Story & Art by Carl Tsui

Articles categorized "Sketches"

In the Zone

A few times every year I get the itch to try my hand at digital painting. The results so far have generally been disappointing. My artistic background is very much rooted in line. Painting is the polar opposite and requires a fundamentally different approach based on blocking values. It's hard to rewire your brain, but therein lies the challenge.

Anyway, last night I decided it was time again to see how much I suck. I decided to do so by painting using what I call the Marta Dahlig approach. Just lay down colour without even a sketch and build from there. Insanely the reverse of how I work that for her yields incredible results.

I warmed up by doing this partial copy paint of an Asura from Guild Wars 2. Approximately 30-50 minutes. I was not trying to do an accurate copy. Just too lazy to do a character design and this guy was on my desktop wallpaper.


Then I moved on to painting this straight from my head without any references. I cut out colour to really just focus on value for a change. Approximately 60-70 minutes.

Speed Head

Aside from 2 horizontal flips on the second piece to check for mistakes (which helped) I just sat down and started laying down values using the Flat Oils brush in Painter. No layers, no sketches, no real conscious methodology. Surprisingly it just all came together. I got into the zone and cranked the image out. I do not crank out anything. Nothing. I'm slow and meticulous. An hour is great time in my book. In all fairness these are not finished pieces, but neither are they that far from completion. I really tried to not focus on detailing areas ahead of others (which I always do despite my knowing better). That helped me keep moving and I think I'm starting to understand the benefits even though I know I'll continue to struggle with this.

The revelation for me here was that for the first time I was able to do a character sketch by painting as opposed to pencils and reach a concept just as fast (I think faster). The fact that I'm even posting this means I've stepped out from the level of "hideous" to "all right" so that's an improvement. Most exciting is that I managed to let go of old habits and it took me to a place that's the start of yet another artistic road to explore.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 12:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time)

Articles categorized "Sketches"