Unique and ex­pres­sive

Learn how Phil Galloway uses ArtRage 5 to paint a tex­ture-filled por­trait that’s full of colour and char­ac­ter

ImagineFX - - Editor’s Letter -

Fine artist Phil Galloway shares his dig­i­tal art process us­ing ArtRage and tra­di­tional tech­niques.

I’m cre­at­ing a por­trait piece for this work­shop. I’ll take you through each step of my process, from cre­at­ing a new file and load­ing up a ref­er­ence im­age, sketch­ing out ini­tial shapes and forms, through to block­ing in and adding thicker tex­tured paint us­ing ArtRage’s Pal­ette knife, and util­is­ing cus­tom brushes to cre­ate more tex­ture and move­ment. I’ll also show you how to add some fi­nal flour­ishes, such as grunge back­grounds and pa­per tex­tures, as we ex­port the ArtRage paint­ing into Pho­to­shop.

I like to echo my ap­proach to tra­di­tional art in my dig­i­tal process, so the process shouldn’t feel too alien or un­usual if you come from a fine art back­ground. The work­shop shows how the screen re­ally does be­come a can­vas be­fore you. The por­trait I’ll be work­ing on is of an old man in an ab­stract colour­ful set­ting, so I’ll keep my paint loose and choppy to cre­ate vi­brancy and in­ter­est in a mod­ern man­ner, all the while ad­her­ing to real-world paint­ing tech­niques.

Choosing your sub­ject mat­ter

Un­less you’ve been com­mis­sioned to paint some­one’s pic­ture, it can be a bit of a strug­gle for artists to source roy­alty-free im­ages as ref­er­ences. No need to worry: with a bit of search­ing a range of web­sites that have stock im­ages ready for you to use can be found. This work­shop uses high-res­o­lu­tion photo ref­er­ences of an el­derly man, origami and tree blos­som from the fan­tas­tic free im­age web­site Pix­abay ( www.pix­abay.com).

Cre­at­ing a new file in ArtRage

In ArtRage, I click File in the top-left corner. A drop-down box will ap­pear with var­i­ous op­tions. I press New Paint­ing and a box ap­pears. This is where you set your di­men­sions and what sur­face you’ll be work­ing on. I se­lect the Print Size tab and set the di­men­sions for my paint­ing, which are 232x310mm. I make sure to change the de­fault 72 pix­els/inch set­ting up to 300, which will en­sure a high­res­o­lu­tion im­age for our end paint­ing.

Im­port­ing a ref­er­ence photo

ArtRage en­ables you to im­port your ref­er­ence im­age to sit on top of your workspace and be moved around, as if you were copy­ing from a photo on your desk. Sim­ply se­lect Refs on the right-hand side of the screen and, in the new box that ap­pears, ei­ther click the file im­age or the Post-it note. A new win­dow will open where the down­loaded/saved im­age of the old man and origami ref­er­ence can be found and placed. Dou­ble-click the im­age and it now opens in ArtRage.

Select­ing the can­vas tex­ture

The next stage when cre­at­ing a new file is to click the box show­ing the brush­stroke across a tex­ture sur­face. This will open up a new win­dow in which the can­vas colour, tex­ture, rough­ness and light­ing can all be tweaked. This will al­ter how the paint flows and ad­heres to the sur­face, so in­ves­ti­gate which could suit your style. For this work­shop I’ll be us­ing a lightly tex­tured pa­per, which adds a nice, light grain to the paint flow.

Draw­ing the pen­cil sketch

I se­lect the cus­tom brush in the Tool picker and go to the Daub brushes. Here, I pick the Sim­ple 2B Pen­cil brush be­cause this works well for quick and rough draw­ings. I don’t worry too much about shad­ing and tex­ture dur­ing this sketch­ing stage. I draw in guide lines for where the top and sides of the head will be, along with the neck­line, shoul­ders and main fea­tures. There’s no need for masses of de­tail be­cause this will be painted over in the next stage, but defin­ing the ar­eas of light and dark and val­ues helps the paint­ing process.

Du­pli­cat­ing the pen­cil layer

A help­ful way of keep­ing track of your paint­ing and not los­ing sight of your shapes and light­ing lines is to du­pli­cate your ini­tial sketch layer and to place it on top of your work. In the Lay­ers tab on the right, click the small file im­age on your pen­cil layer to open a menu, se­lect Du­pli­cate Layer and your pen­cil sketch will be du­pli­cated on top in a new layer. Tap the black dot in the du­pli­cated layer and set the Trans­parency to 50 per cent so that the lines don’t in­ter­fere too much with your paint­ing, but still act as a guide. Re­mem­ber to delete or hide this layer at the end or when your paint­ing is fleshed out enough to work with­out it.

Adding lay­ers

Be­fore mov­ing on to block­ing in colour, I need to cre­ate a new layer for the paint. This is the main dif­fer­ence be­tween fine art and dig­i­tal art as usu­ally paint would be di­rectly ap­plied over th­ese lines on a can­vas. How­ever, paint­ing dig­i­tally gives you the free­dom to choose to keep th­ese lines on a sep­a­rate layer, in case they need tweak­ing at a later stage. Much like in Pho­to­shop, I se­lect the Lay­ers box on the right-hand side of the screen and click the plus but­ton. The new layer is now cre­ated and can be dragged in be­tween the two pen­cil lay­ers, ready to work on. I call this layer base some­thing suit­able: ‘paint’ or ‘ block­ing in’.

