Sunday, March 15, 2009

Back to digital?

I keep hearing that digital is the wave of the future. Actually, if you recall my meeting with Donato he went as far as to say that painting for illustration was dead. Well, I still don't agree with that but something compelled me to see where my digital chops were these days.

I aimed to kill two birds with one stone with this piece. I've noticed I have a tendency to want really dramatic light patterns on the model when I'm working with the figure. I think it's something I've picked up watching a lot of beautifully lit movies and television shows (Lost, in particular). After all, "light is the great designer". But I'm slowly working towards having more well-lit models and not just "TA-DA!". So the first challenge was to use a picture that wasn't so dynamic with the light composition. Something natural. (Though I should have used a photo that wasn't lit in the luminous nightmare that was my school, where the light was anything but natural.)

Second I wanted to create the entire image digitally. I'm still undecided when it comes to digital illustration, which is funny because it wasn't that long ago that I considered myself a digital illustrator. I think there's definitely a place for it, and there are people who are doing fantastic work with pixels, but there's too much out there that looks the same. To paraphrase a teacher of mine, you can walk into any high school in America and find dozens, if not hundreds, of kids who can do it. I personally would like to create something that my client's niece or nephew couldn't cobble together.

That being said, this digital painting was created on two (count 'em, two) layers. I have been infected with the traditional approach to a painting! The next time I give it a crack I'll be sure to use multiple layers, and masks, and blending options and, and, and... The most difficult part for me was I could think of my palette and know what colors to mix in what amount for the color I wanted, but with Photoshop I wasn't afforded that luxury. (Another reason I love painter...) Sure, I could have imported the photo I was working from and just use the eyedropper to get the exact color I wanted, but I didn't want to do that. Somehow it felt like cheating. All in all I'm pleased with the results. I may go back in to darken some bits up here and there, but I like it. I think my bias for square brushes shines through. I was frustrated I couldn't just twist the tool in my hand to get the shape I wanted. I know I could fork out a few hundred bucks to get the newer tablets, but I think I'll play with it some more and then decide...

It just all still feels too clean to me.

4 x 6 inches (288 x 743 pixels). Photoshop CS3. 9 x 12 Intuos 2 tablet. 1 1/2 hour.


Brian Bowes said...

Strange, this computer magic. You know, it's possible to utilize the best of both words, the digital, and the other world... whatever it's called.

There was a talk at the Society of Illustrators (online) that was with Donato Giancola and Dan Dos Santos, moderated by Irene Gallo, where Dan made many interesting comments about the whole digital-traditional methodology. Basically, he was saying that the computer does somethings really well, like a glow effect.

You may want to consider what each medium does and does well, and go with that. I don't know, I am still wrestling with the same thing.

Brian Bowes said...

Another note,
remember what Thom Ang once said about taking that print out, painting on it, scan it again, rinse and repeat.

Man, don't get me going on options.