Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blended pencil painting

I've never learnt to paint traditionally. Growing up I was more of a pen and pencil kid (and sometimes pastels), and even to this day I still break out in a cold sweat with brush in hand and a blank canvas.

So when it comes to painting digitally, sometimes I just have to go with what I know. This technique has more in common with using watercolour pencils rather than with paint. For this digital painting I started with a fairly detailed, shaded pencil drawing (see previous post) which had most of the information I needed for lights and darks. I guess a traditionally taught painter would just use this sketch as a guide and paint opaquely over the top, building up tones with the paint (be it traditionally or digitally) but instead I blend the pencil tones into the shaded colour layer, like you would do with watercolour pencils, to end up with a fairly good 'impersonation' of a painting. Below is a timelapse video of it's creation.

I used Photoshop, with the pencils on a multiply layer, colours on another. Once the basic colour shading was achieved, the image was flattened and blended together. It tends to get a bit soft and smudgy at this stage so afterwards I go in and add back some hard shading and some finer details which were lost in the blending stage. The touch up process is probably the closest I get to traditional painting methods, but it only counts for a small part of the overall painting as all the hard work was taken care of in the pencil stage.

This method is pretty similar to my Paperboy tutorial, but with the Painter step now done in Photoshop.


Blogger Damion009 said...

down right AMAZING!!!! Beautiful work my friend!

7:45 AM  
Blogger Michael Dooney said...

fantastic. I've dabbled with this technique after seeing your paperboy demo, but this is an even greater insight into the process, thanks!
Forget about all the steps along the way, your initial drawing is great ;)

4:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Thanks fellas!

Micahel- Thanks again for those sketchbooks. Coincidentally had a another look through them last night. Great stuff!

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Bernd Ertl said...

Haha...I love what you write about how you feel when you hold a brush in your hands...I can relate to that!!
Nevertheless, what you achieve in your work, no painting lessons are missed...

7:15 PM  
Blogger Anthony Pascoe said...

Thanks for sharing Chris, great technique, looks fantastic

8:13 AM  
Blogger Charles Santoso said...

Amazing stuff you have here, Chris. Inspiring! Thanks for sharing. A long time fan but a first timer in leaving comment here :)

All the best.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Faboun'e said...

precisely I was working of the kind. or rather to test…
Cause I need to learn again and again.. so thx here .. ;) .. !

8:17 AM  
Blogger Tooninator said...

thanks for the video. The shapes in her face are incredible. I love the eyes and mouth immensely

12:34 AM  
Blogger Bob Lizarraga said...

Hi Chris-- curious, what tool/brush setting do you use to blend the pencil tones into the shaded colour layer? Thanks-

10:30 AM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Thanks everyone!

Bob- I use Photoshop CS5 at the moment and it has a new tool called a mixer brush. It works in a similar way to the 'Just add water' tool in Painter, and like Photoshop's Smudge tool (to a lesser extent). For the mixer brush settings I just use the default hard or soft brushes, depending on what sort of blending effect i want.

If you don't use CS5, as I mentioned you ca get a similar effect using Painter, or you can use Photoshop's smudge tool (if you do use smudge, try to use a grainy or a scatter brush for the best results)

10:41 AM  
Blogger Bob Lizarraga said...

Thanks a lot Chris-- beautiful work!

5:14 AM  

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