Painting like a Sculptor

Painting like a Sculptor

August 17, 2019 100 By Peter Engel


hey everyone cynics here and today I’m going to be talking about painting like a sculptor and that just means I’m going to try to make your digital paintings look a little more dimensional and hopefully make the whole process a little more pliable so there are a few key points I want to mention here at the start I’m going to be trying to focus on planes especially at the start of a painting I think it’s very good to divide things up into flat surfaces instead of spheres or rounded shapes I’ll be mentioning cutting and smoothing a lot that just refers to cutting out new planes or smoothing two planes together and the other thing is you really can’t be afraid of constantly reworking something you got to treat your painting like a ball of clay and constantly be removing things or adjusting things in any way you see fit just experiment around and it is very important to note that I am using Corel Painter for this and the brush I’m going to be using is the acrylic dry brush I just want to point out though that you can do the same stuff with any brush in any program I’m just using this one because it speeds up the process and I’m going to show you how right now so the weird thing about this brush is that it only stores a limited amount of paint so if I just make a slow stroke downward you’ll see that it just runs out of paint and the paint is kind of tapers off and you don’t see anything so you can’t really use this brush to draw with because obviously you can’t make a very long line it’ll just run out of paint but what the the interesting thing about this brush is is that when it runs out of paint if you don’t lift it back off the canvas you can just keep wiggling it around and it will just smear the paint around that’s already on there so you can use it like a hard edge brush if you just use little strokes and you’ll see that this has a hard edge all around and I like to call this cutting because it’s kind of like you’re just cutting something out of a sculpture making those hard edge lines everywhere and then if you keep it pressed down obviously you can just smooth it out and it’s kind of a bit like a soft edge brush just doing a lot of blending so I think the speeds up my painting process a lot because it’s like having a hard edge brush and a soft edge brush all in one whatever you want it but once again obviously you can make smooth out things by using a variety of techniques you can do color picking you can just kind of slowly use soft edged brushes you can switch whatever brushes you have I’m sure you can achieve the same look and effect it might just take a little more work or it might be a little harder who knows you might have a faster way to do it one of the more difficult aspects of this brush though is that it’s a lot easier to go from light to dark than it is from dark to light it’s a bit similar to like a watercolor or something where you’re picking up a lot of the surrounding darker colors if you try to just keep brushing it around and blending stuff together so you have to take that into account a little bit you can still make stuff go from dark to light it just takes a lot of different brush strokes and it just takes more time basically but you can see here when I try to smooth out a white paint against the gray background it just kind of quickly blends out but if I was to use a dark color against this gray background you’ll see that it just constantly keeps mixing in and spreading itself out so you got to take it into account now if you look at the stroke on the right side of the page this is actually going to be the most common technique you see and a lot of my paintings and that is to leave a hard edge on one side in this case it’s the left side and then roughly smooth things out on the other side and I find this technique very useful especially when painting most organic things or just anything in general it’s very good to be able to get those hard edges and smooth edges all in one stroke so to quickly recap the whole process of painting is basically just a lot of cutting and smoothing so I’m going to be folding a lot of gradients into other gradients and that just means I’m going to be cutting one side smoothing the other and then cutting into the area I smooth and smoothing that once again and I like to call that folding gradients because that’s just what it reminds me of like folding two gradients together so you got a hard edge in the middle of a gradient and you can see here I’m just kind of playing around with the brush a little bit which is always a good idea if you’re trying a new brush obviously I used it a bit but I still think it’s helpful just to experiment around with it and what it looks like when you’re mixing it differently and trying to use in different ways so I’m kind of making little folding patterns and the other thing I want to mention is it’s always good to try to be as subtle as you can with your value changes especially when you’re just getting used to a new brush always starts as subtle as you can and then you can always work up to a stronger contrast so you can start with a lot of little subtle changes and then if you think okay I think I need more strong lighting then you can always add that and it’s a lot easier to work your way up that way so it looks like I’ve made some kind of drape cloth here I guess I guess that’s what it is it looks a little bit like a drape cloth okay so now that we’ve played around a bit let’s actually try some practical applications of what I’ve been talking about so far I’m just gonna draw a few random faces here I’m not going to think too hard about it just some very generic ugly faces something that just fill in some values with now for the first face I’m just going to keep it super basic there’s not gonna be a lot of lighting stuff going on we’re just gonna focus on using the brush to show the planes of the face in a very subtle and simple way I started with a really just light a probably way too light color and I’m just slowly working in some lighting and there’s not much going on but the important thing is to always be deciding when to make your cuts and which side to smooth out so sometimes you might want to smooth out everything if you’re just