Sunday, November 18, 2012

Painting - Chelsea

Painting - Chelsea

So for an exercise I did a painting from reference of my friend Chelsea, who is literally on the other side of the world right now living it up!  I missed her so I ask her about it, went and found a picture on facebook (she's very photogenic) and did this on my wacom.  It took me about 4 hours from start to finish, not bad painting from reference. 

Here's the original:
Good picture right?  I assume she uses it as a headshot.

The first thing I do is create a reference layer.  Wash out all the colours (I keep the original on a lower layer to check my colours), and then do a photoshop inversion and find all the edges.  Part of doing this is ideal for finding the photographic shape of space.  You can see in this picture exactly where her face contours are, her arm, and the lines of her features. 

The next step is something that isn't integral at all to the actual painting.  I don't really like sharing this one, but it's kind of neat to see.  I use the inversion layer from below to create a speed pencil/charcoal drawing.  I don't actually use this drawing in the painting, in fact if you look closely you can see a lot of issues with it.  But what it does, in a technique I learned from one of my professors, it gives me a feel for how shape works and what the lines are in the photograph.  It also gives me a good chance to practice stroke lines.

 Now, using the original, I grab a set of colours and create a colour blocking layer.  This will serve as the basis of my painting.  Again, because it's painting and not drawing, it's kind of an advanced 'colour between the lines' exercise at this point.  Right after I finish out this step, I drop dabs of palette colours in all the corners, making for an easy reference point.  I like the palette to be actually on the canvas, like a real painting, rather than in menus the way photoshop does things.
I'm sorry Chelsea, this is probably the most unflattering you'll look on my blog :P

I meant to have more step pictures between the two, but there isn't actually that many.  I start with a large size paintbrush and just start working through it all.  I will admit I took creative liberty with her hair, mainly because it was so much easier that way, and I like the effect better.  And I carefully erased the area around her eyes and brought them through from the lower layer.  So if you think the eyes are particularly well done...well that's because I didn't do anything with them.  :D

So there you have it, speed painting from reference in 4 hours.  Not bad hey?

Oh if you want to check out more of Chelsea's stuff, she has a blog here!