St. George Process: Digital vs. Watercolor & Ink

By Justin Gerard

Last post I showed the St. George painting executed in watercolor and ink.  Today I am going through the same piece, only this time, working in digital over the original pencil.




My initial digital process (in CS5) is almost exactly the same as my traditional process. I use primarily multiply layers to work up the dark tones slowly until the right values are generally accomplished and the colors and color temperatures are suggested.  Since I am working transparently both ways, the traditional and the digital pieces look very similar at this stage.



Before moving forward, I prepare a lightly toasted waffle with butter and syrup and strawberries and then eat this delicious meal. This is a very important step.

Next (back in Photoshop) I begin to pull up the the lighting on the objects to further define the values.  During this stage I am still working on mostly transparent layers. I am trying to keep as much of the pencil in tact as possible.  My goal for this stage is to really establish the values and colors of the scene and everything in it.  It is much easier for me to start pulling up colors after the values have been worked out. It's not necessarily the best method, but this procedural approach tends to work better for me because my brain was shipped out missing the specific hardware that would have otherwise allowed me to process both value and color at the same time.  (This is why I stare in wonder when I see the other Muddys like Donato or Petar or Greg paint.  They are putting the right color in the right place and it is just amazing to me.)
I am still waiting for the rest of my brain to come in the mail.




Now that the overall values and colors have both been figured out, I can really get into the details without having to worry too much about possibly having to go back and paint over anything. I have more or less idiot-proofed the painting and can now work around it easily and confidently, exploring the nooks and crannies and refining everything. This final work I do in mostly normal layers, leaving some pencil strokes alone and covering others that are grabbing too much attention up.

If you happen to be out the in L.A. area you can check out the pieces at Gallery Nucleus on August 6.

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