Guthrie’s Art Journal

Painting in progress – the ranger
The ranger (version 9) - digital painting
The ranger gets a work over

Still a work in progress I’ve gone back to black and white to get the values right and fix some of the compositional elements right.

I cropped the piece tighter to give the compositional more impact. The gun still isn’t quite right and the right arm looks a bit odd but I am learning a lot from this experiment.

Painter is great for textures but I’m just not happy with the accuracy of the brushes, they just don’t work Iike I want them to. Overpainting in Photoshop has been brilliant though which is where all the recent work has been done.



Just for a laugh here’s the sketch I did after a few difficult weeks.

I started with the claw hand and the rest just came from there with a little inspiration from the Cramps album artwork and psychotic hill billy rock’n tunes! Go Lux!!


The painted funeral director
March 5, 2009, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Art, Illustration, painting | Tags: ,
funeral director version 2
Bodge phone photo of the director shot at Camberwell

This is my first acrylic painting in many years. In fact in my be the first one since I left school. So not to shabby an effort although the background is still in progress.

So we’ll see how it stands up next week against where other part-timers are at.

I know very much that the background colours need to be more muted and pushed back to create a less flat perspective.

funeral director
Scan of the painting in progress

I used an acrylic pad at the suggestion of one the crew on the course. It’s not too shabby as a medium for painting having quite a good texture. Here you can see the stage before I started painting in the red curtains. Acrylic paint is very unforgiving but I kind of like that, it forces you to make creative decisions about what your doing. I also found I had to stop to let the piece just sit before charging on.
Acrylic dries quite quickly but not so fast that you don’t get time to consider where to next. I did want it stay wet longer at times so I could work it in a bit more but maybe that’s what oil paint is for!

I will post another version of this once I get it back and fill in the background more completely.

Secret Wars graffiti/illustrators battle
February 26, 2009, 2:22 pm
Filed under: Art, painting | Tags: , , , ,
secret wars Jan 09 almost done
Almost at the end of the first wall in the competition.

Secret Wars is no your usual graffiti battle and is like watching to comic artists go head to head. So something a little different to report on today but it’s really interesting to me especially the possibilities for my creative practice.

I really think this would be a lot of fun to do and although these are a hybrid graffiti/drawing/painting style some of the other competitors go for almost a straight literal illustrative approach.

secret wars Jan 09 competition
A rare moment as out man checks out the early stages on the opposite wall.

Secret Wars is no your usual graffiti battle and is like watching to comic artists go head to head.

secret wars Jan 09 battle half way
Toe to toe as the time counts down.

Competitors have 90 minutes to complete there piece with black markers, brushes and rollers, many opt for the marker for the battle but on the other wall they were using brushes.

secret wars Jan 09 ladder
The ever useful ladder.

The competition hots up and the ladder is out again in the Secret Wars battle.

secret wars Jan 09 winner
We have a winner!

In a very close call the winner, whose piece you can see behind him on the right is selected. There are two judges and a crowd choice made by a decibel reader.

Taking aim
February 11, 2009, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Art, digital art, Painter, painting | Tags: , , ,
takes aim sketch
Adventurer takes aim sketch

This is the original sketch and now I’m working on a digitally painted version.

takes aim painting
Adventurer takes aim painting in progress

So this is a completely digital painting using Painters acrylic brush selection and really just blocking out the tonal ranges at this point. You can still see the faint outline of the source sketch overlayed.

I’ve taken my cue from my reading of concept art painting as well as my someone limited knowledge of traditional acrylic painting.

The backdrop is something I roughed up in Bryce to give me something to work against. It’s all a bit of an experiment to try and work out a process from sketch to final piece and how best to work.

The brushes are surprisingly realistic in there response but the differences take some getting used to. It’s interesting that although you can theoretically paint over and over till you ‘get it right’ that many times it’s better just to move on and leave the imperfections.

G is for Gruesome
January 20, 2009, 10:05 pm
Filed under: digital art, Illustration, Painter, painting, Photoshop, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

G is for gruesome
Originally uploaded by guthrie

So I’ve finally decided this piece is finished! I kind of need to move on and possibly I’ve learnt what I can. As a piece of illustration I think it succeeds in some ways and fails in others.

