Any ideas for boost­ing the light­ing and fo­cal point of an im­age?

Rod­ney Hallem, Eng­land

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An­swer John replies

Us­ing el­e­ments of your pen­cil un­der­draw­ing is a great way to cap­ture the viewer’s at­ten­tion within a piece. Fur­ther­more, your pen­cil lines can em­pha­sise light sources in the scene. Even when I cre­ate a dig­i­tal piece I usu­ally tend to start out with tra­di­tional me­dia such as pen­cils. I like the feel­ing of tex­tured paper as I make my marks, and it also means I have an orig­i­nal piece of process art that I’m able to sell. Sim­u­lated tex­ture in a dig­i­tal art pro­gram is all well and good, but there’s noth­ing quite like the feel of pen­cil on cold press board or wa­ter­colour paper.

My phi­los­o­phy lately has be­come one of fo­cus on drafts­man­ship. The more time I spend on work­ing up a de­tailed draw­ing, the less I’ll have to paint over it later. Colour­ing be­comes a breeze, be­cause the val­ues and tex­ture are al­ready there, but more im­por­tantly I’m able to switch the colour theme with min­i­mal ef­fort. Red/yel­low colour scheme too ag­gres­sive? I can work up a blue/green en­vi­ron­ment in just a few min­utes. The main take­away, how­ever, is to let the paper tex­ture and pen­cil lines guide your eye to where you need it.

Some­times it’s good to mix it up a lit­tle bit. I use con­tour lines that fol­low the curve of the main body of the weld­ing de­vice.

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