Concept Art is not Dead

I watched this video a few months back, titled, “Concept Art is Dead” and didn’t have a chance to make a post on it until now. Let me say that Concept Art is not dead. The traditional way of doing concept art might be dead to some, but it is not dead.

Technology is constantly evolving, and since a lot of artists are using computer software(s) to get their job done, what this means is that as technology evolves, so will their works if they choose to take advantage of it. I have seen it in programming, web design and now visual art. WordPress has evolved to the point now that it’s a waste of time to sit and code everything manually on the front-end side of things. There are game engines out there that can get the job done that it would be a waste of time to code from scratch.

Art is a bit different, but it’s not immuned from this evolution. As I think about this, there are three groups of people that come to mind. The first group of people are those that just like to do things the old fashioned way, I call them Purist. With ZBrush, Blender and Photoshop, you can create amazing artworks if you combine them together, yet there are artists out there who still enjoy doing things by pixel. And if I have the time to get back to 3d modeling, I would still do box modeling because it brings back the nostalgia. The second group of people are those always on a look out for shortcuts. If there’s a way to cheat, they will. They will use Poser and advanced renderer; they will use Terrain generator and whatever that is out there to help bring their vision to life. The third group of people are those who still do things the old way, but still make use of technology here and there or whenever they see fit.

The result of photobashing and paintover gives you a level of realism that is not possible to achieve if done by hand. The style is also different. And sometimes you don’t have a choice. If the company that is hiring you is looking for a particular style and realism that is only achievable via photobashing and paintover, then either you get with the program or you move on elsewhere.

The speaker in this video is not against doing things the old way. He brought up one main reason that I wholeheartedly agree with, and that is TIME. If you have all the time in the world, then you can study the whole Alphabet. But if you don’t have all the time in the world, then here are the X, Y and Z that you can study that will get you from here to there in a short amount of time.

Nudity

If you’re a disciple of Christ who follows and obeys His teaching, then this is something you ought to think through.  I did some searching and there seems to be mixed opinions on this topic. The people (we’re talking about Christians here) that are into art or study art seem to understand the importance of studying the human body and so they are “for it.” On the other hand, the non-artists seem to be opposing it at all cost.  My suggestion is first read the articles that I’m about to link so you can get an overall perspective on this important topic and then examine your own heart and seek the Lord for understanding.

Fine Art will help you to grow as an artist and that involves the studying of  human anatomy, the naked body. So the question is: Is it a sin to look at nude model(s) or images  to better our understanding of it so that we can recreate it with realism? Let me start off by saying that as of this writing, I do not take a “for” or “against” position simply because it’s not black and white. Do you have a passion to grow as an artist or do you use Fine Art as an excuse to lust after the female body and to collect pornographic materials all in the name of “art”? Search your heart and be honest.

There are Christian colleges which allow drawing of the human figure clothed in bikinis or racing suits both of which resemble underwear and have well known advertising campaigns associated with them that exploit sex as the main point of their style. This practice seems inappropriate and more sensual by its suggestive commercial context and the unnecessary focus upon the covered area that it invites. To some, it appears more like going to the beach than to the classroom where serious academic study is underway. (Gordon College’s Policy on the use of Nude Models in Art)

The Greeks believed that man was the measure of all things; as such they sought to find the perfect human form and show it in their art. The resulting nudes are not pornographic; rather, they are the outworking of the Greek ideal. As Christians, we rightly reject their philosophy, but we should not make the mistake of mislabeling their art. (A Christian Perspective on Nudity in Art — Matthew Clark)

Photos and Unsplash

By now I’m sure a lot of you have heard about Unsplash. It’s a great site for free photos. I wouldn’t worry too much if it’s photos of animals or buildings, yet even with buildings (the building itself!) some are copyrighted. Becareful with using photos of actual people, even though you might not get into trouble, but you never know…

Here are some food for thought.