As an image I like the bold colours, maybe a little too much detail, although I did rub a lot of it back, simple composition, cute and horrific at the same time. As an alphabet letter I suspect it could be a little more overt but I decided I didn’t really want lettering on the piece so it’d need to be in the title of the piece. It could also be a bit more scary and darker.

So what was the process?

Well it took about three sketches to get the basic elements down and then the last of the pencil sketches was scanned into Photoshop.

I then manipulated it into a form that I could start to lay colour onto which meant cranking the contrast a bit and whiting out some of the paper texture from the background.

I’ve been reading a lot of concept art approaches in ImagineFX and combined that with my knowledge of digital print and my limited experience in traditional painting. Painter was the next stop.

This is my first bash at making something finished in Painter and really the first time I saw it’s real potential. I’ve had a Wacom tablet for years but just never really had the need or opportunity to do much with it.

First steps…

So I blocked the colour in using a lowerer res version of the image until all the basics were in place, then scaled it back up dropped a higher res version of the image back so I had a good sharp outline to work against for the details.

I might choose to do the colour blocking in Photoshop next time as it took ages to find a simple way to just dump lots of colour on an area without funny brush marks. It didn’t help that this is my first go at it.


Then I just started painting using different colour modes and layering, testing out as much as I could. I’m used to the principals from Photoshop although Painter has some of it’s own unique ways of dealing.


Brushes seem to work a lot more like traditional media which means it’s really good to have a clear idea how they work in the that mode before you try the digital version. Water colours, inks, impasto, pencils and pastels all have different digital surface properties and it’s a bit of a learning curve working out how to make the most effective use of them!

So what did I learn?

Well I can definitely see that there’s potential to go into the kind of work I really keen on but also it’s going to take a bit more time out from design work to spend on painting!

If I was happy just doing the kind of more stripped back illustration style like the Crimbo cards I could get away with a lot less time but the kind of imagery that I love Ray Caesar, Syd Mead, Glenn Brown (who I only just discovered after seeing him on the cover of the Tate mag – brilliant can’t wait for the exhibition!), Scott Robertson and Nick Pugh well it’s all really worked over and even a quick small image takes 20-30 hours so you can see where that’s all going!!

Janet had one very inspiring thing to say early on in the MA and that was she believed many illustrators set there goals a lot higher than what their tutors expected of them and she was always impressed by how many achieved those goals!

So here’s to reaching for the stars!

John Robertson
December 14, 2008, 3:51 pm
Filed under: Illustration, painting, political | Tags: , ,

‘if ever I should stop singing about music and politics’

While trying to find an American series of political paintings made in the ’90’s I’ve come across John Robertson. I think his political paintings are especially engaging and work for me as pieces of political illustration with their strong narrative component. I find the lively bright style of the paintings work well aesthetically as well as politically. He seems to have been quite prolific. He has no Wikipedia entry which maybe needs rectifying but there is an interesting biography of him on his web site. I really want to know what retail giant he was working for and is his work an attempt to off set this.

I’m still painting my letter which is really taking quite sometime – am I being too picky. You can see here it’s current state.
I’ve been using some online resources to challenge me and move the piece to a different level. The tutorial on CG society about eyes, this photograph googled and this BBC wildlife book.

I must admit that I probably could have handed over the pencil drawing to Jane but am being a bit selfish and using it to explore digital painting techniques. I’ve been using Painter, Photoshop and the Wacom I brought for this course to explore exactly what’s possible. The whole process has raised many questions, not the least of which is how photo-realistic does one go? Hockney has a very interesting discussion about art and the use of the camera obscura by renaissance painters. I think many would have been using digital paint and 3D software as well as digital photography if they were making art now.

Although there are many issues around digital art my contention is that the best of it still takes time and solid grounding in fine art principals. Many of the pieces I like from magazines like ImagineFX take up to 30 hours or so to complete.

Trivia note: Indesit use 3D art software Maya to design their white goods, this is certainly an interesting merging of art and design.