Saturday, March 22, 2014

High Society Grizzly

Sometimes I can't believe myself, but after a very difficult hour of working on the last iteration of this image, I decided to start over again.  Hey, I heard the famous painter John Singer Sargent painted multiple versions of his subjects for portraits before he painted the final.  Anyway, my last sketch was more of a 2d cartoony kind where I honestly didn't know how the anatomy was behaving.  My instructor Chris Oatley told us not to worry much about character design for this assignment, but instead to worry more about painting technique.  So I finally decided to listen and now I'm sticking with a single reference photo for the bear face.  Oatley told us that we can paint anything that we can truly draw and understand.  At work, I typically draw everything straight into Photoshop using my Wacom tablet.  I was getting frustrated with that the other day with my bear, so today I used paper and pencil (whoa, what are these dark smudge marks on the bottom of my hand?)  It was actually pretty relaxing.  I did a few more bear sketches from photos and I also decided to do a 1 hour Sculpey sculpt so I could see how the light was hitting the face of the bear (now I realize why they sell fancy little toy animals in arts and crafts stores). I also found a higher resolution version of the Sargent painting with more accurate colors to the original.  That helped a lot in getting the rest of the painting working the way it's supposed to.  I just couldn't handle that noisy magenta from the last iteration.  This painting is not done yet, but after 6.5 hours of work today, I feel like I'm finally getting my bearings;)

Friday, March 14, 2014


I tried out a new painting technique I learned from my class.  It was fun.  Now I get to apply this to my Grizzly Bear project!  Yay! 3.5 hours Photoshop.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

High Society Grizzly

This is the restart on my fancy bear assignmet.  I sketched a few more bears for reference, chose another John Singer Sargent image, and then drew a new character and did some new color comps the way my teacher wanted me to this time.  I'll keep you posted on how it keeps coming!  I'm having a lot of fun learning new Photoshop painting techniques.

High Society Grizzly

I just started taking an awesome online art class by a guy who used to work for Disney.  Chris Oatley is the instructor and it's very inexpensive.  Check it out here: Chris Oatley's Magic Box.  He's also got a lot of inspiring podcasts.  The guy is so positive that I'll turn the podcasts on just to brighten my day sometimes.  Anyway, our first assignment is to choose a famous portrait (I chose Lord Ribblesdale by John Singer Sargent) and draw an animal in the fancy portrait clothing.  First, we sketch lots of reference photos to understand the anatomy of the animal.  Then comes the character sketches.  Finally, we do some color comps.  The first color scheme is taken directly from the original portrait, then we experiment.

At first, I sketched a cartoon bear in the exact same position as Lord Ribblesdale.  To me, it was okay, but I wanted to add more story and more fancy stuff to the bear, so that's what I ended up with on the right.  My classmates liked the last version, so I started painting.

I let my imagination run a little bit wild here.  I wanted to tell more story instead of just having the bear looking at his watch for no real purpose.  I got to the point of Smokey the Bear's Evil Brother, where I imagined my diabolical bear, backlit by a campfire, lighting up his cigarette and then getting ready to drop his match in the dry brush below.  Some day, I think I will finish the Evil Bear picture, but when I got feedback from my class, and then watched another online tutorial, I discovered I was kind of doing the assignment wrong.  It was a hard decision, but I decided to scrap this direction and start over.