Valentina

Speed painting is a misnomer, and it gets a lot of people tricked into thinking that they are good at something that they do not understand.

You need to learn the fundamentals first, the speed comes from understanding of the fundamentals. Speed painting makes people think that it is a skill they just go and learn, it sets them on the wrong path.

learn life drawing fundamentals and spend hours drawing from live models and reference.

The best way to dissect his style is to study it yourself, you need to come to your own understanding of it. But it's hard if you don't already know how to draw well. I am certainly not a good drawer either so unfortunately I can't say much besides that his style seems to resemble Japanese and American comic art somewhat, and probably uses a lot of the same technical processes.

Please don't just take my word for it though, question me, and explore.

Take the plunge.

Valentina

The Golden Liquid acrylics are nice, and they have a small swatch on them showing the actual paint across a few bars of black so you can imagine the opacity of the particular paint. I use a wet palette when working with acrylics. Sometimes even a paint retarder, that slows down the speed at which they dry.

Golden really does dry really fast when applied in thin layers, but I've not had any problems covering even blacks up if you keep these high-pigment colors less thinned. For black, I mix my own, usually from ultramarine or pthalo blue and burnt umber. it gives the painting more life than a flat black from a tube. I don't by every color from Golden. For ochres, burnt umber and all of my whites I usually but Utrecht brand.

If you use a retarder the paint will dry a bit slower, which is essential if you plan to gradient or fade any of your colors; otherwise, you will have similar to posterized color changes. I do the same with the custom black, and I water them down.

One of the best things I learned for using acrylics is rubbing alcohol. It kind of melts or breaks down the paint and is great for keeping your brushes in tip top shape, as well as correcting mistakes that have recently dried.

Well the instructors always tell me, before you run off following "advice" make sure the person that told you knows what they are talking about. Give the last one a try, it will either work, or it won't.

Also I have realized that if you already have experience with oils, acrylics should be easy to grasp.

Valentina

But There Is More To It Than That

Repetition does do wonders but having understanding of what lies beneath the skins helps even more.

A lot of people think art is just some magical talent you are born with while others are of the impression that you can just learn a few tricks and magically improve.

The reality is that it takes a whole lot of effort and repetition but also a lot of studying. Regardless of what other people think, you have to combine both to see the best results.

A lot of people struggle with combining the two.

Sometimes, it's hard to apply what you learn through a video or a class into what you draw. Alternatively they might practice their heart out but are stagnating because they aren't learning anything new.

The thing is the actual anatomy studying can be done within a month or two. I'm referring to what an artist needs to know, not a medical professional. The next step is a life long journey of studying the human figure visually. The more figures you draw the more you pick up on. The challenge is in learning just a little bit and then applying that through practice. What or how much that 'little bit' is and for how long one needs to practice that varies from person to person, which is why it is so difficult to have a clear cut method that works perfectly for everyone.

The more figures you draw the wider your visual library becomes as well, so you will need less visual reference, and can focus on building up other aspects of your visual library.

Take Alex Negrea for example, he is a professional character design artist and he has a video out on how to build a visual library.

It pretty much comes down to just doing tons and tons of studies.

Once you understand the form and design of something you don't have to spend an extra 30 hours to make it photo real. Sometimes just an hour study is enough to really understand something. He recommends doing lots of somewhat clean line drawings but if you need to understand how the object is effected by light you'll need to do color/value roughs.

I would say that learning how to do art better is just as important as just drawing a lot. But it is much easier to learn too much and not practice enough. So if you're not sure if you should study or just draw, chances are you should draw. If you are feeling uninspired it can be helpful to learn more techniques and become inspired by the new knowledge as they will ultimately open up new paths for you to take.

Take a look at where you are today. You've got another thousand lousy drawings in you. That's how it works, we all have to make those thousand lousy drawings. The sooner you get them out the better. Get some vine charcoal, a kneaded eraser, and an 18 x 24 pad of paper and work like that for a while. It will help you to loosen up.

Valentina
Cover Image

Don't be discouraged is the first thing I will tell you.

Second thing I will say is, practice, practice, and more practice. Learn as you go and watch others paint. Try and understand the techniques that they are using, and why they are using it. Once I understood what they were doing and why, I then tried what they had done and it worked out.

And because of this reference I have gotten way better than what I used to be.

