Thursday, April 30, 2009

Horse Painting Step-By-Step

I'm going to do a couple posts on painting horses in Photoshop. Here's the lay-in of the drawing for the horse, performing a pretty dressage pirouette. Of course, before any painting happens at all, it's most important to get the drawing right. This guys' left front leg went through at least 10 redraws to get it to look natural and correct. Bust out your anatomy books and look at photos to get the shapes and lines correct. Sketch in a rough skeleton (not a real one, just some lines and scribbles where the joints go) and some basic shapes to begin....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dressy Sketchy

Here's a decent sketch I did for a dress design over at my "American Duchess" blog. I drew the human figure out first, then "dressed" her on a different layer in Photoshop. The enormous wig/hair makes her head look very large, but the proportion of the whole ensemble is correct.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Lil' Gibson

I was looking at beautiful Lenox figurines today (see them HERE) and when I got a chance to sketch something of my "own" this is what popped out. I like that it's unfinished. I don't think I've ever drawn anybody, anything, any costume from the Belle Epoch. I generally don't like that fashion, so why does it suddenly seem appealing!? Maybe it's the rash of BBC productions and perfect porcelain Lenox dolls I've been innundated with lately....

Monday, April 06, 2009

Garden Avi

I can't resist the scrap! I'll ride the scrap wave for awhile, 'til I find something else cool and dart off spastically in that direction.

I thought that "The Avi Book" (working title) could have not just cartoony images, but all kinds of pics, doodles, scribs, drawings, and a bound shrine of Avi-love. What do you all think?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Equine Light Study

Another study of light on horse. I sketched the horse from memory, and started in on the painting, trying to remember what I learned the other day with Stubbs. I referred back to "Mambrino" to check my accuracy, and adjust things. The shapes are starting to make more sense, and I think there is an element of memorization as far as the lighting landmarks goes - divet here, highlight there. I need to know the anatomy behind it, though, and it will make much more sense.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Happy Birthday Sketchblog!

This ole' Sketchblog turned 3 years old on March 23rd! As a belated birthday present, I finally FINALLY figured out how to change the template to something entirely more awesome, and very much ME (at least the "me" that is right now). I hope you all enjoy the new look and keep coming back for more!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

And Now For Something Scrappy

OK, I know, this isn't "real" art, just design (and yes, it is design), but I needed a break from what I was doing today and something quick I could moosh together for instant satisfaction. Voile, Scrappy Owl. I mean, c'mon, who doesn't like a bunch of vintage images tossed together, complete with an owl on top? Plenty of people make a living doing this kind of thing....


Yesterday I had a fabulous time painting horses at work, the finished pieces for which I will someday be able to post up here (in a humungoid art dump sure to come sometime after June/July). I do not have Corel Painter on my work computer, so I spent a little time developing a set of Photoshop brushes to mimic the hairy-oily effects I love so much in Painter, and those effects that have come to be essential to me when painting horses.

I'm not a very experienced horse painter. I've maybe drawn 100,000 sketches and doodles of horses, throughout my 25 years, but I've only recently begun to render them both tonally and in full color. I think now that it's not so much the anatomy of the horse that my professors tried so hard to make us all fear, but instead the play of light on the musculature, all tucked neatly under a thin, tight, glossy skin. Simple shapes suddenly become not-so-simple when you look at a photo or a painting of a horse's flank. Even the lighting on their barrel-shaped tummies is not how I would expect essentially a cylinder to be rendered. It's perplexing!

Enter George Stubbs, the quinticential painter of horses, in his time (the 18th c.) as well as today. Stubbs is maybe known better in the artist mainstream as the fellow who did those intricate anatomical plates found in quite a few animal anatomy books. However, he was also a very successful painter who was commissioned to paint the studs, Thoroughbreds, Arabs, and other shockingly expensive and high-bred horses of the English nobility. There are many of Stubbs' paintings that do not appeal - skinny, posed, wild-eyed equines, or horses that look cartoonish and fat. We must not forget the aesthetics of the time. When it comes to that lighting and the anatomy, however, the paintings are simply incredible. They are both strong and subtle, with perfect light and color. The horses may not look like *real* horses (as in a photograph), but they all seem full of personality, uniqueness, and as if you could walk up and have a conversation.

Anyway, I spent a lot of time with "Whistlejacket" (coolest horse name ever, btw) and "Mambrino" yesterday, and feel I've come a long way in the rendering of the horse for having studied those two paintings so closely. I still do not, however, have a firm grasp on WHY the light performs the way it does, so for my warm-up sketches today, I took a look at some basic musculature in the flank, and tried to deconstruct how exactly things connected, moved, and would be lighted. I've a long way to go!!
And in the spirit of coolness, I used my favorite "old paper" background. Enjoy!