Practice, smartly…

Know your aim and what you’re practicing. There is no need to draw in all the details if you’re struggling with proportion, angles and correct measurement. By not focusing on the details, you’ll be able to go through many images in a short span of time, and that will speed up your training/progress. This is how I train: Open a search engine and look for a subject to practice. Training my eyes to capture the proportions, measurements and angles. I avoid drawing in the details and making a complete artwork out of it. Instead, I stay focused on the overall shapes.

PureRef

Krita is a bit buggy on Mac. Sometimes I can’t pan my Canvas or draw anything on it without tabbing out to my desktop and back into Krita. In severe case, I would have to restart Krita. I have learned to put up with this minor problem because Krita is the best free drawing/painting program at the moment. The problem I just described will occur more often when I’m using “Subwindows” mode. The more documents to manage at once, the more likely these glitches will occur. Which is why I prefer (not the only reason) to stay in “Tabs” mode.

In my previous post, I talked about importing images as Reference Image. They are very helpful if you’re composing an image. But for practicing, that setup is not the best. I needed to have my reference images on the left at all time, while I scroll/expand my image to the right. There are two ways you can accomplish this:

  1. Import all your images as Reference Image, anywhere outside your Canvas. And then make a new window view (Windows -> New View) of your current document. Organize/position this new view, and then in this new view, zoom in to your reference images. Now you can switch to your main document and start drawing. Pan as much as you want and the images will stay there. OR you can create a completely new document and use this document to hold all your reference images. The same logic applies to this new document.
  2. In order for that to work, you need to be in “Subwindows” mode. And if you’re on Mac, forget it. I came across PureRef.com while researching my problem and that’s the best solution for a Mac user at the moment. Actually, even if you’re not on Mac and even if you’re not using Krita, PureRef is a very handy program to have. So check it out! It’s a pay what you can app. If you want to try out for free, just put in “0” for the price.

Insert as Reference Image

Working in Fullscreen with all images in one place.

Bravo to the developer who coded this. Earlier I was practicing some landscapes and had a few images opened on my desktop, all lined up horizontally at the top of my screen. However, there’s a few problems with this: 1) It clogs up my space: can’t see what’s beneath these images such as Krita’s toolbar and so on. 2) When moving/zooming the Canvas, these reference images stay there the same. 3) I’m on Mac, and these images won’t show up when working in Fullscreen mode. In Fullscreen, Krita takes over. And that’s when I said to myself, “This can’t be good. I need these references! What do I do?”

That’s when I decided to drag and drop them into Krita and imported as “Reference Image.” And that solves all the problems. Insert as regular layer doesn’t work. In order to have these images outside of the Canvas, you must “Insert as Reference Image.” You can rotate, scale, flip, or even lower the opacity of the reference image. Another reason to love Krita!

Krita’s Dark Theme

macOS Dark65 Theme: Works best with Canvas Border Color: 66,66,66 (which becomes 65,65,65). Don’t know why Krita minus 1, but that’s just the way it is.

KDE doesn’t look that great on Mac. And since I use Krita a lot these days, I have taken the time to put together a dark theme to make it looks a bit nicer. Feel free to modify it to your liking. Right click on the file and save it to your computer. Put it inside this folder: ~/Library/Application Support/krita/color-schemes

macOS-Dark65.colors

If you want a darker selection, look for 106,107,134 and replace it with: 70,70,77. This is so the window bar doesn’t stand out when Krita is in “Subwindows” mode. There doesn’t seem to be anyway to change just the color for the window’s title bar. You either change all, which affects the selection. When choosing a selection color for the theme, I avoid the color that is available for the Layer’s color.

Date/Time Stamp

Last night I found out that each time you saved your document while working in Krita, the original date/time stamp for the file you’re working on will be override. Other softwares keep the original stamp. This is good if you’re the kind of person that likes to keep track of your progress and like to go back in time to discuss certain things. I cropped a few files to clear the empty space and the original stamp got replaced with the new stamp. My only way around this at the moment is to rename the bottom layer of a new document and input the date/time into its layer title.

Click to Expand

Krita has a great little feature that allows you to expand the size of your document that you’re currently working on. What this means is that you don’t have to worry about coming up with a document size. You can just start with any and get right into practicing your forms (or whatever you’re doing on the canvas). Once you reach the end of your document, by moving it (up | down | left | right), the expand will appear for you to click on

It started with a small document to practice drawing the eye. Then I got into form practicing and it quickly expanded
Constructive drawing: Practicing forms (Sphere, Cylinder, Cube etc…)

Brush: Pencil-5 Tilted

I’m using a tablet that does not have tilt support, with a brush that was made for tilted tablet (I’m assuming because the setting for this brush has tilt settings). I can’t imagine what it would be like, and I’ll have to get a better tablet to find out later in the future. In the meantime, this is what I use to practice gesture drawing. Default setting, but I set the brush size to 260.

Krita’s Blending Brush

I’m about to head off to bed, but before I go I decided to fire up Krita and do a quick scribbling. Had no idea where I was going with it. I grabbed the “Wet Paint” brush and played around, and to my surprise, this is something you can achieve in less than 15 minutes!

I’m not into painting at the moment. That’s something I’ll explore later on. For now, I’m exploring LINES, gestures, poses, etc…

EDIT: Another quick test early next morning. Trying out the blending brush (“Wet” Circle, Paint, Paint Details)

Strategies for Blocking In

These were copied from photos of sculptures/statues. My aim was to capture the overall proportions, loosely. I find the body more challenging than the head/shoulder.

There are a lot of things the mind processes and goes through when doing observational drawing. I find that my mind switches modes of thinking here and there throughout the whole drawing process. Take for example, in the second example, I didn’t have much difficulty just going with the contour, but I couldn’t do that same thing with the third example. In the third example, I focused on having the thigh right and then worked out from there. In the last example, i used the line of action to guide me through the whole process.

Blocking in (or Block-in) is the first phrase of drawing. There are many ways to go about it, and it’s even possible to switch between two or more strategies. There are Gestures, Angles, Envelope, Shapes/Forms (and a few more). This is a very important topic that I’ll surely talk more about in the future.