Digital Figure Painting
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The human figure is one of the most challenging subjects that any artist can paint. There is no reason why it should be more difficult than any other subject matter. All painting, whether traditional or digital, is based on a set of standards that should be understood and generally adhered to. Some of these standards can be considered basic rules. This workshop will introduce you to some “rules” and “standards” that you can use to successfully paint the human figure. Interestingly enough, these rules and standards are pretty much the same that I use when teaching traditional figure painting classes. The only difference is of course that we are using the computer instead of a paint brush. Once you know and understand the rules you can then break them to achieve your own results with your own personal vision and expression.
At the end of these eight weeks you will have a good understanding of the basic standards and rules that go into successfully painting the human figure.
Painting is nothing more than a series of decisions that every artist makes. Good decisions will result in good paintings and poor decisions will result in poor paintings. Like traditional painting, digital painting is decision-making from the first stroke until the final image. There is a significant difference though. With traditional painting there’s usually a consequence for every decision, good or bad, that you make. Digital painting on the other hand lacks many of the consequences you find in traditional painting because you can undo almost any step. As a result there is often less thinking and more random experimentation while digital painting. This may be one of the reasons that learning to paint digitally is often more difficult thqn learning to paint traditionally.
It often takes years of practice to be able to create a painting successfully, expressing your personal vision. Whether painting is traditional or digital, to be successful an artist needs to learn to make careful decisions throughout the process. Being able to paint the figure may be even more difficult simply because of the complex nature of the subject and the increased number of decisions that the artist needs to make. The beauty of the computer is speed. You don’t have to wait for your media to dry. The problem with the computer is also speed. You can easily get ahead of yourself, quit making decisions, and end up with a less than satisfactory painting.
In this workshop you will learn some of the basic decisions that you need to make to paint the human figure successfully. In this particular case our tool will be the computer but the things you’ll learn would be applicable if you were painting traditionally. Each week you’ll be presented with a task that will build on the previous week. In sequence the end result will be a competent figure painting. Of course, personal vision will be emphasized within the parameters of each weeks objective.
The software we use can be almost any digital painting program. Two programs will be used for each week’s instructional materials. Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter will be the main programs. Each has its strengths. If you have both, I would encourage you to use each program possibly alternating each week over the course.
Reference materials will be provided. However, if you’d like to use your own reference material please feel free to do so. All I ask is that you do not use material that could be construed as explicit or adult themed.
You will be strongly encouraged not to trace reference materials you work from. While initially you may feel that gives you an edge in drawing accuracy it really does not. For the most part, tracing will greatly hinder your progress. You will not gain the confidence in yourself to create work that reflects and expresses your own personality and vision. Please do not trace.
Each week a specific assignment will be given based on the materials presented. Each student will be encouraged to work as much is possible on completing at least one assignment per week. At the beginning of a new week, the assignment from the previous week will be critiqued.
Don Seegmiller has been painting professionally for over 25 years with his work featured in the Painter 6, 7, 8, and IX Wow Books...Read More »