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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Art - Developing Taste and Value of Copying

Eye study based on reference using "paint roller"
In addition to doing quite a bit of traditional work (mainly figures, NSFW obviously) I have started to explore digital medium. Even though I enjoy the feel of physical medium, going digital allows you to experiment and go fast. Most grievous mistakes can be fixed. This isn't possible in physical work always or it will take a significant amount of effort at least.

It is surprising how well skills gained in physical world translate digital world. Observation, values, colors, it's all more or less the same. It is much easier to reach certain colors when going digital, though. If you work with something like pastel, getting the color you are after can be difficult. This is something I am learning to do still. Same goes for watercolor. The range of yellows is very limited compared to something like blue for instance.

Copy of Bird Sirin

Developing Taste

As a part of "going digital" I have been trying to develop my taste. Sergey Kolesov has become one of my favorites. There is something special in his works. They read very well and have that grungy feel I like. I would like to assimilate a part of that into my personal style.

Often digital works of art look too smooth or finished. You can achieve this using physical mediums too but it's way harder. Some applications, such as ArtRage or Painter, go to great extents to mimic the physical world. It is possible to achieve similar results using textured brushes. For me good digital work is all about certain clarity mixed with grunge.

Copy of The Moth King
In order to understand a couple of things better and learn the tools (ArtRage 4, Corel Painter Lite) I have begun to make copies of Sergey's work. Generally I spend roughly 20-30 minutes per piece and try to work fast. Big strokes and observations first, refinement later. For now it's about getting the basics on some level before moving further.

Due to the time constraint I cannot get too attached to some detail and I can afford to make mistakes. Sometimes doing a piece a couple of times allows you to capture certain aspects better on subsequent tries. I also try to work using different tools to get an idea of what sort of output you get out of each.

I suppose I could try to simplify my approach even further. Maybe doing studies with just two or three tones with even less time could be a good next step. Just capturing the values right makes for a believable picture.


I think doing these small little studies has taken me to the right direction. I know I have tons to learn about both physical and digital mediums. In some strange way they seem to complement each other.

I would recommend doing this type of work. Pick some works of an artist you like and copy away. You might be surprised to notice how much you can learn just by doing that. It will also give new kind of appreciation for the original art. You will notice things you have missed earlier.