adding a general lighting source but often you’re generally making a cut on one side where you’re defining a new plane and then smoothing things out a few of the more obvious examples might be right under the bags under the eye you might get that strong highlight there on the cheek that kind of just blends out into the rest of the cheek and maybe on the upper lip under the nose there that’s another plane to define so that one comes forward you can use your brush to really carve it out and then smooth it into the rest so there’s a lot of carving a lot of cutting and then smoothing in so it so it kind of blends into the rest of things and you can even look under that bottom lip where you have the chin there you actually have some strong lights being blended away as well as a shadow being blended upward so you got two blends just bumping right up against each other and that’s creating a lot of contrast there which I actually I always like emphasizing that I think it’s a very fun part of the face and the rest is just going to be your basic anatomy and I’ll admit it’s hard to not get carried away by adding too many creases or wrinkles or exaggerated plane changes everywhere but I think it’s fun look I love adding that little pop of light on the temple on the side of the forehead or maybe around the cheeks where you get the little plane changes going on there I don’t know it’s it’s all very irresistible to me so for this next face we’re actually going to do a little bit of a lighting exercise which is always a great thing to practice and we’re going to be trying to use this lighting exercise to make sure we fully understand the different planes of the face that are happening and that we’re going to also be trying to use our brush to make sure we understand when to put a hard edge and when to put a smooth edge I’m just going to make a very bottom lip from this one so just popping a lot of light under any plane that would be facing the bottom and bringing in the darkness on any plane that is facing the top so it’s kind of a opposite of what we would normally have in a default lighting scheme so that’s kind of fun I don’t know I think it’s a very helpful exercise to help wrap your brain around any three-dimensional object but anyway for this last face I just wanted to take everything I’ve been practicing here and just apply it in a way that’s fun and represents my personal tastes so you can see I started with a much darker mid-tone and then I thought I would just work it into more dynamic lighting schemes so I really like to pop in these strong lights under the eyes and on the upper lip and it’s just fun for me I like the dark noses and all this stuff you just look so sad and grumpy or what being painted I like it’s weird little baby chin too so anyway I think that’s going to do it for the strictly tutorial part of things now I’m just going to move on to have some fun with it so we’ll bring in the colors I know you guys have been missing colors it’s been looking pretty grey there so I’m just gonna start out by making a background but I’m gonna make just a blob of skin tone –is– colors and I’m not even gonna make it drawing so I’m just gonna make a blob here add some red in the middle where I know the cheeks and whole red area of the face would be and I’m just going to try to carve a nose out of this mess which I’ve done before I always like doing this I feel like this is a very fun way to make a face to not really know what you’re gonna do just kind of start carving out of things and this is where I really feel like the whole idea of painting like a sculptor really comes into fruition for me because I’m really just kind of approaching this in a very loose and I don’t know casual way where I don’t really care I’m constantly changing things constantly carving in and out and trying to find something fun as you can see here with nose noses still give me trouble I feel like noses are one of the most difficult things for me to paint still no matter what I do but I think this nose looks okay you can see I’m trying to bring in a lot of hue variation everywhere I’m constantly moving the hue slider around my little colour wheel so I even bring in some blues here and there which personally I love I love bringing in blues on the face especially when you get those reds there and you bring in a little blue right next to it ah it’s just great I love it so I’m kind of hinting at where I might want to put the eyes and the mouth and I think I got a good good idea where I want the mouth to be so it was just a matter of kind of picking out some colors I think that gray on the left side of the upper lip is a bit strong probably go back and change that I hope I go back and change that it’s kind of bugging me now you can see here it’s a little tricky to pick colors and one of the most common things you’ll see me control-z away is actually colors because when it comes to the actual painting and the adding of value stuff I usually just like to keep painting over stuff keep reworking it but when it comes to colors I usually just put a color down and then decide if I like it or not and then just you know pick a different one I have to see it against what I’ve already established to know so there’s nothing wrong with that don’t be afraid to experiment just pick a random color and then your brain will tell you if you want it to be a different hue warmer colder more saturated less saturated all that stuff so you can see here I’ve actually kind of formed a chin we’ve we’ve made progress so once I have a chin here I can just start carving out the side of the face and keep moving things around I was trying to decide on a good secondary light source which is always a nice touch when you’re doing a trying to make something look good and realistic so yeah this is a good is a good little test I’m trying to see how much of a realistic skin tone I can just make out of imagination without any reference stuff which is usually how I do all my painting without any reference but nonetheless I it’s never a challenge that seems to be easy so anyway you can see here I finally lightened up that gray a little bit but yeah once again same brush you can see there’s a lot of blending around sometimes if I don’t like something I’ll just blend it completely out like I did