Thursday, May 2, 2013

Digital Experimentation

-By Mike Butkus

Hey guys this is my first foray into digital painting. I start off by doing a quick rough sketch on the Cintiq just using the brush tool and that’s it.

Next I silhouette the whole form in black and slowly bring out the lights, defining the forms and shapes, concentrating on the skull structure, eyes and mouth.

Now I start to define the shapes that I like. I’m not using layers. I’m strictly painting as I would if using oils and acrylics. Again, the only tool I’m using is the brush tool.

Here I found some great fur texture on the Internet and incorporated them onto his head and a little bit onto the muzzle.

This is my finished rough. Just having fun and seeing what I can do in Photoshop. I have about an hour and a half invested in this color sketch.


  1. Nicely done! - Though I DO hope you used a royalty free stock image for the fur and not just nabbed something you found in a google search!

    1. I highly doubt taking a swatch of fur from a photo constitutes copyright infringement.

    2. I'd agree it's debatable as it may constitute fair use (being something of a transformational use of the original image), but it doesn't come across very well. I know Feng Zhu on his blog and video tutorials (among others) warns against it - stating it is "very unporfessional". I just feel that a high standing blog such as this (and an artist such as yourself) would veer away from it and have used a royalty free image from one of the stock providers on DeviantArt for instance.
      At any rate I look forward to seeing more of your forays into digital art in the future.

    3. Whoops! - I mistook this as your post then!

    4. Firstly, this isn't my piece... it's Mike's.

      Secondly, Feng Zhu is -totally- correct when it comes to using large portions of photos or likenesses. Those things are derivative.

      Copyright law deals with a lot of grey areas. Truly, it's up to a jury of your peers as to whether or not something is derivative. Usually the rule of thumb is that it needs to be altered by at least 30%. So I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that taking a small texture swatch, from a much larger photo, of an animal that actually exists in nature (and has been photographed millions of times), is about as legal as it gets.

    5. Also check out Wikipedia's article on Derivative Work (especially the Transformative section) for good reading on the matter:

  2. I think it was Donald Trumps hair.

    Thanks guys!

  3. Thank you Dan,
    and guys I got from one of those free texture websites


  4. i a noob here, but just keep in mind that with solid foundation skills, amazing skills at fundamentals, like these guys have, photo usage of any kind, cannot dictate their work, only speed it up. Thats why it shows when a person looks like he stole a photo or something like that, because they use it to hide their weakness rather than compliment their work. Thats just my personal opinion anyway :)
    Amazing art as usual mike, its nice to see another proof of the importance of fundamentals.

  5. The fur photo is just a time saver. Placed in the context of what is a totally amazing painting of an imaginary creature Mike created from in the world is anybody even focusing on the fur texture?! Mike can do ANYTHING, you hear....ANYTHING. Painting all that fur would have turned a quick foray into digital painting into a different exercise than what he appears to be going after. I could be wrong, but I think the point of the exercise is to show how rapidly and simply one can create a beautiful, detailed "sketch" in near zero time, considering the final product looks better than many other lesser artists attempts at a final illustration. This is digital and a VAST majority of realist or conceptual realist digital artist use photo scrap to add into their mix of tools. That's industry standard practice, although yes, I do think some take it too far, abuse it, or hide behind photos as a means of illustration or creative drawing and painting. This piece by Mike in no way trespasses on hollowed ground reserved only for traditionalists or breaks any sense of noble creative notions we all seem to be protective about in this thread. If anything, Mike has shown, he has illustrated, perfectly, the best practices when you DO use a photo in your digital painting. Rock on Mike.Sorry to all, that struck a nerve with me. And yes, I'm a bit of a fanboy. lol

  6. kingkostas and Artillory,
    Thank you my friends! You guys are far too kind.


  7. Addison,
    Thank you sir that was far too much fun!

    Thank you!

  8. Which Car you want..? Here is a best list of Cars and Vehicles, Hot Vehicles, Strange Cars, Super Cars Model, Funny Cars, Car Latest Models, Cars with Girls, Cars like helicopter and Most Speed and Expensive Cars


Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Whatsapp Button works on Mobile Device only

Start typing and press Enter to search