Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teaching An Old Dog A New Trick

©2011 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

This past week and weekend, I decide it was time to open up Painter and learn the software. I've had it for a few years but never really dove head first into it until now. After reading through a couple of books, I realized I still needed some help in finding things and how all of the components work together. I've heard good thing about lynda.com so I signed up for a month long membership. In 3 days, I knew more about how to use the software than a year of reading through books and articles. If you are looking to jumpstart any software knowledge, I highly recommend starting with them. I may use the rest of my time to try to learn some Blender (3D) basics which I could never get an idea on how it works.

I am showing you what I did in case anyone has a better idea or way of using Painter. I am open to all suggestions.

After a few days of learning some basics, I did this quick sketch as a starting point. No rhyme nor reason for it, just something simple to do.

After adjusting the layers so that the white background of the sketch disappears, I began blocking in colors. Since I liked painting with gouache back in the day, I used the brush setting for it plus the gradients tool. That took some getting use to but I figured out how it works.

I blocked in some basic colors on the gator and then added textures to the background. For that effect, I used the sponge brush on separate layer and then ten adjusted the transparency so the blue showed through. Each part of the illustration was built in a separate layer.

Again, more details are added while using the sketch as a guide. I really like how authentic Painter feels while painting. Much better than Photoshop in my opinion but I do not use Photoshop enough to be an authority on it. The funny thing is, I did teach a class on it many years ago. I think I learned more from the students than they did from me.

Highlights and floor details are now added. I then exported the Painter file (riff) to a Phoshop file (psd) and imported the illustration into Photoshop. I tweaked the overall colors just a tad and added the spotlight effect.

Overall, I am really happy with it. It has a traditional/hand drawn look to it which I have been trying to get in Illustrator. Some have told me the final as a cool retro look and others have said it is more kid friendly. I am not abandoning Illustrator at all, I just want to add another look to my portfolio that may capture the attention of art directors. For the past 18 plus years, I have studied and learned little tricks in Illustrator, which I still love. Maybe I will join the two somehow down the road. I guess you can teach an old dog a new trick.

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." ~ Georgia O'Keeffe


Susan's Art said...

Your gator looks good. He looks like he's loving the spotlight. Isn't it great that if you know one software really well, you can pick up another one and use it fairly quickly!

Russ Cox said...

Thanks Susan! You are right, it is amazing. They intertwine so well together.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi said...

Ok, you've inspired me to start trying to learn Photoshop by actually USING it: http://debbieohi.com/home/2011/3/13/daily-doodle-first-drawing-with-photoshop.html

Thanks, Russ.

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