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.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hermione Granger Montage

Hermione Granger Digital Illustration

So I moved on the Hermione Granger for another painting and learned a lot more as I worked on this painting. I really layered the paint strokes more fully on her face and hand. I am striving for a more truly oil painted look. The more I work on these the more my inner John Singer Sargent seems to come out. I started with the graphic flat color portraits from last year and have migrated toward this buttery painted look and I am having a lot of fun with the media.

RUPERT GRINT: Digital Painting


Another view of Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley. This painting features a rusted door texture and a burlap pattern imbedded into the background paint strokes.

Harry Potter: Severus Snape

Severus Snape: Digital Portrait 

am hunting for unusual photos of the Harry Potter characters that feature strange lighting or interesting expressions. This painting emerged from a low resolution image with Snape in very low light. The hints of cool toneson his face were translated into a blue, green, lavender, and black palette of paint strokes. It took a while to bring him into focus, but I like the final result. The expression on his face and the colors seem to reflect the conflicted nature of his character.

Harry Potter: Ron Weasley Digital Portrait

RON WEASLEY from Harry Potter

Just finished this week's portrait. I am finishing up a set of paintings of the Harry Potter characters this month. They have made great subjects for practicing painting techniques. I have been studying the work of various portrait and landscape artists like Jeremy Mann and Jeremy Watts who have very energetic approaches to building color on the canvas. These fine artists are teaching me a lot about getting loose with brush strokes and maintaining an impressionistic attitude toward the subject. 

This painting took about 10 hours. 2 years ago if I attempted this it would have taken 20-30 hours and would not have been as strong as a painting. Starting loose and staying loose as long as possible is a big advantage in completing paintings more quickly.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

This painted montage of portraits of Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne was actually assembled as an idea for a portrait study in the summer of 2012 when I was working only in vector. The plan was to do a painting in acrylics. I picked up the rough comp in 2013 and created this finished illustration. The goal was to convey his dynamic personality and the non-stop nature of his daily life as the head of both Fiat and Chrysler.

The painting was an exploration of the range of brushes available in Photoshop. My goal was to create an energetic style of rendering using bold strokes and color. I also took advantage of the ability of Photoshop to simulate color glazes and canvas texture.

Digital Painting: 1968 Pontiac Tempest


This painting took 8 hours. The original shot on which this painting was based was taken at last year's Dream Cruise in the park at 13 Mile and Woodward. The late afternoon light made this Pontiac glow with greens and blues. The background was the bigger challenge. I added the the burst of light on the right and changed the color and light on the trees. This painting is more impressionist in feeling and has a lot more paint strokes to define the background-beginning to feel more like I am actually working with paint.

Digital Painting: Auburn 8 120 Boat-Tail Speedster


I photographed a series of images of this 1929 Auburn Roadster. The hood ornament is so fun to render. They are already works of art so making them into paintings is a pleasure.

Digital Painting: 1965 Pontiac Tempest GTO


Just finished the next painting in my American Muscle Cars series. I am exploring different levels of simplicity in the backgrounds. This painting is the first to include actual textures made by me with gesso and modeling paste.

Digital Painting: 1971 Buick Riviera 1


This high view is another angle of the same Buick Riviera rear view already posted. I was experimenting with an overlay of a watercolor wash when this quite meditative looking image emerged. I like to emphasize the lines of the car in my paintings much as the catalogue shots did back in the 1970s.

Digital Painting: 1971 Buick Riviera 2


This Classic Riviera with the huge wing shaped rear bumper filled my camera's image area when I snapped a picture at the Woodward Dream Cruise. Detroit loved chrome, and so do I as a an artist. I am working on paintings from several angles for this car. Amazingly, I almost passed it up as a subject but turned around and walked back to take a few pictures.

Digital Painting: 1967 Pontiac GTO


I am continuing with my car paintings selecting images to work up as possible prints and posters. This shot was a challenge because of the way the car was wedged in between other vehicles. I like to use what is there as my source for a painted composition since it creates a certain uniqueness to each image. This Pontiac design was ahead of its time in 1967.

Digital Painting: 1946 Buick Super Eight


I photographed this Buick Eight at the Concours d'Elegance in 2010. The original intent was to paint these in acrylic but I find that Photoshop has evolved to the point where I can get a painterly look without touching a brush.

Digital Painting: Buick Estate Wagon


I am working on a series of car paintings based on selected photos I have taken over the last several years. I am thinking of marketing them at shows along with paintings of Detroit area landmarks. My goal is to achieve a fully painted look using Photoshop and Painter. This painting was created as a mixture of painted strokes and filters. I hope the effect will be of a timeless moment where sun and shadow have combined beautifully.