Monday, November 29, 2010

I Cheat Towards the Pretty


A few years back, I refused to do digital art at all. I considered it "cheating".
After all, "the materials don't make the artist", right? Or at least they shouldn't. I resented the praise that digital artists got for "smooth lines" and all that shiny crap you can do so easily with a computer and tablet.

I didn't download gimp until I felt really good about pixels.

(Some weird thing for a pixel site I was active on)

I refused to get a tablet until I knew I could work with the touchpad on my laptop.

("The Last Great Touchpad Project")

I denied myself use of pressure sensitivity, a undo/redo button, by using that silly little paint program on facebook.


But I've realized that in the end, no one cares about the process but me. My job is to serve the end result, and find The Pretty.
I can make more, and better pictures if I use the tools I have.

So let's draw a weird-ass baby!


First, I make a trace a little map for myself. I've used gridding before, but I have problems keeping things feeling three dimensional that way.

Then I create a new document, and start blocking in general areas of color and shadow, using the original as a reference.


Then I spend a million years layering, and relayering, until the form is solid enough to remove the lines.

That's when the real cheating starts.
I've gotten to the point where my free hand sketch will almost line up with the original anyway. But why go through the trouble? I know I can do it, so at this point, I just overlay the drawing with the original and fix all the proportions from there.

At some point, I get distracted by some amusing detail. At which I switch to my tiny brush and detail it. It takes about an hour for every 100x100px box I detail. Slightly less for eyes.

I'm not going to finish this baby because it break my number one rule in my art: the painting has to be better than the reference. Otherwise, I'd be a super cheat and just take pictures. ;)


  1. EX-CEW-SAY-MWAH. Picture taking is not cheating! If you do it well, that is. Like, I'll bet if you went up to Richard Avedon and were like "OMG. You're cheating!" He'd probably punch you in the face.