Project Diary: Digital Painting
Girl With Camera
Last semester we were instructed to create a digital painting for our digital imaging course. I had never done anything quite like this project before. I've done smaller illustrations and doodles as additions to other projects but never a full on digital painting. Throughout my time at NBCCD I have gravitated more towards a clean, vector style made in Adobe Illustrator rather than a painterly style done in Photoshop, so there were a lot of things I had to learn while making this piece.
My first issue was that my usual illustration style didn't transfer as easily into a Photoshop format. My preferred aesthetic is usually heavily reliant on minimalism, clean lines, and geometric shapes. Originally I had planned to do something similar for my Photoshop piece but I quickly realized how difficult that was going to be. Switching back and forth between layers to edit each shape became quite tedious and I eventually decided to switch styles all together.
So I went back to the drawing board and looked on pexels for some inspiration photos. I was immediately drawn to a photo of a girl holding a camera in a field. I loved the way the photo was framed; even though there were a lot of different elements in the photo it still felt organized and serene. I decided this would be a great picture to use as a reference for my painting.
To begin the process I brought the photo into Photoshop and placed it on an artboard beside my canvas so that I could see my reference and my painting at the same time. I then started outlining the general proportions of the picture in a very light, fine brush. I focused on the parts of the photo that would require a lot fo accuracy like the girl's face and hands. I then kept that layer on a low opacity the entire time I painted to keep myself on track. For the actual painting part I opted for a gouache brush set because I liked the natural look it gave the piece. I worked in small sections and created a new layer for each area I was painting to allow myself to readjust certain areas afterwards.
The thing I struggled with the most was figuring out how to blend my colours together. Although Photoshop has a built in smudge tool that gives a blended effect, it didn't look natural next to the painterly look of the brushes I was using. I ended up creating another art board and taking the colours I wanted to blend together and making swatches. Then I took my smudge tool and blended them together. Finally I took my colour picker and clicked in the middle of the shades to find a blend of the two and used that colour with my gouache brush on my painting.
Overall I'm very happy with the way the painting turned out. Although the learning curve of this project was a bit difficult to begin with I ended up really enjoying working in a painterly style. It allowed me a bit more freedom and the final result felt less computerized, which was a refreshing change. In the future I would definitely try this style again and I might even try to blend it with my vector art style.