Shake the paint, I try and shake for maybe about a minute or more. I think that with acrylic you really miss out on so much if you just leave it be. And it has a lot of versatility.

I knot that another thing that helped me was to thin my paints. People will tell you this all of the time, but how do you thin your paints? They don't explain how to do that, so you will end up with runny over watered down paint.

It looks awful.

This is how I thin my paint so it flows nicely. Wet your brush by putting it in water and wiping it off on a paper towel. You might have to do it multiple times. Try to keep it damp. Dip the brush into the paint then dip the tip of the brush, just the very tip, into the water. Then apply the paint to the model moving it around a good amount to cover as much as you can. When it gets a little dry, repeat the process.

Don't be afraid to try different ranges of paint from different companies. I know that when I started painting, I got stuck on a brand. I swore by it, but then I realized that I was really limiting myself.

Protip for the clean freaks: If you are using acrylic paint and you want to remove it, 91% rubbing alcohol will do it pretty quickly. A good scrub with a stiff bristle toothbrush and then a washing will get most if not all of it off.

Valentina
Cover Image

My personal preferences with paint medium vary based on my mood, and desire to exprese myself. But a lot of people only think that there are two types, acrylic or oil.

I can make my oils dry as fast or slow as I chose by using different mediums.

Products like Liquin and galkyn speed dying to as fast as acrylics, but the translucent quality is not lost. Linseed oil (among others) will slow drying time. Oils have a glow to them. They flow and blend and move like nothing else. They are the most forgiving of the art mediums and you can easily scrape up you mistakes.

With oils I can make my palette last over a week without putting out new globs of paint so i waste far less. I do this by freezing my pallet in a ziplock when I'm done. I have tubes of some colors that I've had for years without running out even with semi-frequent use.

For my acrylic palettes I will place them on a baking sheet with a towel under them, then I will make sure that the towel stays moist. This will also make a palette that can last over a week.

Safety is a concern for many. And while the information doesn't apply one-to-one for oils and acrylics. Safety should be used when working with either of them. Oils are safe so long as you use odorless thinners, keep am air flew when using potent smelling mediums, keep paint brushes and paint brush handled out of your mouth, and never use thinner to clean hands.

And you can mix the two types of paint when done in the right order.

Acrylic can be used as the under layers for an oil paintings layouts. Never the reverse though. Also never use your acrylic brushes for oils then return them to acrylics. Just use one set for oils and one for acrylics.

To make my life easier i buy cheap latex gloves and use one for my right hand. Its inevitable the brush handles get into paint and then into your hands. Makes clean up a lot easier!

Valentina

This is my second tour. I took one with my Aunt and Uncle when I graduated high school, and now that I am getting ready to graduate college plan to take one with my best gurl friend Payton. We're planning on spending the bulk of my time in Whistler but would like to travel before or possibly after. We will be staying in hostels and doing the whole trip by bus which suites our price class the best. We really want to go hiking but not spend the night on a trail, just have the opportunity to enjoy the scenic views.

When I went with my aunt and uncle I actually didn't have the right gear. I got stocked at Mountain Warehouse. I've heard Mountain Warehouse called the Old Navy of the outdoors, which I think is about right!

Mountain tour

It's fine for a few wears, but don't expect everything to hold up. Most of my gear got retired after the trip. I did keep a couple of pieces, but well, I have a rain shell that definitely isn't as waterproof as the tag suggests. I have a puffy that definitely isn't as warm as the tag suggests.

I think in general their gear is serviceable if you understand that you aren't quite getting a top-of-the-line product. It can feel a bit cheap...the sewing isn't great, the velcro is weird, there aren't a lot of nice little extra features, that sort of thing. However, their better pieces aren't that much cheaper than brands with better reputations. If you want something that is going to get you through a weekend, Mountain Warehouse is probably fine. If you want to hike/camp regularly, you might as well purchase stuff that will last longer, or else you're buying everything twice.

That said, Mountain Warehouse's merino layers aren't much cheaper than brands like Icebreaker, except Icebreaker has a good reputation and a good returns policy.

The actual savings are pretty negligible in the bigger picture.

The final word, look at what you can afford. You don't need quantity, you need quantity. Shop around and buy accordingly.

Valentina

Good art, bad art, and you. It really depends on you.

