TACKLING THE BRUSHWORK

General / 30 December 2017



With another year coming to an end, I took some time to go through my work and think about where I'm at. I’ve moved a few times last several years. I always take with me my trusted Wacom tablet, and I leave behind piles of traditional works. I remember when I was just starting with digital illustration, I encountered a lot of little things that challenged me. I was overwhelmed with work on the one hand, and constantly trying to watch tutorials on digital illustration, on the other hand. I learned a lot of things, picked up some good advice, and as much as you think you know, you can always learn more. I'm sure many aspiring artists went through the same thing.
But then, there comes a time to stop and remember your "initial self". To think about what moves you, what your way of telling things is, and to take a more personal path. With all the pressure, it's easy to lose connection with your inner voice. And while we can't stay isolated from influences, there are certain things we can do to keep ourselves on track. For me, that involved:


1. Stopped looking at anything related to art processes for almost a year (except finished work of artists I follow);
2. Exchanging the time spent on above mentioned with immersing myself in books;
3. Allowing myself to travel more, without taking my work with me;
4. And the most important, I went back to traditional canvas and brush. And this is where I found a solution to the issue I want to address next:


BALANCING OUT BRUSHSTROKES, AKA. BRUSH ECONOMY


One of my biggest problems was connecting my traditional and natural marks with my digital work. I used to zoom in way too much, stay there and over render things. While it looked great in that size, it was far from what I wanted it to look as the whole, zoomed out image. Then I realized that it has been a couple of years without using my actual traditional medium. So, I decided it was time to take a step back and grab a real canvas.  And that is where I found out what I need to do in order to achieve that look that I have in my traditional paintings. So, if you guys have a similar problem, I'll share the way I handled it. If want to try it out, here's what you should do:


1. Get a canvas and start rolling. No canvas - no problem. Get some cardboard and prep it accordingly. If you don't have much time on your hands, use small size, that way you can finish in few hours.
2. If you feel intimidated by oils or its drying time - grab a fast drying medium. If not - acrylics are your next best friend, drying time is super-fast and you can achieve that look similar to oils. So no excuses, once again.
3. Limit your palette.
4. Most important thing for this exercise - limit your brush sizes to only a few.
5. If you fail, rinse and repeat. You don't have to show it to anyone if you don't want to. So, loosen up a bit.
6. Apply what you did in traditional to your digital painting.


This is what I did: I stopped zooming in all the way, because I really don't use magnifying glass when I paint traditionally. I zoom in focal points, but the rest is kept loose. I keep my brush size limited, to avoid that over rendered feeling. I try to follow the form by carefully placing brushstrokes. And I am still working on that balance. I hope you'll find this helpful, and I'm aware that what worked for me might not work for you. So, I also encourage you to trust your gut more.
We all know it's not about what brush you use, but how you use it, it's what comes from your mind and hand. But there are some really good brush sets to try out, for that extra kick ;)
Bastien Lecouffe Deharme OIL BRUSH Set (Photoshop CC) 
Greg Rutkowski Oil Brushes 

INTRODUCTION (AKA. TIME, SLOW DOWN!)

General / 25 December 2017

I'm going to start this blog by introducing myself a bit, who I am and where I come from (not geographically). I don't share stories often, and I’ve always kept my profile low. But, last year I decided to be more open about what I do, because we live in this time where we can connect with other artists and people out there who share our passion. And, although it takes a while until I "add" someone I never met in person, I also want to share my thoughts with them, even if it's one sentence about what I love in their work. And maybe it's selfish of me to want to be e-surrounded with them, but I take the blame. I love my family and friends, and I live with the most incredible person in the world. But I also enjoy my solitude, I spend my days working alone, I tend to skip parties and bar hangouts. Maybe because I'm an introvert, or perhaps I feel like there's not enough time in the world and I feel like I'm behind the "time" and I'm constantly trying to keep up with it.

Maybe it's connected to the fact that I found my passion rather late in my life. I graduated in fine arts, and I had spent years exploring all kinds of different techniques and mediums before I found out what my passion was. I went through drawing, painting, making jewellery, I got my hands dirty with different etching processes, and in the end, sculpture. I wanted to try everything. But as much as I learned, there was always something missing. I've had art shows, and communication with the audience, but at the end of the day, what's left from all that is just a piece hanging out somewhere. I had satisfaction while making it, but it didn't serve to any purpose.

So after some of the D&D sessions we had, my boyfriend and I started sketching our characters. As an avid gamer and fine artist, I was blind to this hidden passion. I had a revelation, and it's something that I didn't let go, and I hope I never will. And that's how my journey as an illustrator started. Just to clarify, this passion definitely isn't related to mediums, or techniques, but a subject and a way it's put to use, while still maintaining your voice. For me, it's like putting all of the things I got my hands on through a sieve, merging into something meaningful. And, I love every part of the process while I'm painting, and as much as I want to see the finished look, I never want the process to end. So, I just stay hungry for more.