Tran Nguyen on when not to ap­ply de­tail

Jet Carter, UK

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Front Page -

Tran replies

Se­lec­tive de­tail­ing will direct the viewer’s eye to the vi­tal parts of the com­po­si­tion and help es­tab­lish flow in the nar­ra­tive. With the use of value, I can em­pha­sise the fig­ure by lay­ing deep darks against the bright­est whites, like the con­trast be­tween the black of her pupil and the light­ness of her iris. For sec­ondary com­po­nents such as the wispy fo­liage, I keep it less ren­dered, with very lit­tle value change.

I like to keep some of the un­re­fined brush strokes as they are, to cre­ate a hazy feel (like that of the blur ef­fect), which also creates depth with­out de­tract­ing from her face. I know most of us have a com­pul­sive urge to re­fine ev­ery as­pect of a paint­ing, but keep­ing this un­der con­trol will al­low for more at­mo­spheric depth.

It’s also ac­cept­able to use neg­a­tive space to break up ar­eas of heavy de­tail. I keep the larger leaf shapes flat as a graphic el­e­ment. Again, con­trast is key. The small fish shapes also serve a sim­i­lar pur­pose, as well as adding move­ment to the com­po­si­tion. It’s most im­por­tant to have bal­ance in your de­tails: keep the fo­cal point ren­dered with a wide range of val­ues, while en­sur­ing that its sur­round­ings re­main more ex­pres­sive and ob­scure.

Artist's se­cret

Loosey Goosey

Start your paint­ing with very loose brush strokes and paint with the full mo­tion of your wrist This will al­low for dy­namic shapes and tex­tures also the en­tire Make use of not only the tip, but belly of your brush.

For non-es­sen­tial ar­eas, let the spon­tane­ity of the paint find it­self. Con­sider leav­ing sec­tions like the pink pe­tals un­re­fined and flat.

Push your lights and darks in the ar­eas that you want to em­pha­sise, such as the fig­ure’s pierc­ing eyes.

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