Thursday, September 13, 2012

getting into BIG BRUSHES

 I'm trying to get some practice with big brushes lately, and wondering about silhouettes. I was always abit confused by all the big brush talk i heard from artists. Perhaps you've heard of the B.L.A.S.T. rule? (I got it from James Gurney, i guess he invented the wording, though its always been a thing amongst naturalistic painters, theres some great quotes from Sargent on this)

"Big Brushes.
Large to small.
Accents last.
Soften edges.
Take your time."

 Its easy to understand these thoughts in theory, the idea essentially being simpler=better, or a general way to eliminate ''noodling'' that screws up the orderly process of painting 'important' stuff first. But its still not specific enough to me- also in that it applies to a pretty specific type of painting, which is lit scenes. You can't really apply it to styles that don't use big blocks of colortone to make the point.

                  I've been noticing some cool things from using big brushes in digital though, i'm talking bigass brushes too, brushes that are big enough that they plow into other parts of the painting, messing shit up left and right. Because when you use brushes like this, and i suppose you only can with digital or oil, painting becomes like a puzzle. Think about how you can make a specific small shape with only the use of a huge wrecking-ball brush (like the gun in the pic). You've gotta paint a shape by painting the shape beside it. I used to focus mostly on painting 'out' from a small shape, expanding it from within, but when you paint objects by carving them from the background, interesting stuff starts to happen. Weird collusions grow and suggest things. Its great! So now you've got your shape right, but you just screwed up another shape! can you do this in a way that you get both of them right?

     The edge effect of doing things this way is very different, I used a round brush in this example, using different nib shapes will bring about different effects on how shapes form, and how they get messed up. I'm noticing a huge difference in how contours appear with this "additive subtractive wreckingball" way, as opposed to the ''painting shapes outward'' way- its easier to get clean, swooping, simple edges.

      That's just some of the stuff I'm noticing right now. i like it. the puzzle aspect mostly. The puzzleness of it makes even the simplest shapes a challenging venture- the feet and legs of the little tophat-guy took like 10 passes before i got it right. It's worth mentioning that there is a point where you want to start detailing, and of course the wrecking ball method becomes a hindrance. So, like any other tool, drop it! or masochistically go on, i'm sure great results could be had with patience.
the blockin, i liked the funny leg stance
put some details and textures on it, viola

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