Art Theory :brush work and lighting
I always feel like I post enough about art in general and I post a good bit of my work but not a whole lot of how I actually get to some of those paintings in detail.
SO! A “what about brushes post” Because I feel like a lot of it comes from my brush work and some fairly global art concepts that I use a lot.
So to start, I have a lot of brushes
A LOT of brushes, more than this.. (its all I could screen grab at the time…)
BUT I have a toolkit of a few small brushes that I use most of the time and for creating forms and general shapes.
My Core brushes make up figures A, and B. Outside of that is pretty much everything else, ie: figure C.
Core brushes create forms the way I want them to look, with a kind of snappy edge that I like. Some people might have totally different form making brushes, but those two brushes (sometimes a few more or less) Make forms the way those people want them too.
This idea of form making brushes is like traditional painting. The brush you use is going to give you a certain mark, just like if you use a tablet you hold in your hand to paint, vs your mouse, vs a cintiq (and all have their merits!)
Figure A- is my hard edge brush the brush i use for creating anything harder edged than ….well… than something in soft light/shadow, and this is where things get kinda interesting and the world of painting/composition/art spirals into this pit of exceptions and brain exploding headaches. (and I will come back to this later)
Figure B- is my everything brush. And I mean eeeeeverything, i make hard edges with this brush even (I know, “what?!”) But I block in forms and try things out with this brush because it does a wonderful thing that I love, and that is color blend my edges with the forms next to it.
BUT there are always exceptions
Cases where I start paintings with my figure A brush, and will use nothing but “it” (note this is a work in progress) But using that brush alone gives the painting a much harder edge over all and it is an intentional reduction of texture/brush, and will give you a much different feeling than of course, other brushes or mixing brushes.
Returning back to the figure C are the detail brushes, detail brushes are anything aside from my form making brushes that I use to create a texture on the surface. The only warning with texture brushes is that\
a-surface line/texture that follows the OUTLINE of your figure is going to flatten your image and make it look (in short) unrealistic. Surface line that follows the VOLUME of your figure will reinforce its depth. So be careful young grasshoppahs and use details and brush strokes wisely!
Continuing, next color and the brush.
A fun trick I like to use along with my mark makings is color dodge (sometimes overlay and multiply is never out of the question too, so play with the tools you are given, there are so many options!)
Color dodge basically creates a highlight(-ish) with a color of your choice. It is almost like over exposing your image to THAT specific color, sometimes it looks great sometimes it looks like
On a separate layer with the gradient tool set to about 10% and radial, I drag it across the surface a few times just to see what kind of cool colors pop up. When I find a combination that suits my fancy I keep it there and run with it! (but dont be afraid to change your mind)
At this time you want to check your light sources too. Your objects will always take on some of the color from things around them, and color dodge on your highlight is assuming your greatest light source is of the related colordodge, color (hurting your brain yet?)
Another thing to remember is the push and pull of saturation. I like things to be fairly saturated but I dont let them get too out of wack and keep things on a fairly similar wavelength and let my background colors mix with my object colors (thanks soft edge brush!)
So, in this image (c6-9) is brush work.
After the soft edge brush and some detailing from a textured brush (really lightly as you can see) I go back to my hard edge brush from Figure A.
C8- In this image I begin pulling my wrinkles (on my apparent fleshy ballsack thing…) from their light source.
You dont always have to paint objects in shadow (
or even in light but omg that talk is for another time) But in this case as in most with the way that I like to paint, I always paint into the light and do little details of dark.
Using more pressure at the HEIGHT of the light exposure (think planes! think planes! your surface planes!) for the wrinkle I begin the mark and pull into the shadow letting it fade to the base/bg color. I dont color pick from a new pallet, I color pick from the surface colors I have already established.
Think of your painting as bringing something into focus, working the image through from the fuzzy full image into the detailed high res painting.
After getting most of the forms down move into the last step
C9- of working in finer highlights and details. In this step i usually add my darkest darks and tweek some finer line and surface details to show off my forms more. (and in the case of this ballsack thing, stitch the two sides together)
Remember with your highlights, the brightest/most saturated parts are usually the closest to your light source. Also hard bright white points are for glossy objects only. Matte or semigloss will diffuse that light into a softer edge ALWAYS.
So try these out, let me know what you think, and when
Im not lazy I have some more time I will try to make more posts like these.
Feel free to ask questions and Ill try to answer! Just remember art is a lot of science, a lot of mistakes, and flopping around.
a-try things out, put things on new layers copy and paste them a billion times, whatever you need to do to mess with stuff!
c-and ZOOM OUT, take a step back, and make sure you walk away from your painting at least TWICE in one hour, so you dont get tunnel vision and forget what your painting goals are :)
d- make each painting a lesson. Pick a subject for your painting to be about and focus on that, lighting, color, blending, not getting too dark, white backgrounds, material differentiation ect.