Why The Beautiful Line?

A site dedicated to the art of drawing and painting, The Beautiful Line is an open forum for the sharing of information and inspiration about the drawing and rendering process in digital and traditional media.

This blog is created for all those who share a love of drawing and are enticed by the potential of a blank piece of paper, canvas, or board to create a unique work of art. This space is dedicated to the open sharing of information and experiences concerning drawing. Included here are tutorials on drawing and rendering a variety of subjects in easily accessible media.

Why the Beautiful Line? As a long time professional illustrator, artist, and instructor, I still believe that the most powerful tool for image making is the simple pencil, pen, or brush. In an era of fantastic advances in digital arts with the power to create new worlds of amazing realism, the pencil drawing remains an exquisitely elegant tool for expressing thoughts and ideas. With this in mind, I view it as a personal mission as an instructor to encourage students to draw their ideas first, before developing concepts within a software program.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Translating Your Drawing Style Into Paint

"Duke Ellington", 8x8 inches, Acrylic Paint and graphite in Canvas Paper

Trying to maintain the loose quality established in the drawing while moving into paint is not always easy. I have had many efforts turn into exercises in overworking an illustration. More recently, I have found that allowing myself to use only larger brushes to complete the entire painting, forces me to avoid becoming overly involved in rendering out fine details. The result has been a fresher looking and more painterly style. I used nothing smaller than a half inch flat brush on this painting. I was amazed at how much detail could be rendered using the corners of a larger brush.

It also helps to block in the entire painted area with large strokes to establish the basic tones and hues. This painting was created from black and white photo reference. I was able to choose a palette of yellow and green for the sweater and background. These colors provide a bit of complimentary contrast with the magenta in the shirt and the skin tones. The illustration is treated as a vignette at the edges to allow the original drawing to show through.

As you can see in the detail above the pencil sketch still shows through in places. This is the result of a conscious decision to work in a semi-transparent mode throughout the painting. I used very little water in mixing my paints and relied on matte medium instead. I thinned the paint to the consistency of melting butter, working up from a base of raw sienna by adding basic shadows first and finishing with semi opaque tones for highlights.  

Detailed work in the face required switching down to a quarter inch flat brush. This is the smallest size brush I allowed myself to use, and I refused to use any rounds for portrait. Why avoid rounds? I find that these pointed brushes lure me into rendering details too soon and tend to cause me to tighten up as I paint. The whole point is to stay loose from beginning to end, while finding ways to hint at details rather than render them out.

No comments:

Post a Comment