Lee's art challenge

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Hey folks,

    I wanted to throw out a challenge to you guys since some people were mentioning wanting some assignment type things to get the creative juices flowing. This is an assignment I give in school where students create a digital illustration first. I don't tell them that they are then going to have to create the same piece traditionally.

    It is very tough and a great assignment. You will learn a MASSIVE amount trying to basically do your own master copy. The looser/more experimental the original piece, the more difficult it's going to be to match. For example, painting a master copy of one of John Singer Sergent's rough oil sketches is actually harder than painting his finished piece due to the loose and spontanious brush work.

    My general guidelines are it should be within 90% of the original piece. Individual marks are impossible to duplicate of course, but hopefully the feeling of the piece stays the same. If it's a fairly tight rendering on the digital piece, I want the match to be over 90% on the traditional.

    What you are looking for in an assignment like this is:

    1. how to control your values
    2. how to control your edges in different media
    3. how to match color (not easy!)
    4. How to match texture (not exactly of course, but try to get close)

    Here's an example I painted today. The original was done with some printmaking brushes, so I knew I couldn't totally match that in watercolor, but I wanted the general texture feel of it and then of course to match the color and value. Watercolor is probably the hardest to do this assignment in because it's very unforgiving if you make a mistake. Acrylic and oil are much easier.

    Anyway, pick your favorite piece of yours that you created digitally (or make a new one) and then give it a go! Post it here so we can see! : )

    PS: I will often times create a digital illustration and offer it for sale as a print to test it out. If the print does well, I recreate it traditionally and sell the original painting. This has worked 100% of the time. It works because you can start to gauge demand for a piece based on how many prints sell. This way I don't waste time framing something that may or may not sell.
    0_1467837545777_digital to watercolor sample.jpg

  • Pro SVS OG

    @Lee-White The likeness you captured here is just incredible!! It takes so much skill to pull off. I'm pretty certain I am going to fail miserably at this, but what an exciting challenge to take on.

    I shall return....thanks for suggesting this one! My plan is to try mixed media watercolor and a simple composition and color palette.

    Framing is costly so that is really a smart move with the prints.

  • @Lee-White this is great assignment, i think i might give it a try this weekend . I only have water colours though at the moment so will be pretty tough but excited at the challenge thanks 🙂

  • SVS OG

    If I do this...it will really be a success because I am not a digital artist yet 🙂 So I will be challenged on all fronts!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Marsha, you can also do this one in reverse if you are trying to learn digital a bit better. Make a traditional piece that you like, then try and copy it digitally.

    This exercise works so well on so many fronts. It lets you explore and analyze your own mark making, color, and composition in detail. You will look at your work in a totally different way when you are done.

  • when I read your post on facebook yesterday, about making a study digitally before painting it traditionally, I thought I would give it a try. so I'm up for it 🙂 it's a great idea, thanks for that

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Here's another I'm working on now. Digital version on left. Work in progress painting in the middle. Color swatches for testing mixtures below...0_1467999942117_stages-of-whale-painting.jpg

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    almost done. Here's an iphone snap of the in progress painting...0_1468020799940_boy-whale progress.jpg

  • @Lee-White that is amazing! I started mine on the weekend!! Such a learning process and not sure how much like the digital version mine looks like ! Great challenge though, thanks for the suggestion!

  • Pro SVS OG

    challenge accepted!

  • This is my progress so far, not very good. My second time with water colours but determined to keep going!0_1468198538639_WIP.jpg

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    looking god so far. You may or may not be able to hit your reference depending on your paper. Some paper will let you keep building up, and others won't. You will find out which one you have very soon. : )

  • @Lee-White thank you 🙂 thank you yes my print out came our much darker than my on screen version..so aiming to try get those colours more . I miss working with Acrylics 😃

  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White great idea! I have a tablet and clipstudio pro that my son bought me for my birthday. I haven't really tried it yet because I've been working on book projects and trying to learn business skills to sell my book. I've sold 50/300 so far 🙂 Still have a long way to go but I'm pressing on. I even signed up for an scbwi illustrators day. My first event since being a member for two years. I need to put a portfolio together and I might have a really rough dummy by then too. I think that this will be my first assignment for myself to do on the tablet 🙂 Thanks!!

  • SVS OG

    @Marsha-Kay-Ottum-Owen Congrats on selling 50 books! Great going 🙂

    Okay, so I had a go at this challenge. I was in the middle of seeing whether I could improve my recent duckling image digitally, when I figured, actually let's use it for Lee's challenge instead - ie doing the reverse challenge version by trying to recreate the watercolour in digital. The original has had the colours deepened with a multiply layer, and a few bits of pencil, but not much.

    I started out using the original sketch as a template - as I figured this exercise was more about learning to copy the painting/mark making in a new medium rather than a precision drawing exercise - and then tried to figure out exactly which digital brushes I had which mimicked the watercolour best. This in itself was SO useful - really worth doing - as although I already had a list of favourite watercolour brushes, I hadn't gone down to this forensic level of copying and it really made me dig through and the result is my favourite brush list has had a huge influx of new favourites.

    I took a screen shot early on to show the workings out:


    And the result (traditional on left, digital on the right):


    Thanks @Lee-White for suggesting this!

  • @Dulcie Wow! They both look great!

    I've been trying to achieve a decent digital watercolor look and have failed so far. Would you mind telling me what brushes you used? So far the best success I've had is with Kyle's watercolor brush set.

  • Pro SVS OG

    @Dulcie this is awesome! Practically indisitinquishable from the original version. Really not easy to duplicate watercolor digitally, so a big congrats to you - I am sure it was a really useful experience!

  • SVS OG

    @lilyhanna Thank you! I used Kyle's Real Watercolour set to do this, sounds like you have that one already..there are so many brushes in it that I hadn't explored all of them before - the new ones I found were the Wamazing ones and they were very good (as they all are, really).

    I think the difficult part in doing this digitally is creating the same look without the reference to go on, because you don't naturally go through the same process digitally. I'm going to try another piece in the same style without doing the traditional first, will see how that goes...

    @smceccarelli Thank you! I'm glad you approve of the result, yes it was definitely a useful experience to go through. I'm hoping I can transfer the process to other digital pieces, fingers crossed.

  • SVS OG

    I want to try this! I usually think of going the other direction--doing a digital master copy of a traditional piece. Color matching I think would be a finiky one, since it can depend on your screen and printer and such.

  • For anyone trying to do digital watercolours or any real media in digital do try Corel Painter - site link http://www.corel.com/gb/

    There are many hobbyist versions at much reduced prices, the latest Painter Essentials 5 is about £/$30.

    Review here http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/reviews/creative-software/corel-painter-2016-review/

    Hope this helps ❤

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