I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my drawing and painting skills but I'm yet to discover the single secret to becoming a master over night. Apparently it's all about hard work and practice, which is alright because painting's awesome fun.
That said, I have come across quite few handy hints that have help me along the way.
- Flip your canvas: A horizontal flip will let you see your painting with fresh eyes, making it easier to spot any problem areas.
- Go black and white: Add a desaturation layer at the top of your layer stack to make your image black and white. This not only helps you see if there's an appropriate amount of contrast but it also highlight any issues caused by your tonal values.
- Use custom brushes: This a great way to quickly add texture and depth to your paintings. Restrain yourself though - I find if you use more than 4 or 5 different textured brushes you risk making your image look confused.
- Start rough: We've all been there, staring at a blank white canvas, scared to make a mark. I've found the best way round this is to work on the painting as a whole just blocking out the main shapes of the composition. You can then treat this as an under painting and build up detail on top of it.
- Hit the Books: The fundamentals of traditional art are just as important when working in digital art. So read up and practice, get the basics down. I've been mainly focusing on anatomy, composition, and perceptive drawing. Stay tuned for reviews of my favourite books.
- Buy a Graphics Tablet: I put this off for far too long. I had been underwhelmed by the results I got using a small cheap tablet I borrowed from a friend. I didn't realise what I was missing until I got the chance to use a professional tablet. Not only will a graphics tablet increase your accuracy and speed, the pen pressure sensitivity will add a real professional edge to your work. More on this coming soon....
Have you guys got any of your own top tips?