Technology is pretty awesome. I finally bit the bullet and bought (charged) a new laptop. No longer will I sit down at Starbucks and be self-conscious of hipsteresque onlookers whispering to their buddies, "Hey, do you notice the guy with the vintage Dell, staring at the same Windows load screen for the past ten minutes. Hahahhahaa." No more frantically pounding CTRL+ALT+DELETE hoping to get my computer to restart after it freezes! Nope! Now I have 900 reasons to embrace the digital side of art with this shiny rectangle of plastic and metal, otherwise known as a laptop.
Just as many others have looked down upon digital art, so too have I, but no longer. I am beginning to understand just how complicated and time-consuming it can be to produce a great work of art wholly on a computer screen. It takes a lot of time and a lot of knowledge (that of software programs and of general art principles of perspective, light, and value, etc) to make great works of digital art.
Many artists are forced to use a drawing tablet that plugs in to the computer. You use a stylus (digitized pen) on the drawing tablet while looking at the screen to see where the cursor is. This is not how traditional art is done. The [Sony Vaio Flip 15a] laptop I bought gives me the ability to draw directly on the computer screen (which flips into an easel setup or lays completely flat like a tablet.) So, at any rate, I've been playing around with this ArtRage program it came with trying to teach myself more about digital art.
Above is an image of the four Layers I used to make this sketch. Layers are separate images that overlap each other. They mimic how a traditional artist paints on top of his pencil sketch, and then on top of the under-painting, and so on and so forth. One advantage with digital Layers is that you can make individual ones visible or hide them when you're done. You can reorder the Layers to change what overlaps what, too. As you can see here, I started with a pencil-like "brush" on a very textured canvas and then painted on another layer to cut out the profile of her face against the red background. Last, I painted more details in her face and added some shadows under the table just to differentiate that space from the gray of the girl's sweatshirt..
I think next time I won't use such a grainy, textured canvas to begin with. It made it hard to paint in the details of the face like the eyebrows and nostrils. I do like the textured look though, that's just my personal aesthetic, but I think less is more sometimes.
Landon R. Wilson
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