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In Painter 11 Essential Training, John Derry, one of the original Painter authors, demonstrates basic and advanced creative techniques that can get beginners up and running. He also shows old hands the new features that can get a creative vision out of the head and onto the canvas. John demonstrates how to establish an easy workflow in Painter by using a Wacom tablet, and he explains how to create, edit, and publish projects. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the Painter/Photoshop Consistent Color Management PDF and the Brush Troubleshooting Checklist PDF from the Exercise Files tab.
In this video, we are going to take a look at draftsmanship. What is draftsmanship? Well, one dictionary definition of it is "the creation of artistic drawings." So, certainly it involves artistry and creating imagery by drawing, which is principally, you know, the hand, but it involves more than that. For example, it really involves knowing your medium, understanding exactly the expressive qualities of it and the real pencil variants in Painter 11 go a long ways towards even making the simulation of a pencil on the computer even fuller than it was before.
It's starting to have all the attributes that are possible of a traditional pencil and I find the lowly 2B pencil to be one of the best mark making tools there are, because it is capable of such a wide range of expressibility. What I'm going to do in this video is just talk about using a simple 2B pencil because you want to learn how it expresses itself, you want to learn all of the nuances it makes and along the way to doing that, there are some things that can be stumbling blocks and there are other things that can be learning experiences and I'm just going to try to encapsulate a lot of that in the time that I'm making this drawing, and one of the first things I'm going to tell you is when you start to create a drawing, I'm just making this up as I go.
It's just going to be image of an apple. You can't just start and draw an the apple and have it come out perfect instantly and so one of the things you learn in draftsmanship is that you have to be willing to put up with intermediate iterations of the image as you are going along. In some points of that image, it's not going to look very good but part of the art and craft of draftsmanship is starting to learn how to still see with your mind's eye what it is you want to draw, even though you are not to the point on the image yet of seeing exactly what that is.
So, there is a bit of leap of faith involved and again, that's another attribute of good draftsmanship, being willing to go through these intermediate steps. And someone could come look over your shoulder and go, oh! that's terrible, or you know what's what? And be willing to understand well, I'm not done yet. And don't take it as criticism because they have no idea where you are in the process. The other thing among others is they are taking advantage of the tools in Painter. For example, I'm going to be using the Rotate Page tool, which is very valuable. You can do it through a keyboard shortcut of the Spacebar+Option or Alt key but there is no one angle.
Nobody can draw a drawing with all the angles involved in it, with the paper in one orientation. That just isn't going to happen. So one of the tricks is learning that medium is realizing, well, I can rotate the page. For me as a left hander, my hand is over here, on this side of the screen. It's very hard at this angle for me to make those kinds of curves. Over here it's very natural because of the natural lay of my hand in relation to the tablet. But over here, it's backward, so it makes total sense to turn it over. So, one of the things you learn is where do I find the natural angles, how do I do that so that I'm not reproducing things backwards or at an angle that is not my best angle for being able to create that particular stroke.
So, you want to be able to rotate the page around and in many cases I don't even think of it. Also you are noticing now, I'm still kind of idealizing where I want the edge of this to be. I'll show you a little bit here how I start to get rid of the unwanted lines at some point. But I'm using them right now kind of as a guideline. You can see that I have started from a blank sheet, but I'm slowly building up my density. I'm imagining that the sun or lighting source is up here in the upper right towards me, so there is going to be a shadow effect happening on this and so what I'm trying to do here is give this object a sense of 3-dimensionality, a feeling of roundness and that's only going to happen through playing with the shadowing.
I am also taking great advantage of the real 2B pencil's ability as I lay it on edge, as I tilt my pen, I get these very nice broad strokes. When I'm holding the cursor straight up, see I get very nice sharp strokes. So that's all built into the pencil and in some cases, I'm thinking about it but in other cases it's just part of the natural understanding of the medium. The more you draw, the more you are going to absorb, learn, internalize the nuances of a medium and the pencil is great because on one level, it's the simplest tool.
On the other hand because it's so simple, it takes a little effort to coax out of it all of its expressive possibilities and it's only through working with it for extended periods of time to build up your ability to know that, for example, you've been able to tilt a pencil on its edge to get that shaded aspect of the pencil. It's something that you know, you might not think of initially but over time you will. Now at some point, you are going to take advantage of the other end of the pencil and that's the Eraser. Most people think of drawing as building up an image with the pencil lead.
