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Establishing the painting style

From: Digital Painting: Street Scene

Video: Establishing the painting style

The style of painting done on the underpainting basically defines the style of brushstroke use for the rest of the painting. Everyone has a different style, so I'm not going to sit here and try to tell you how to define yours, but I do recommend considering a loose versus a tight style of painting. Why? Because a tight style tends to meticulously follow the shapes and detail the source photo. What is the result? A painting that looks photographic, which is what we're working hard to avoid. A loose style painting places a premium on spontaneity, a key vocabulary element of expressive painting.

Establishing the painting style

The style of painting done on the underpainting basically defines the style of brushstroke use for the rest of the painting. Everyone has a different style, so I'm not going to sit here and try to tell you how to define yours, but I do recommend considering a loose versus a tight style of painting. Why? Because a tight style tends to meticulously follow the shapes and detail the source photo. What is the result? A painting that looks photographic, which is what we're working hard to avoid. A loose style painting places a premium on spontaneity, a key vocabulary element of expressive painting.

Let's take a look at painting with a loose style. Now one of the things you've got remember when you're working is that the underpinning is not the detail layer. We are going to do that later, so you don't want to get caught up in trying to detail too much. Here's what I did in the underpainting of our general project image. Now I'm going to critique myself a little bit here and show you a few things that I would probably do to work it a little more. Now first and foremost even with the very loose brush stroking that I did, I think we can all agree we can tell that this is still is a city scene.

It's not so decimated that it's unrecognizable, and that's good, because this is the basic model of which we are going to place all of the detail as we finish through this. Now one of the things I noticed as I finished it up, this area where the tree and there is a light standard here and some signage. This area got really kind of dark. In fact, we can turn on the underpainting layer and look at that, and you see what happened here is there is all this dark mass. Well, when we shut this off even trying not to paint those lines very much, we ended up still getting rather dark area.

So one of the tricks I could do is I'm already been working with the Flat Cloner Fan Brush. I'm just going to switch to the Flat Opaque here and I'm just going to sample a color that is more of the background, and then go back to my brush and this lets me, now I can go in here and I'm just going to paint some strokes in here, just to get rid of that overly dark area. I might actually switch to a Flat Smeary here, because this will let me kind of blend strokes.

It won't be quite so harsh,. And we really don't know what's behind here, but I'm assuming it's a continuation of the street off into this rather misty snowy background. So without really knowing too much about what's there, I'm just going to make an educated guess that the buildings are somewhat in a line right here, and then it just kind of goes into a city scene. And remember, this is all going to get covered by the trees and the light post when we repaint them back in.

So what's back here isn't important. We just don't want it be dark and cluttered and you can see here I'm kind of playing with my brush strokes. I'm not keeping them super tight. The one thing you don't want to be is what I call a white knuckle painter. It's like people that fly and they just sit there with their hands gripping the armrests. You don't want to do that. You want to maintain a pretty loose approach to how you're doing this. Now the other thing I'm going to do is I'm going to go back to my Flat Cloner, and I'm going to zoom up here a bit.

You can see what I have got some of these areas of white. Those don't bother me too much. What bothers me more is that in stroking these, I just kind of stroked in the direction of some of the architectural elements on the building and I really don't want them there, because it's detail and here I really want to minimize detail here. So I'm just going back in and kind of scrubbing over this, using my cloning brush, and I'm just going to get rid of some of this detail. And again, just like we did before, I may not sit here and have you watch me do all of this, but I want to kind of give you a few tips as to what you can do to get your underpainting really in the state that I'm expecting it for my own work to be in.

One nice thing you can see here too is when you do pick some of these colors and move the light over dark or dark over light, the texture of the canvas shows up and that's another nice vocabulary element of painting that we're allowing to be in here. See how I'm also I'm kind of breaking up straight lines? Nothing in this should be detail. It's strictly a rough shape of the composition of the background. Now I'm going leave some of these white areas in here, because one thing you do want to allow to happen is what I call happy accidents.

When you're working, sometimes you may, "Oh, I did that stroke and I didn't mean do it." Well, in real painting that happens. In real life we do things we don't expect to do, and part of the expression of this is allowing both the intended things to happen, as well as some of these accidents, because it's that kind of allowing all of those variations to occur in a painting here is what adds a real sense of life to it. So I'm going to keep on working on this, and then I will see you in the beginning to the next chapter, where we'll talk about starting a reintroduce very selectively detail back into this.

So here's where we are at and you'll see a little bit more work done to this, starting in the next chapter.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Digital Painting: Street Scene
Digital Painting: Street Scene

45 video lessons · 14953 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 8m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
    3. Installing custom brushes
      7m 0s
  2. 22m 3s
    1. Understanding the visual vocabulary
      4m 46s
    2. Using the vocabulary of photography
      6m 41s
    3. Using the vocabulary of painting
      7m 1s
    4. Looking at reality through a mental painting filter
      3m 35s
  3. 10m 22s
    1. Understanding that resolution is in the brush strokes
      3m 6s
    2. Understanding the subject
      7m 16s
  4. 16m 1s
    1. Removing lens distortions
      2m 33s
    2. Using the Free Transform tool
      4m 42s
    3. Using the Lens Correction filter
      4m 36s
    4. Understanding the ACR lens correction profiles
      4m 10s
  5. 12m 23s
    1. Working with Vibrance
      3m 14s
    2. Using the Match Color command
      2m 59s
    3. Understanding the traditional paint color swatch set
      6m 10s
  6. 16m 6s
    1. The eye has a bettor sensor than a camera
      3m 16s
    2. Using the Shadow/Highlight filter
      3m 17s
    3. Using the HDR Toning filter
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding how RAW files provide malleability
      4m 10s
  7. 14m 42s
    1. Working with the Reduce Noise filter
      2m 50s
    2. Working with the Surface Blur filter
      3m 6s
    3. Using Smart Blur for simplification
      2m 51s
    4. Working with the Topaz Simplify plug-in
      5m 55s
  8. 31m 10s
    1. NDLP: A creative safety net
      5m 1s
    2. Using custom actions
      9m 41s
    3. Using the reference layer
      5m 29s
    4. Cloning layers
      6m 5s
    5. Working with the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      4m 54s
  9. 17m 28s
    1. Brush categorization
      10m 1s
    2. Working with canvas texture
      3m 41s
    3. Using Sample All Layers
      3m 46s
  10. 12m 48s
    1. Being willing to destroy detail
      7m 21s
    2. Establishing the painting style
      5m 27s
  11. 25m 1s
    1. Simplified indication
      9m 3s
    2. Understanding color
      4m 10s
    3. Introducing texture
      11m 48s
  12. 17m 36s
    1. Providing rest areas for the eye
      6m 55s
    2. Focusing on the subject through detail
      10m 41s
  13. 24m 20s
    1. Being willing to depart from the original
      6m 48s
    2. Creating detail to enhance the artwork
      8m 36s
    3. Creating physical surface texture effects
      8m 56s
  14. 10m 33s
    1. Waiting a day
      4m 14s
    2. Examining your importance hierarchy
      6m 19s
  15. 57s
    1. Goodbye
      57s

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