Two Brushes

By default, Krita has all the brushes you need to help you get started. And it won’t take you long to realize that this feels like drawing. Here is a very quick demonstration I did just now.

There are many ways to use a brush and I would say that every artist is different in how they go about using it. However, for me personally, I find the Basic-5 Size Opacity (with its default settings) brush extremely helpful to lay out the rough sketches. I draw lightly with this brush, and strokes might get bolder if I press harder, and I don’t have to worry about making any mistake because I know this is just brainstorming. The advantage with a brush like this is that it gives room for interpretation once I switched to the other brush for outlining. Strokes might fly here and there, thin here and thick there—it doesn’t matter. The whole idea behind this brush and phrase is to be free and not think too much. Here’s an example:

What do you see? As you can see, no matter how messy it is, and the more messy it is, the more room there is to interpret and improvise.

After the rough is done, I switched over to the Basic-5 Size brush, with the “Dynamic Brush Tool” instead of the regular brush. This is so I can get a much smoother line without trying too hard.

Krita 3.3

On macOS/OSX systems with and AMD gpu, support for hardware accelerated display is disabled because saving to PNG and JPG hangs Krita otherwise.

This image was taken from Krita’s homepage. For some reasons, “Canvas Graphics Acceleration” is disabled for those on Mac. If OpenGL can’t be turned on then Krita is basically useless (for Mac users with AMD gpu?) because it’s extremely laggy. Previous version is okay, though not the best.

UPDATE: You might not experience the lag if you’re on macOS High Sierra, and the option for OpenGL is still blacked out.

UPDATE2: Apparently it still lag on High Sierra.

Krita 3.3

The Block-In

Growing up, I didn’t know any of this so-called “Block-In” methodology when it comes to doing things traditionally. Yet when it comes to 3D modelling, this is precisely what I started off with. It comes naturally because of the way 3d box modelling works. Box modelling taught me to focus on the overall form and proportion of my subject(s) before I get down to detailing.

Here’s a great article (walkthrough) on the Block-In process for those that want to improve their traditional skill.

Krita: Good but buggy

For quick sketches and doodling, Krita seems to do well (even though the lag is still there). However, once you want to slow down and seriously practice you’ll begin to see that the brush lag in Krita is an obstacle and an annoyance. Krita basically has everything I’m looking for in a drawing/painting software but at the moment I can’t really use it for serious studies because of this lag. I’m on Mac with a Wacom, and if you know of a solution please drop me a message.

ArtRage (left). Krita 3.1.4 (right). Notice that it’s a lot smoother in ArtRage.

Krita’s Quick Brushes

I love ArtRage for its realism and painting effect and will one day (God willing) use it for some experimentations. In the meantime, I find it much easier in Krita to get this marker effect look. I quickly improvised the legs on the fly, duplicated the legs layer and with another quick brush I put in the shading. For concept arts and thumbnailling, Krita is the best. I guess this explains it:

“From 2004 to 2009, Krita was strongly focusing on being a generic image manipulation/painting application in the style of Photoshop or GIMP. Since 2009, the focus is squarely on painting: the Krita community aims to make Krita the best painting application for cartoonists, illustrators, and concept artists.”

Last night before bed (as you can see the dark background) I did some quick test with one of Krita’s Ink brushes. 10-30 seconds each. Improvised on the fly.

Giving Krita a try

I have known Krita for a while now but haven’t really sit down to explore it until today. These are quick sketches (testing out one of its brushes) improvised on the fly.

It looks like Krita will be the software I’ll be using for quick sketches / concepts.

Explore, Experiment and Play around

Don’t be afraid to try out new things. Roughly 16 years ago, I surprised myself when I painted a picture with a mouse. It was a picture of one of the characters from Starwars. Then I got a Wacom Tablet and painted a landscape using a photo as a reference. I was also surprised by the result (took me roughly two months I think). We all have potential and you don’t really know what you’re capable of until you play around and experiment. And in case you’re wondering where all my paintings are, sad to say that I don’t have them with me. Over the years things got moved here and there and perhaps in the process harddrive got erased or data got corrupted.

Be a child and explore, experiment and play around. You never know, you might end up discovering something about yourself.