with that I don’t don’t get too attached to anything I kind of like these years just being these red shapes actually but you can see I tried some stronger lighting it didn’t really work I mean it seemed like it would work but the key thing to remember when you’re doing value is that you should always squint as hard as you can just squint turn your head to the side squint like your life depended on it and that’s when you’ll see if you actually like the values or not because if you have your eyes wide open values kind of get lost and you see color a lot more but if you squint hard you kind of lose track of color and all you see is value so that’s always a good tip I know I’ve said it before but if you’re doing color keep your eyes open if you’re doing value squint hard squint hard and don’t look back Oh see there you can see lots of carving lots of cutting all around the face I try to carve it into parts where I think the light will hit it strongest then I just smooth it out so or whether it’s shadow obviously we go in one way you’re always carving but the important thing is that you’re going to get an idea just by experimenting around of where you want to place your cut points and where you want to place your smooth points but it’s it relatively self-explanatory because obviously it’s always going to be where the crease is where the plane changes where you’re going to get the hard line so ears I don’t even want to talk about ears I’m I’m still a little bit terrible at painting years despite my video it’s it’s helped me a little bit but I still feel like ears are challenging to say the least I can draw them pretty decently painting them not so much a little bit I always get carried away with different things but this is pretty much a great point to get to in your painting I don’t worry too much about adding the actual eye features and stuff I like to focus on just adding these lumps of where the eyes will be because let’s see once again focus on just the dimensional quality of things like a sculpture instead of focusing on all the different actual kind of drawing changes that will happen all the pupils and all the little detail stuff we want to focus on big plane changes I always like these little necks don’t ask me it’s fun it’s fun to draw these weird little necks but I’m pretty okay with the face the facial colors and everything so I think I’m just going to speed it up for a little bit here I don’t really want to focus too much on the hair and all these details it’s always a little bit tricky to out at brown hair I actually went a little bit green you always kind of want to change the hue it needs to differentiate itself from the skin tones which are usually very brownish or ready so if you want brown hair you kind of have to go a little green a little blue maybe just to get it to look right adding details around the eye is one of the best places to practice your your sculpturing skills because you get a lot of different plane changes going on obviously the top lid goes into the eye socket the bottom lid goes into the eye socket and then the eye socket pulls things back out so it’s just like a zigzag of plane changes it’s very fun to paint but you can see I get I was just adding facial hair just for the fun of things not really any real purpose I thought I’d add a little guy in the background too just for just to practice subtlety when it comes to this brush because it’s good to be able to draw things at a distance in just doing these subtle little changes hopefully it looks vaguely realistic it doesn’t I know but vaguely it kind of looks like psycho or something um so I guess this is about it I was like trying to decide on stupid stuff to add and I wasn’t really happy with this painting it looks super boring to be honest almost I was I was actually very close to turning off my my painting right there and calling it a day but I thought you know you’ve already made all this work why not just have fun which is my favorite thing to do with these paintings so I thought okay I’m just going to get a burst of second energy and start painting away so here we go it’s it’s completely morphing before your eyes and you can see how quickly it is to paint with this brush because I think I’m doing this all in I don’t know roughly maybe 30 minutes for this second little part so it was very fast and I’m having fun adding a lot of color adding a lot of lighting stuff so you can see here I added this little crown of flowers and adding all the all the right greens and yellows to make it look like it’s catching the Sun lights and trying to add a bunch of different plane changes to even the flowers and the the colors up there as well but I had a lot of fun with that I had a lot of fun with ear adding those little a subsurface scattering effects that I love so much and once again it’s just a matter of adding some details to the eye and there’s one thing that I always leave out of eyes which I kind of realized right here and that is that I never add makeup and I feel like that’s a shame all my on my female faces they always kind of look a little plain but I thought I would add a little more shadowy smoky makeup at least a little bit of rum pie and that’s that’s a key to making pretty fancy art you got to add makeup to your your girl characters so I had a lot of fun doing this one and I made her nose a lot flatter obviously the their eyes are very spread out I tried to make it look a little more elk like deer like whatever you want to say but I enjoy it looks a lot more fun now please then go okay so I think that’s gonna do it for this video I hope you enjoyed the tutorial as well as my fun little nonsense painting stuff at the end I know I certainly did and hopefully it helped you learn a little bit more about painting at least you know maybe get you to at least understand what I’m doing every time you see this nonsense on screen you understand how the brush I’m using works and what’s going on a little bit in my head a lot of lot of cutting a lot of smoothing a lot of carbon a lot of sculpting so hopefully you can approach your painting like a ball of clay and make it do whatever you want all right thank you guys for watching and once again thank you to all of my wonderful patrons you guys are the best and you make these videos happen