Artist Q&A

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Donglu Yu and An­dreas Rocha on paint­ing rocks, boost­ing colour vi­brancy and more.

Ques­tion

How can I best sim­plify shapes when paint­ing from out­door ref­er­ences? Hilda Kvítková, US

An­swer Donglu replies

What’s fun with vir­tual plein-air paint­ings is that we’re not just re­pro­duc­ing what we see on the photo from Google Street View, but we have the free­dom to ap­ply de­grees of styli­sa­tion to it. Shape styli­sa­tion and sim­pli­fi­ca­tion doesn’t only ap­ply to com­po­si­tion and sil­hou­ette – it also af­fects how you blend your colours.

A stan­dard process is to take a more trans­par­ent colour with a smaller brush to blend dif­fer­ent colours to­gether. But I’ll show you how to use cus­tom shapes as brushes to blend colours. When you zoom out, you’ll see an in­ter­est­ing colour gra­da­tion on the over­all im­age, and when you zoom in, you’ll see ab­stract and stylised shapes in your im­ages.

If you vary the shape and the level of de­tails of your cus­tom shapes, you can gen­er­ate dif­fer­ent de­grees of styli­sa­tion when blend­ing your colours. It be­comes a fun and cre­ative ex­per­i­ment. I en­cour­age you to take some time to build your own li­brary of cus­tom shapes, be­cause it’s a great way to find your own sig­na­ture through this styli­sa­tion process.

By us­ing a range of cus­tom brush shapes, I’m able to trans­form the ini­tial sketch into a paint­ing with a bold shape sig­na­ture.

IFX Q&A - Cap­tion White IFX Q&A - Cap­tion White IFX Q&A - Cap­tion White IFX Q&A - Cap­tion White IFX Q&A - Cap­tion White IFX Q&A - Cap­tion White IFX Q&A - Cap­tion White Here, you can see the col­lec­tion of my cus­tom shapes, in­clud­ing rocks, char­ac­ters, me­chan­i­cal parts, veg­e­ta­tions and pat­terns. The ones that worked the best for me are the me­chan­i­cal shapes.

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