Foreshortening and Difficult Poses

In drawing the figure, I noticed that there are poses where I have a hard time trying to get it right. These two examples are loosely based on two photos. The first one was quick and easy. The second one was a lot more difficult and challenging to get it right. I didn’t understand why that is. Then I came across a video by LoveLifeDrawing on YouTube that explains this strange phenomenon: Why is this figure drawing so HARD? Pose difficulty factors (WARNING: Video contains partial nudity).

Isn’t it encouraging to know that you’re not alone? Foreshortening [is] difficult, and a lot of us artists struggle with it. However, it’s not the end of the world! If you look through books such as “The Art of…” or “The Making of…” you most likely won’t see characters design in extreme poses. It’s only when you illustrate or seek to bring a concept to life that extreme poses often come into play.

If you can do basic front / back / side and 3/4 angle, you’re basically ready to go for concept art. Then there’s always photo references out there if you need help. Not to mention that there are 3d models that you can pose and draw on top. Do what you got to do.

Japanese / Chinese Paintings

I find lines and shapes beautiful, and I have much to talk about later on. But did you know that these paintings don’t have perspective? Isn’t it funny that we can look at something and not noticed the obvious until someone points it out? I love the brushstrokes of the Sumi-E. If we go by art rules, we say that these paintings are incorrect. But sometimes it’s not about having everything correct. Just do an image search for “Sumi-e” and see the beauty of it. If perspective were added and implemented, would that help the painting or destroys the beauty of Sumi-e? Something to think about.

Lines should be varied in length and width, they say, for it adds depths and dimensions which is true. Do an image search for “Tin Tin” and notice that it’s only one line width.

Holy is the Lord

There are a lot of great artists out there whose works and skills are above you and I. Sometimes you don’t want to look at them because you feel intimidated. This is something we can all relate. But let me encourage you to go pass this.

In the Bible, we learn and see that God is Holy. What was Isaiah’s reaction in the presence of the Holy One? “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips…” What about Job when God finally showed up? “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” On one hand, God is holy and we are not, on the other hand, we are to be holy just as He is holy. We are not to run away and hide like Adam did, but we are to come to the Light. Growing in holiness is a process, and the key is to set our eyes upon Christ. He is the Holy One and our example.

On some level, when we feel intimidated by great artworks by artists who are better than us, know that it’s a reflection of the greatness of our God. To improve and grow as an artist, we must look, not for the sake of looking, but look with purposes, and seek to imitate. We don’t just look at Christ, but we meditate on His attributes and words and imitate Him.

Why is coding so hard…

When reading articles or books written by other artists, we learn how artists approach and solve art problems. There are also insight and wisdom we can get when peeking into another world, such as music, math and so on, and in this case, programming or coding.

There are roadblocks everywhere, and even artists have them. We need to clear them before we can truly arrived. I remember when I got into digital painting for the first time, instead of learning and getting a good handle on the fundamentals, I went straight to coloring, after all, painting is all about color right? I subconsciously believed that learning to color and use color well will magically solve all the perspective and composition problems. These blocks will always be there and slow down our progresses if we do nothing about it. We see the same thing in human development. Even as Christians, trials that come into our lives are meant to teach and prepare us for what’s to come. If we ignore them, it will not help to sanctify us. The Spirit is always working to conform us to the image of Christ. Trials are one of the means to that end.

Art is also problem solving. The sooner you see this, the better it will be for you in this journey of yours.

Site Updates

  • Post published:August 2, 2019
  • Post Category:Blog Post

I was going to make a switch to another webhosting because I didn’t see “Let’s Encrypt” in the cPanel. While searching for something I came across a video that shows how it’s done, and it’s now activated. I just need to remind myself to renew the certificate every 90 days, at no cost. Now I can have peace of mind when logging into the site while on the go if I ever need to.