And if you like a certain type of art, it is good while I may personally hate it. Many people enjoy the art work in Bleach, they will say that it is clear. I would say that it is devoid of life leaving panels that feel empty to me. You can say that same thing about some other artists, it is up to you to form an opinion, and agree or disagree.

When you come down to it though, it's very personal.

No matter how much you critique a piece it will always have people that love it.

For instance, I personally feel like Oda's art direction is simply brilliant. For me he embodies what great dynamics should be, he does this through his very fluid artwork, while his color excel in both use and complimentary of colors as well as color perspective create breath takingly beautiful compositions that I love. Yet there are people that I know that would whole heartily disagree with me on that point.

The reason is because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Art is really a preference thing, and your preference is not my preference. I personally really enjoy well done sketched work, because it captures the raw emotion that the artists was going for at the time. This is often reduced in impact when they take it to the final product illustration.

Technically Skilled

What we have talked about up until this point is emotion. If you want to understand comic art, you will need to understand the process used and how it is made.

But herein lies the trap. If we simply focus on the technical aspect of the art form by itself, when you look at the differences, you will need to realize the importance of distinction. Mainly people, critics included fairly to remember that there is a difference between art and art style.

So while art can be judged more objectively when you understand the process, how do you do that? What are the criteria that play a role in how you distinguish good from the bad?

This list is helpful in doing just that.

  1. Good Art style Doesn't Automatically Mean Good Art
    • I've read series with unspectacular art style, however full of emotions and never batted an eye over the art. I've read series with good art style, but with mediocre use of art. Although they're well illustrated, they lack the most basic elements to give it a dynamic feel.
  2. Interacting With Objects
    • Figures should interact with objects in a believable way.
    • When a figure is supposed to stand on a rock for example, the figure's feet and pose should be drawn correctly, otherwise it looks like he's floating above the rock.
  3. Emotions
    • Both comics and manga have the advantage of being allowed to show exaggerated emotions.
    • An artist's job is to convey emotions. The reader should sympathize with the figures when they're angry, sad, desperate or whatever the scene calls for.
  4. Correct Use Of Perspectives
    • When you think of perspective drawing, the first thing that comes in mind are maybe buildings and geometrical forms. However a good artist should also be able to draw living beings (humans, animals, plants) from different angles of view. Bad artists tend to draw their figures always from the same perspectives.
  5. Paneling
    • The comic artists' job is to tell a story with pictures. Good paneling creates tension. Panels should not only have a pleasant flow while reading, they also are part of the story telling.
    • You might find it useful if you pay attention to these things in particular: shapes, how lighting works (the shadows, shading, and highlights), line width, composition and layout, foreground/background and perspective, anatomy and proportions (which can be unrealistic and still look good), textures and effects.

Look at the art for multiple series, over time eventually you'll start to notice what works, what doesn't, and when you should just ignore the flaws. But be aware that the rules can be broken to good effect and you may be biased to the results. Once you become good at being a critique, you wont enjoy things as much, since everything is flawed

Valentina

I feel like sometimes it is easier to focus on the weight and emotion of a piece without going into the actual hues and tones. When I do that I usually handle the piece as if I was coloring line art. Manga fans will know what I am talking about. But it can be tricky if you aren't interested in digital art.

Coloring lineart

While the process is pretty easy, it did take me a little while to master.

But luckily I am going to share the steps with you.

As I said there are a couple of ways to accomplish this.

The first is the most basic. Setup the Photoshop project like this:

Create two layers.

The top layer will have your line art on it, you will want to set the layer blending to multiply, which will lay this layer of your bottom layer. The bottom layer will be filled with whatever color you want the background to be and then paint in the bottom layer. This will allow you to drop out the white of the scanned line art and have the black overlay and color you draw on the layers below it.

There is another technique you can use to set up your line art turning it into layer without any white, for this you will need to know how to use channels.

With your line art open, go to the channels panel. Drag one of the channels to the selection icon at the bottom of the panel (dashed circle). With that selection still active, go back to the layers panel. Create a new layer and fill the selection with black.

Or, even more fun: instead of just doing a fill, create a new fill layer and the selection will become the layer mask for the fill layer. Then you have easy color control for the line art. I either use clipping masks, or I use the magic wand and go to "select > expand > 3px", then leave the selection up in a separate layer from the line work while I draw.

Some of the nice things with this work flow is that you can easily add layer effects to the line art layer or use the line art layer as a layer mask for effects above it.

Now it is time for a cookie!