Thursday, March 27, 2008

Putting my Blogging Goggles on

The cape is still at the drycleaners, but should be ready by the time I've got me mental bloggin' gears up to speed. 

So for the last few months I've been completely obsessed with the nifty digital tablet my wife got me (which you can still get for $35 at over at geeks.com), and teh blog has been devoted to the misshapen lumps of digital detritus that have fallen away as I ascend the learning curve of Corel Painter X.  I am happy with the results, and shall now return to publishing my actual thoughts to the interwebs, rather than my haphazard art experiments.

 

So, regarding digital painting.

I fucking love it.

I've been struggling with painting with watercolors for the last two years with mixed results, but the end product has always ended up looking, well, like an untrained enthusiastic amateur.   Which is what I am.  I love making my art, but rather than spending time perfecting technique, I generally sit down with the following mind set:

"Ok, now I'm going to show you something REALLY COOL."

(an attitude I found had been precisely put to words by Steven Brust in the forward to one of his novels, describing his writing process) (you've read his free firefly novel, haven't you?)

The thing is, I can't honestly say that my later attempts are any damn better than the first few things I cranked out.  My sketching has gotten better, but my painting has not.

I have discovered that the digital format lets me cheat in dozens of ways that let me get the image that's in my head out into the world in a format that I would not be ashamed to attach to my fridge alongside my kid's drawings.  I'm pleased enough with my latest Cthulhu image that I'm going to be starting up a Cafe Press store 'cause damnit, I want that on a coffee mug.

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In learning how to do this, I looked to the web.  Working for 8 years in tech support has taught me anything (aside that I HAVE NO PSYCHIC POWERS AND I CANNOT KILL WITH MY MIND), it's that if you've got a problem, at least a dozen other people have had it before and have already blogged about it.  Or posted about it in the infinitely regressing nest of special interest forums out on the web.

For instance: DeviantArt is full of tutorials.  Once you get past the 5 GAZILLION tutorials on how to draw anime eyes and furries (no link to THAT goddamn you), there's an astonishing amount of excellent material available.

Second, I looked at artists I like that work digitally, and noticed that several that I like do a combination of digital and traditional art... usually line drawings and sketches on paper and then coloring and finishing with digital.  A couple of my favorites, Ursula Vernon, bluefooted, and arrg.. I don't know, go look at ConceptArt.org.  My backup brain link-list just failed me.

Yarr.  I've run out of steam.  More ranting about digital art when by bloggin' cape has had the terrible, terrible stains removed from it.

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