However, a good portion of drawing also involves undrawing and so I have got it setup. In fact, it comes from the factory this way. The opposite side of the Wacom pen is an eraser. So, I'm turning it over now and now I'm erasing and you will see that I'm actually removing this. I'm drawing but now I'm drawing with an Undrawing tool. So, now I can go in there, I'm going to start to kind of get rid of lines that were just extra and start to refine this little bit. I also use it right in the tonality of the drawing but by just going in there and drawing, one thing I want to do is I don't want to have the perfect apple shape. An apple is composed of textures and variations in color and tonal qualities.
So just going in there and doing a little bit of this light drawing with the Eraser, starts to introduce a greater textural range. Now, I'm also going in there, I'm starting to think about the highlight that I want on here and again, at first it's not going to look right, but I'm willing to forgo the fact that okay, I'm not initially going to have a perfect reflection or something here but you have to start somewhere and part of this is that it's kind of a carving. You are giving, you are adding, you are subtracting, you are adding, you are subtracting, until you find the balance that works for you.
I also want to have a little bit of almost like a secondary light source kind of hitting over here and then again that just adds a little bit of volume and feeling to this. I'm flipping my pencil over now. So, now I'm drawing with the pencil. Again, I'm going to go back here and just start to refine my reflection a little bit. I also think, up here, where there is this little valley, there is going to be a little bit of a reflection up there. Now, I'm going to use the sharp end of my pencil to draw little stem. So, you can see here that with one instrument I'm getting, I guess two, because we are already using Eraser on the other side.
But it's both the exact same effort going on. It's the same eye-hand skill, using the tools with pressure to be able to get that tonal range that you want. Now, I'm going to go in here and I'm going to start to put in a shadow. So, I'm just going to start here and what I want this to do is it's going to be kind of soft shadow, so I'm going to draw it out and I'm not going to worry too much about the density of it at this point and here is another little trick. To get the best kind of from dark to light, rather than stroking this way, it's going to make more sense to stroke this way because I can taper-off in density as I go to that direction.
So, I'll start to kind of darken that up and just let it light out a little bit and I don't have to be perfect about it, because I also know that I'm going to come back with my Eraser and do some more refinement. But hopefully the whole basis of this draftsmanship exercise is to show you how you build up a drawing by taking advantage of all of the capabilities of the marks that the particular tool you are using is capable of. I have said it multiple times here, but the pencil is a great tool to begin with and the things you learn even with this pencil start to translate into things like chalk and charcoal and brushes and all of the other mediums as well.
So, if you take the time to work with one tool in-depth, like a pencil, these skills begin to go across to the other mediums. Now I'm flipping it back to my Eraser here, this is where I'm going to just start to put a little bit of character into the shadow. Here is where I kind of like lose the shadow here at the top and just have it kind of fade out, because there is going to be more density. Where the object is very close, that's where it's going to be the darkest. As it gets away from here, the light surrounding starts to fall into that area and it just kind of falls off. So, I'm taking the advantage too of the knowledge of the way optics work and the way light works.
I'm just kind of making this up but you can certainly take a real apple, look at it, and that's one of the classic ways to learn how to draw. Its look at objects, observe them and use that as your guide to figure out how do I recreate that object. So, this may not be a museum quality apple here but you can start to see how I'm using the full range of this one tool. It's amazing to look at the drawing sometimes and go like, wow, that was all done with a single tool. And it's because the artist knew what the expressive range of that tool was through experience.
They understood, you know, there is all of these different tonal values and ranges I can get out of this medium by just the tool, and actually now I'm just using very light scribble marks, very light kind of like that. And all that's doing is its kind of like putting in some noise into the image. That starts to be those little speckles and things that are in an apple. I can go back and erase a little bit too but it just starts to break up this texture from being a monotonous texture where there is a lot of character in this texture. Now it's dark. It's light. It's got small detail parts.
It's got large shaded parts and again it's just knowing the tool and understanding what is going to work as that tool. So when you get good at it, you stop thinking about the pencil and you begin just expressing yourself, your thought, or your feeling or whatever it is. That's what's coming through. So, for me, I mean, I'm not thinking so much about the technique of Pencil, although I'm talking about it and at the same time I'm drawing, it's a little more obvious to me. But if I was just sitting and drawing this, I'd probably be spaced off thinking about something totally different, maybe not even about this and it's just because the experience takes over and it's internalized to the point that you can actually just kind of let it happen and that takes time. You are not going to do that overnight, trust me.
Any expressive talent worthwhile takes time. It's not an easily achievable thing. So be prepared for journey when you are thinking of mastering a tool. So this is just a quick exercise to kind of talk about draftsmanship. Understanding a medium like a simple pencil to the point that it becomes an instrument of expression and understanding the process of building up a drawing. So the pencil is one of the best tools you can sit down and start to work with, because it's very simple and yet at the same time, it's very expressible and that's the ultimate goal of draftsmanship.
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