Friday, October 12, 2012

When Life Gives You #FFFACD, You Paint That S**t Gold

Now, do you want to learn how to paint with pixels?

Tough. You need to get some things in your head before you start. First off: Digital art, broadly speaking, is artwork made using computer programs and technology as a opposed to pencils, clay, paints, chalk and such – labeled traditional. Remember the strange picture I put on the first post? It’s actually a mix of two pictures.  The drawing below was made solely with pencils so it’s traditional.

But I used the pencil outline to make a second version, this time using Paint Shop Pro to color and shade it. The result is below and it’s considered digital.

It’s not perfect but that was my first time doing a purely digital “painting” (which the rest of this post will focus on). And it also illustrates – no pun intended – something you need to know about before you think about downloading GIMP and scribbling with the brush tool. Some people seem have a couple of wrong ideas of how digital painting works, as Sarah Payne notes. One is that if you put enough monkeys in a room with a computer, you’ll get a good digital painting.

Completely wrong. 

To do the second painting, it took several days – and admittedly, part of it was because I gave up from time to time. It takes a patient person to finish a masterpiece, computer or no computer. Just so you don’t think it’s a hobbyist’s/beginner’s problem writer and artist for the digital urban fantasy webcomic dream*scar (seen below) Heather Meade also says it takes “probably 8-12 hours or something, over many days.

Not only does it take patience, it takes skill – at least if you want to make nice digital paintings – you still have to know shading, lighting, proportion, perspective, and the other things that make art tedious for everyone except artists (and sometimes even them).  

Color usage is actually harder for the digital world. If you (traditionally) draw a pink sweater and that drawing is put in a gallery somewhere, for the most part everyone would see that same shade of pink. Not so when it comes to web colors: that pink – if it’s not one of the 216 web-safe colors – on your computer might turn to magenta when someone else views it on theirs, and then red-purple on another browser. Imagine you think you’ve found the perfect shade of forest green to color your majestic jungle landscape with and then you get a comment on deviantArt by someone who says it looks like dried throw up. 

*#FFFFACD is the hexdecimal triplet HTML code for Lemon-Chiffon, I couldn't find lemon, sorry

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