Block­ing in your colours

I don’t want to add too much paint on the can­vas dur­ing this block­ing-in stage, so I se­lect the Oil Brush tool from the Tool picker. Us­ing this tool stops the paint­ing from be­com­ing muddy and hard to man­age, and puts into the prac­tice the ‘ fat over lean’ rule that tra­di­tional artists fol­low. Next, I click the brush’s Set­tings box and pull the slider la­belled Load­ing right down to be­tween four and nine per cent. This now gives me a dry brush with which to roughly paint in the tones, high­lights and shaded ar­eas, adding def­i­ni­tion and struc­ture to the por­trait. The Pal­ette Knife tool can be used to fur­ther blend the paint to fill in any gaps.

De­vel­op­ing an ab­stract back­ground

I place a new layer un­der­neath the block­ing-in paint layer. Then I se­lect the Nor­mal Brush tool, en­large it to over 300 per cent and build up a loose cov­er­ing, us­ing bold strokes and vary­ing shades. Next, I se­lect the Pal­ette Knife tool with no Load­ing on it and push the mal­leable paint around. For the ab­stract blos­som, I cre­ate a new layer and loosely paint in bright pinks and reds be­fore select­ing the Daub Im­pres­sion­ist 01 cus­tom brush to frac­ture the paint across the can­vas. The harder you press, the big­ger the paint splin­ters. This cre­ates some won­der­ful ef­fects.

Make use of some cus­tom brushes

ArtRage has a tool that en­ables you to cre­ate any kind of tex­ture or brush. Th­ese tex­tures can flesh out a por­trait or scene and add vi­brancy and move­ment. Ei­ther ex­per­i­ment with the cus­tom brush de­signer, use the stock ArtRage brushes and tex­tures, or down­load a set like the Daub Brushes by Paolo Li­mon­celli ( https://gum­road.com/l/ohqzS/phil), who’s kindly al­lowed us to in­clude them with this work­shop’s re­sources. I use the Ex­pres­sive Bris­tle Gouache brush for the skin, which en­hances the na­ture of the wrin­kles and builds up the chiaroscuro across the face.

Cre­at­ing a raised brush­stroke tex­ture

Un­less you’ve loaded your brush with paint in the pre­vi­ous stages, your work could be a lit­tle lack­ing in 3D tex­tures. Here, I cre­ate a new layer and drag it down to the bot­tom of the lay­ers, where it’s un­der­neath ev­ery­thing else. Any thick paint or tex­ture put on this layer will now cause the paint on top to rise and bob­ble. This quickly adds depth and chunk­i­ness to the brush­strokes above.

I se­lect the Nor­mal Oil brush and raise the Load­ing to be­tween 20 and 30. I fol­low the strokes that are above it and paint in th­ese ar­eas, caus­ing them to raise as if painted by a real oiled brush. This can bring the work alive un­der close scru­tiny and when it’s printed out for dis­play.

Sav­ing and ex­port­ing

It’s al­ways good prac­tice to save the art­work through­out the paint­ing process, just in case the app crashes! To do this is easy: sim­ply click the File but­ton at the top of the screen and click Save Paint­ing as. Then name the file as you would a file on a com­puter. Once named only click the Save but­ton as you work.

When I’m fin­ished in ArtRage I can choose to ex­port my im­age as a JPG, PNG or PSD. Be­cause more work needs to be done on the paint­ing in Pho­to­shop, I se­lect the Ex­port Im­age File op­tion and in the open win­dow drop-down I click PSD. The paint­ing is now saved as a Pho­to­shop file, ready to be ma­nip­u­lated and tweaked.

Ap­ply a base tex­ture In Pho­to­shop

Although the ArtRage paint­ing is al­ready on a pa­per tex­ture, it can be fur­ther en­hanced us­ing stock tex­tures and grunge el­e­ments in Pho­to­shop. I head to Pix­abay and search through its se­lec­tion of tex­tures and sur­faces, choosing a wall tex­ture with white and black paint on it to fill in the lower ar­eas of white in the paint­ing. I open my saved Pho­to­shop file and drop the wall tex­ture on top of it, stretch­ing it to fit. I drag this layer to the first layer above the pa­per layer at the bot­tom of the lay­ers and ad­just it to suit, delet­ing any un­wanted ar­eas that are vis­i­ble.

Place a fi­nal pa­per tex­ture over­lay and fin­ish­ing up

To keep the im­age from look­ing too stark and lurid, as well as to en­hance the re­al­ism of the piece, I place a pa­per tex­ture on the top layer. Again sourc­ing from Pix­abay, I drop the Ivory Off White pa­per im­age on to the paint­ing in a new layer. I stretch it to fill the can­vas and click Mul­ti­ply in the lay­ers tab. Then I ad­just the Trans­parency to around 50 per cent, so as to sub­tly show the pa­per tex­ture and warm the colours a lit­tle. The paint­ing is now com­plete and can be saved and shared with the world.

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