Let’s Simplify, 01

If you’re just starting out then my recommendation is: use references and you can trace over them. Go to and grab some. Don’t be discouraged by people that say tracing is cheating (just ignore them). As long the photo is free to use then you have nothing to worry about. If you have a camera you can take your own photo (do whatever is best/convenient for you). Right now don’t worry about line weight; just trace! It doesn’t have to match the reference perfectly as shown in the skull example above (blue circle).  When simplifying, think BIG. Think essence and likeness. It’s not about capturing every single detail. In the skull example above, the one in the far right is overkilled. The one on the far left almost look like a skull. The one in the middle is a skull. Remember, you’re the artist and you decide how you want to simplify it. As long as it looks like what you’re trying to capture then it’s good enough.

This was a little more challenging for me initially. Especially the mist and water. How do you simplify water? Do you leave it empty? I tried that but it didn’t look like anything I had in mind: is it a desert or a dry land? Hard to tell. There might be other ways to simplify water but the only way I know as of this writing is these wavy/curvy/zigzag lines. If you’re detail oriented you might be tempted to detail the grass and land but don’t. Remember that what you’re doing is renewing and training your mind to not be overly critical.

Remember to have fun!

Let’s Simplify!

Art supposed to be fun! But unfortunately, a lot of us, myself included, have a mind that is wired to see details and question every s-i-n-g-l-e thing, so much so that we are paralyzed by it. We can’t proceed until we have answers to our questions. In one sense, it is good to have such a mind, ones that questions everything and tries to get to the bottom of things; it is how we learn and discover new things. So for now, put away that critical mind that questions and challenges everything. And let’s have some fun with art. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone has a unique way and style of doing things. Some are better with figure drawing while others are more versed in landscapes. And here’s the thing: What you learn in one field can be carried on to the next, so nothing is wasted. Times spent learning to simplify things will help you later on when you get into logo design (for example). Furthermore, we all have strengths and weaknesses, and we all can improve!

Also, don’t worry about correct perspective because perspective in art is very recent. Egyptian and cave arts had no perspective. I love Van Gogh’s paintings but guess what? Perspective looks off! Don’t worry about line weight, “Should this line be bigger or smaller? And why?” You can use just one line weight throughout. And guess what? The famous Tintin comic used only one line weight, this style is called “ligne claire” or “Clear Line.” Google it and learn something new.

Correct perspective and line weight can always come later. For now, have fun. I’ll do some walkthrough later.

Learning to Simplify

Recently while walking down the street, I looked ahead of myself and saw a tree with many small rocks around it on the ground. Overall it was a beautiful sight and I imagined myself outlining the scene. I asked myself: Where would I start? Do I outline everything? Every rock? Every details and lines? I told myself that that would be complicated with just lines alone. Sure, if I were sketching it it might be easy with shading and so on. Then it dawned on me, “Who says that I have to outline every single rock? If my goal is to get everything down, I might as well take a photo!” Right? I love teaching moments like this. What you include is just as important as what you would leave out and vice-versa. In design, there’s a concept called “negative space.” Imagine a piece of design or art with absolutely no empty space. Look around you and notice that good designs have empty spaces in them. Sometimes, a lot! How about music? Can you imagine musics with no silence or pause in between notes? Why can’t visual artists do the same?

I’ll give examples later on. In the meantime this is a great introduction: How to Simplify and Sketch Buildings. When you’re out on the street and have only 7 minutes to capture what you see, the art of simplifying will be of great help.

Think Like an Artist

“For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” — Proverbs 23:7 NKJV
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” — John 17:17 NKJV

I was just thinking about renewing the mind and how ‘how we think’ affects what we do and how we do it. The Bible talks a lot about renewing the mind. Christians are to think like Jesus and to have His mind. If we want to live right, we must think right. Wrong thinking equals wrong living. Christians spend most of their lives renewing/sanctifying their minds—it’s that important!

Awhile back I came across a book titled, “Think Python: How to Think like a Computer Scientist.” It is a very interesting title and it is also true that to be a great programmer you need to learn to think like a Computer Scientist because to do certain things (programming in this case) you must think a certain way. Different craft requires different mindset and a way of thinking that is unique to that field, and if you want to be successful you must put on the mindset that is relevant to whatever field you’re in.

As artists, we must learn to see and simplify things. When an artist draws a figure, he sees shapes and forms. A neck isn’t a neck to him, but a tube/cylinder. To grow as an artist, we must grow in our thinking and understanding as artists.

Brainstorming and Ideation in ArtRage

I customized the Ink Pen tool and made two custom presets just to try out concept thumbnailling later on. Was fooling around and I really like what I’m seeing. Looks like ArtRage will be my primary app for painting, sketching etc…

Two layers. Outline and Color with Multiply blending mode.