Tablets

  • Post published:July 5, 2019
  • Post Category:Blog Post

Looking for a tablet? Check out this video before you go out there to buy one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH1WEYF8rlA

In my opinion, you do not need an expensive tablet. All the experiments I did in Krita before June 2019 was done entirely with a [Wacom Intuos Draw] I got for less than $100 when it was on sale.

Recently I went and bought [Wacom Intuos Pro Pen 2] to see if there’s any difference. I can tell you that there’s [not much] difference. If you’re new and or just starting out doing things digitally, get the low end ones. If you find that you enjoy doing digital art, then just upgrade to the screen tablet later on (the kind where the tablet display everything and you draw directly on it).

Sketch / Pencil Effect in Krita

  • Post published:June 18, 2019
  • Post Category:Blog Post

You can get a lot of nice pencil effect in Krita.

Quick test trying out various brushes in my SKETCHING collection.

This is my sketching collection (brush presets).

Beginners and Anatomy

  • Post published:May 30, 2019
  • Post Category:Blog Post

If you have been watching this blog up till now, you might be thinking that I know a lot about anatomy. Truth is, I don’t. I have a lot of good anatomy books, but I rarely look at them. The reason why I have them is so that I can look into it later on when I need it. My advice to you if you’re just starting out is this: Don’t be too obsessed with anatomy books. That’s something you’ll pick up as you go. Most of the time when I’m sketching I just go with what “looks or feels right.”

If you’re fixated on anatomy and having everything correct when you’re starting out, then you won’t be able to experiment and have fun playing around. Experiment and play around with what you currently know. For example, right now I have a bit of knowledge about the Deltoid. The shape of the Deltoid helps me to rough out the shoulder. That’s it. I don’t know much else. Later on when I know more about the leg (for example), then I will start incorporating the knowledge into my sketches. In the meantime, I don’t worry about it, and I work with what I [currently know].

One more thing I want to share: The sketches you see below are broken into three days (Top, Mid, Bottom). In this example, I was exploring shapes. When you’re starting out or explore something new for the first time, you do not have full confidence because you’re in unknown/new territory. Your sketches might look funny but keep pressing on. In day two, I got a hang of it. Day three, I knew what I was doing and aiming for.

Sketching or Doodling

  • Post published:May 28, 2019
  • Post Category:Blog Post

I don’t sketch that often, not on papers anyway. And the reason is that I suffer from this “I’m not good enough yet, and I don’t want to ruin my sketchbook” syndrome. Which is why I do a lot of sketching and doodling in Krita—that’s how I improved. That way, I don’t waste paper! However, there’s an disadvantage to this. The first is that you can’t sketch the variety of things you see in real life. Trees, houses, poles etc… And secondly, you can’t carry Krita with you when you’re on the road, waiting for a bus.

I thought that I was one of the few who suffers from the syndrome mentioned above, but apparently A LOT of beginner artists suffer from it, something I learned after watching this video:

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z1682ZFvDo,
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNgdeo9w9Dw

The artist in this video made a very good point about Pianists. Artists have this “fear” of messing up their sketchbooks because they have this “reverence” for them. On top of this, most of them make the excuse that they’re not good enough to draw in their sketchbook. As a result of this, the majority of them let their sketchbooks remain on the shelf collecting dusts, and they never improve because of that.

Pianists on the other hand do not suffer from this problem. After their practice session, there’s no record of it! All their mistakes went into thin air. They have no fear nor reverence. Mistakes are normal and it will soon be forgotten forever. Unless, of course they purposely record their practice session, but generally they don’t. That’s why after their practice, even if they suck or didn’t do well, there’s no record of it. But the act of playing the scale does something to the hands and brain, and that’s what matters in the end. Artists need to get into the habit of doodling. The whole idea behind doodling is the same idea behind a Pianist practicing his scale.

So I went out today and bought a few low quality sketchbooks. Since the purpose is not to make masterpieces, but to doodle and throw away or keep as a record.

These were done today on low quality sketchbook. Based on reference images on my monitor.