Funny how that works. Anyway, here are the portraits I’ve completed so far…

The Sixth Seal on Inkitt…

In case I forgot to mention it here, The Sixth Seal and the first few chapters of the sequel are available to read for free on Inkitt right now. I’ll probably take them down when I’m completely finished with the sequel. I’m working on new covers, yet again, now that I’m getting a little more confident with my digital painting.

Anyway, read them while you can for free, I’ll be adding more chapters to the sequel and keep adding them until it’s finished.

A play of light and shadow…

Here are a couple more portraits I completed this weekend. Both are from photographic reference, but I approached each quite differently. In the first, the one I call Bubble Gum Girl, I did a sketch and then a revised sketch before painting the entire thing in grayscale in order to get the shadows just right. Then I applied the color in several passes using blending layers. Finally, I roughed in the background with an oil brush with thick swift strokes. For the second portrait, the one I call the Bride, I painted everything on one layer using only a Photoshop oil brush. It was a fun challenge that made me think about my brushstrokes more carefully than I normally would because I couldn’t erase. If I wanted to change anything I either had to undo or just paint over the area.

I like them both because of the way light and dark play together. The first is more subtle, but the second actually uses fewer colors to achieve the balance. It’s always nice to try different methods when painting digitally. You never know what you might end up with, and if it’s a complete failure you can just hit delete and never let it see the light of day.

In loving memory…

Here’s a portrait I did of my grandparents from photographic reference. The photo was in pretty bad shape, so I had to make some assumptions and take a little artistic license, but overall I’m pleased with how it turned out.

My grandfather passed away in 2011 at the age of 82, but my grandmother just passed away last Friday. She lived a long and happy life, she was 93.

I’m pretty sure the picture was taken when my grandfather returned home from the war. They look so happy together. It was always one of my favorite photos of them.

I did some research on the patch that looks like an A on his shoulder, and it turns out it was a patch given to soldiers who fought in Germany under General Patton in the push to Berlin. It’s called the seven steps to hell. Like my maternal Grandfather, my Grandpa Bill didn’t talk much about the war. I can’t even imagine what he went through over there and the things he must have seen, but it was obvious from the photograph that he was excited to be back home with his best girl, Betty. Aren’t they just the bee’s knees?

Betty_and_Bill_Finished

 

One more portrait for the weekend…

Just finished this piece. I really like the way it turned out. I had to use some overlay layers to get the neon in the background to look like it was glowing, and there are about 20 different colors in the guy’s face. It definitely took a lot of time to get them all blended properly.

I took a few artistic liberties and it’s definitely not an exact likeness, but you can judge for yourself how well it compares to the original photo…

My latest portrait

I’ve been learning a lot in my online digital painting class over at Paintable. Here’s my latest portrait that I created from photographic reference. I’ve always had difficulty painting hair in portraits and making it look believable, but I’m getting better at it after having gone through the hair exercises in my online classes.

Here’s the progression of this piece from sketch to first grayscale rendering, and then on to coloring and final details.

 

I’ve signed up for a week long portrait painting course over at Paintable, so I should be posting more portraits here in the future. Mt goal is to get good enough at painting digital portraits that I can paint all of my book covers myself and capture the true essence of the characters.

Another round of art classes

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve gotten back into art recently and have started taking classes online. I want to improve enough so that I can make paintings of scenes from my books to use as covers. I’d also like to start painting more portraits. Luckily I found a great new online art class called the Digital Art Academy at paintable.cc.

The particular track I’m following now is called foundations, and it takes you from absolute beginner all the way to painting detailed portraits and landscapes like the pros. The main instructor there, David Belliveau, is a fantastic artist and one of the best digital art instructors I’ve found. You can see some of his work here…

https://davidbelliveau.com

I’ve been having a lot of fun going through all of the lessons and exercises, so I thought I’d post a few here. I’ll make new posts periodically to keep track of my progress.

…and, yes, I’m still writing and posting chapters of The Eyes of Arcadia on Inkitt. I’ll most likely be posting three more chapters by the end of the week. You can read them here.

 

The sketch of the cat was done from this reference photo. It’s my daughter’s cat. She’s a cute little kritten, but she’s pure concentrated evil. I think in this picture she was either contemplating doing something bad or looking disapprovingly at our beagle, Gabby…or possibly both.

Pepper_Cat_Again

Still Life Paintings

I’ve been getting back into digital art lately, and I even enrolled in an online class on Udemy. I’ve been learning some great techniques and doing a lot of practice pieces. It’s definitely easier to go through the trial and error stage in Photoshop where you can delete or undo or erase as often as you like. I suppose that’s why I never really got that into painting on canvas. I was always too afraid I’d mess something up and waste a perfectly good canvas or expensive paints…plus I’m really too lazy to mix paint and clean my brushes.

Anywho, here are a few of my practice pieces. I’ve included the original reference photo followed by my digital painting, with the exception of the tea kettle painting. The original photo was a low resolution download for that one.

A complete set

I’ve finished updating all of the covers for the Protectors series with the Keriann model from DAZ Studio 3D. In each case I prefer the new version. The ability to control the pose, lighting, and best of all the wardrobe, allow me to add more depth. I think the 3D model also blends in with the scene better than the originals. I also think they look more like retro pulp sci-fi covers, which I really like.

Here are the new versions side by side with the originals.

I know it’s hard to believe with all of the covers I’ve posted lately, but I’ve actually been writing too. Plus, I’m out of books I’m working on to make new covers for, so it looks like I’ll have even more time for writing 🙂