Digital Painting Class

At the beginning of the year, I signed up for a Digital Painting class. As I mentioned, I picked up a Wacom tablet over the holidays and wanted to learn how to use it. The class itself is fairly short — a mere 7 weeks — and the focus has been pretty narrow. Our primary exercise in class has been to create a portrait from photo reference. For my part, there’s been a bunch of stuff that’s new to me. I mean, heck, I’ve never really used Photoshop before January, although I’ve done very basic image manipulation with Gimp.

So. New tablet. New Photoshop. Recall that the very first thing I drew with my tablet looked like this:


Now here’s a work-in-progress of my final assignment for class.


The final class is on Tuesday, so I’ve spent some time this weekend on homework. It’s not done — in particular, I think we’re gonna be asked to do some background work in the final class — but it’s in a not-terrible state. Our assignment asked us to find a photo from the web and do our portrait from photo reference, so I picked a picture of the actor, Tobias Menzies. Mainly because I think he has an interesting face with all those lines.

As I mentioned on my newly-christened Tumblr account, I don’t love this work. Mostly because it’s all so new to me, and there’s a sort of stiffness to the image that jars me. But there are aspects that I like. The splotchy skin treatment looks to me a bit like oil pastel. And I’ve never been terribly fond of most colour paint media — none of them seem to want to work for me — but digital colour works much much better.

In class, we’re using small Cintiqs — I actually find them more awkward than my tablet, mainly because the screen resolution is so small. I’m constantly having to fiddle with the positioning of my drawing. I’m much happier working with the Intuos, which makes no resolution constraints on me. However big my monitor is maps to the whole tablet area.

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