Monday, December 3, 2012

Sharing a blog post about my digital watercolor techniques!

I thought this was pretty cool, and have been meaning to share this for a long while. So, first-- here's the blog post at Art Alchemy that links to my digital techniques, tutorials, etc.

Back in August, when I was making my digital watercolor tutorials for Artrage (linked to in the post below), my thread on Watercolor Works-in-Progress in the Artrage forums was very busy. I got to meet a lot of different people, share art, talk about techniques, etc. It was pretty cool.

Amongst those people was an artist named Tanith Larking, who went by the handle Tigermoth. She's a traditional watercolor artist, with some very nice stuff. You should check out her site, Inkgems. She was trying to learn some digital tools, and was working in Artrage. I showed her some techniques, she watched some of my videos, and then made her blog post. Pretty cool. :)

 It's fun to share some things you've learned through experimentation, a lot of reading, and screwing around! LOL! She was very appreciative, and I wanted to share the post.

Friday, November 30, 2012

My YouTube Channel- Digital Watercolors

Some know this already, others don't, but I have a YouTube Channel dedicated to a series of digital watercolor tutorials I've been making for Artrage-- the primary program I use for making realistic, easy to understand digital watercolor work.  Here's an example of my first one.  Bob Ross, we loved you!  :D  There was a lot to learn from that guy, and it's sort of what I aim for in a good tutorial. 

So, back in August I was rather... ahem... under-employed, and decided to spend some of my time doing something "useful".  So I taught myself how to use CamStudio and mapped out a series of tutorials.  I wanted to give something back to the digital art community, as I've really appreciated the tutorials and things I've learned from over the last two years doing digital art.  It would have been nearly impossible without the internet and the generosity of others-- for, as I discovered, making a good tutorial can take quite a while.  So far, I have 11 videos up, and they total about 2 hours of run time. There's over 100 subscribers and juuuust about 10,000 views-- which is more than I thought I ever would have got.  So clearly there's an audience for this, which is cool.

I have long felt that digital watercolors is rather under-represented-- there's a lot (of perfectly reasonable) focus on inking, comic art, and rough story boards, etc.  All things that digital art does very very well, and which "pay".  However, using Artrage I feel like I've been able to generate some interesting, realistic results while a) being mobile (as I use a tablet pc), and b) without ever having to clean up or prep.  That's good news for a dad of a 4 year old. 

So, these tutorials collate a lot of various info I've gathered over the last 2 years.  They link to other tutorials and resources (sticker sprays, stencils, textures, etc), and I give credit where it's due.  About 3/4 of the things I talk about I learned somewhere else and then synthesized and applied to the specifics of making watercolors.

I talk about things like-
1) Using Texture Overlays to generate realistic ambient watercolor effects
2) How to generate nice dry brush and wet on wet effects
3) How to use Layers to create transparent watercolor washes
4) How to create watercolor glazes over your grey tones
etc. etc. 

I also have videos that go over the Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar that I helped make.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Artrage Pen-Only Toolbar is available to download

Hi all, You might have gotten here from my YouTube channel, or the Artrage forums, or the Tablet PC Review forums, etc., because you're interested in the toolbar. Who knows. :)

So, I've been working over the last year on a toolbar that I use with Artrage when I'm painting digitally. Luc, the programmer, wanted to learn how to code in Auto Hotkey (the language the toolbar uses to communicate with Artrage).  I was interested in having a better UI to work with in Artrage that was focused on only using a pen for input-- no keyboard usage. Together we've built this awesome toolbar.

 I've been designing the UI, thinking of useful functions, and testing for bugs while painting. Luc does all the programming and dreams up awesome new ideas I didn't even think you could do! It started out as a just-for-fun project, but the toolbar got so powerful it seemed worth sharing with others. This really helps me go faster, use the keyboard less, and just focus on getting an image out. Well, we are now making the toolbar available to everyone. Yeah!

This is what it looks like while running on Artrage. :) See that little black toolbar in the upper right? That's the toolbar.

Here's a link to the thread in the Artrage forums where I discuss the toolbar, what it can do for you, and some of the details of how you might use it.  Please go to the forum for the download link as well.  You don't need to register to use the link, but you will if you have questions.  Speaking of which, if you end up having technical questions, that thread will be the place to go, as I'll be trying to funnel answers there, to make a kind of repository of info.

Here's a link to the Demo Video I made for the toolbar, as well as 2 How To Video Tutorials on my YouTube channel. Video #1 and Video #2.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Digital Watercolors- The Dancer

This was mostly meant to be a character study.  It's not for a specific book or anything.  Just trying (and clearly sometimes failing) to stay on model, but also trying to be expressive yet informative with my lines.  Not too wild, not too mild, so to speak.  I sketched the lines with paper and pencil, imported them, and painted them digitally after moving them around.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Poetry- Boots


I wanted to wear the boots,
but I did not want them to be
a fashion statement.  I wanted to earn them, to be the kind of person
that wore those boots.