Trying out the Sticker Spray [Modern] brush (Left), and the Gloop Pen (Right).

A quick sketch using the Sticker Spray brush with “Modern” preset.

ArtRage 5

I just got myself ArtRage 5 with a good discount (upgraded from ArtRage Lite that came with my Intuos Draw). Haven’t got a chance to really play with it yet but upon loading it I am VERY impressed with the improvement of the new interface (GUI)! And I know that it’ll only get better from here on. The old interface is still there but I prefer this new mode. I’m a minimalist and flat/clean design is what I prefer the most.

Shapes, Lines and Angles

I have a habit of getting straight to the details, but to grow as an artist, we need to learn to think in term of shapes, lines and angles. If you imagine and see yourself drawing a person, then it can be difficult. But if you see them as big shapes and lines then the process becomes much easier.  So that’s what I’m trying to train my mind to do. Find yourself references of poses and break them down into shapes and lines in your mind and then block out those shapes. Keep at it and move at a quick pace. Use big brush and erase here and there if you need to, but don’t focus on the details. Once you improve in this area you can do a lot of thumbnailling later on.

Relax Sketch

Just some doodling before bedtime. Make sure to have fun! Don’t worry if it doesn’t always look right. Exaggerate and make things up, and relax a little bit. Don’t be too serious. Spend an hour doodling and then pick the ones you like.

Find Color Theory In Nature

I was at the Library today skimming through a random book I picked on Color. Here’s something interesting to consider when you’re out there exploring God’s creation.

Much of what is relevant in color theory is revealed in what we see around us. If you delve into nature photography like I do, you’re privy to seeing color theory play out in the plants, the sky, the weather, and animal life. No photographer had to arrange the scene—it’s simply there for the viewing. You’ll see a great deal of analogous colors, such as different hues of greens and yellows in grassy plants and even among animals that blend in with their backgrounds. You’ll also be able to identify colors that contrast greatly against each other, such as bright, energetic red, yellow, and orange flower petals that vibrate against darker greens, reds, and browns. Different layers of the landscape will reveal different relationships between color that we can reference with knowledge of color theory.

The next time you are out shooting nature—oriented images, spend some time concentrating on observing how basics of color theory are all around you. Key in on this imagery, and you’ll appreciate working with color even more than you already do. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to visit the great outdoors to study color theory with a camera in hand. You can put theory to practice in any setting! But nature has done a lot of the color composition for you and has plenty to teach about what works.

Jerod Foster (Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Directing the Eye, Creating Visual Depth, and Conveying Emotion)

Vectorizing Practice #1

I threw my old Intuos Draw tablet out after a basement flood. Today I got myself another one (Intuos Draw) and decided to really explore Affinity Designer’s capability. Keep in mind that I have never drawn hair or done any vector work before. So as you can see, this is a big challenge for me, the hair especially! To help myself out I picked a photo and started tracing right from the start. Not sure where I’m going with this but I’ll see where it leads me. When it comes to vector and doing this kind of work, I see that you have to learn to simplify things, something I’m still learning.

How to Get Better at Drawing: 10 Things that Worked… (20 minutes)

…by markcrilley (YouTube):

  1. Draw regularly: Every day, if you can.
  2. Drawing from life is ideal. Drawing with the assistance of photo reference is common among professionals. Very few artists can draw anything they want to, flawlessly, entirely from memory.
  3. Do studies (careful copies) of drawings you admire, to unlock the secrets of how those drawings were made.
  4. Try looking at the thing you’re drawing as an abstract arrangement of shapes, composed of lines at various angles.
  5. Pay attention to the level of contrast in your drawings: darks vs. lights.
  6. Get your art supplies at a real art store. Experiment until you find the pencils, paper, etc that suit you.
  7. Learn the three different systems of perspective: 1-point, 2-point, and 3-point.
  8. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and draw in different styles.
  9. Don’t expect progress to occur in a matter of weeks, or even months.
  10. If comparing your art to that of other people is bringing you down, then stop doing it. Your work doesn’t need to win contests, impress people, or be “conventionally beautiful.”

5 low-poly pitfalls to avoid if you’re making games


Game development is more democratic than ever.
Indie game designers are putting out awesome new titles that are being consumed by gamers all over the world. A lot of these games use low poly modeling—a simple design concept that will always have a place in game design—even as graphics and performance continue to get better. However, there are a lot of moving pieces that go into designing and making a game work. It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed. Here are five low poly pitfalls to avoid. (Link to Article)