So I tried them on.  To see how they felt.
My mother liked men who wore boots like that.
And I liked my mother.  I felt
useful—  I thought
“A person who wears boots like these ought
to feel at ease with a hammer.”
So I got the boots.  And I got a hammer.
I wanted to be the kind of useful person
who would need a hammer.

I wore the boots
to do
true things—  clean gardens,
and plant seedlings,
and water young shrubs.  To build things.  I remembered my father
with his new boots.  He polished them.  Gave them oil.
He was very proud of those boots!
And I wanted to be proud of my boots too.
I wore those boots
until there were holes in them.
There was a kind of pride in wearing used up boots. 
I was given
the blessing of nature, of necessity,
of use
to buy new ones.

Now, I know I’m going to work
when I pull my boots out. 
And those who pay me
a certain kind of shoe to be worn.  I told my wife,
“It’s like a uniform you have to wear.”
Then I recognized
that I did not want to where these boots every day.  I wanted to be free
from having to wear boots.  That there was a pleasure
in air
playing with your feet.  But, by then it felt strange
not to wear them.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Poetry- Coyote


This table likes to wobble, and so
does the chair.  Hard to keep a sense
of focus
or balance.  I stop thinking about typing
and start paying attention
to gravity,
what an axis is, to the flute crying
of a coyote
slivering over these moonlight slopes.  I keep trying to fix it,
looking underneath, wiggling things— I want a good footing, but it’s a no go,
and the coyote, I didn’t know,
they make this sound,
a hollowing out that requires a moon.  It’s some sort
of deformed magic, or perhaps it is the floor,
or me…
for it does not shake
until I sit in it.  I decide to write after all— the birth
of dance rambles
up from the floor.  I ride it
as the heaving leads to words.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Poetry- The Puddle

The Puddle

It’d been a while
since I came out.
On my own.
The others
had come and gone, and I felt that itch
to use my body for a time
and hear the bristles of grass crackle like fire beneath my feet. 
So I went on my own again.

I was thinking about being acted upon,
            by the heat,
and other representations of grace,
when I came upon a broken pipe.
I’ve never seen a spring, though I’ve often thought
it might look something like this— unannounced,
wedging itself into world
without an apology.  The stream of water
burbled out
and waddled its way over to a puddle.  The birds were having a grand time.
They couldn’t care less
about definitions of nature and society. 

I scared them off
with my approach.  But that sounds more active than it was.  More
that I arrived, and they happened to depart
in a similar proximity. 
The butterfly didn’t seem to mind me too much though.
I decided to take off my flip flops,
and roll up my pants, and wade through. 
If it was good enough for the birds, and babies,
and blades of grass,
then it was probably good enough for me too.

It was soft, the soil, and gave itself to my weight
with a good-natured ease that surprised me.  Not a single complaint.
It’s a good thing
to hear water on a hot day!  I climbed the fence barefoot
and tread through the wet grass. I turned
and saw a sheet of sky
reflected in the grass.  Nice, to see those two
holding hands again.  The frogs, those oracles of blessed dissonance,
where the two seams meet they will be loud there tonight,
and I like the idea
that one of them might find some respite
in the puddle of my footprint.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Pen Only Sai Add-on

I'm nearing completion for building this out.  This is what Sai looks like on my computer when I run.  A very clean interface, that I'm hoping to offer to others.  If you're interested, please comment or contact me.  :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Watercolor- The Forest

I did this for the class I was doing back in July and wanted to share it.  I did this one entirely with natural media watercolors.  The idea was to paint a sort of landscape through which you would journey. I did this one.  The yellow objects at the bottom were meant to be ferns unfurling, but who knows?  I recognized after painting this that I knew trees very very well, and could paint them from mind, but that I really needed a reference image to study for the ferns.  Lesson learned!  :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Poem- The World of Things

I’ll admit
I’ve never believed much in the human endeavor,
but have striven
to find my place
in the world of things.  Fleeting,
full of folly and joy,
our living evaporates like bird call,
            beautiful and unintelligible—
the mind breaks against the skull
            until the tide rises,
and we learn to touch each other with the reverence
we’ve kept hidden
for roses tilted forward to the nose
or furrows opened for planting.  So I’ve got nothing against
the joys of touching,
gentleness, or the urge to be fair,
but I can think of no better compliment
than to be kissed by a tree.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Poem- Prism


pushes through
the thin veneer of pigment, granules, some
pulverized dirt
drifting on the river, it hits the canvas,
and returns to us
through the prism of the painting.  And so it is
that when we look upon it, we do so
not from above,
like God upon a river,
but like a fish
from inside.