Thursday, 3 August 2017

Painting Aviatrix Two in Krita

I paint, draw, scribble and sigh when I finish because it's not quite what I'd hoped for. I explore while trying to learn and have fun along the way. This blog entry is my latest attempt at a digital painting with details of how I did it. The first stages use pencil and paper.

Working on Lay-Out Ideas

Sketches - Coming up with the idea

I wanted to do something a bit steampunk with a twenties vibe. I had never deliberately made a digital wallpaper and thought that would be a fun experiment. It would need a lot of clear space to avoid a distracting or busy look. My initial idea was one figure giving an upright focus with probably something smaller opposite it in the frame giving balance to the piece.

I messed around with shapes, toying with poses. Although these images are rough I was imagining the scene in detail. There are a couple of pages of my feeling out the layout, which I am not going to curse the Internet with.

The Chosen One still needs some work

Where the image really starts.
I thought airship, but maybe a view from an airship with an adventurous steampunkesque lady. I wasn't sure if she would be passive or active so the next rough had her doing 'something'. I thought she was too 'stretched out' so tried to make the pose more relaxed.

I scanned this in and played around with it until it was arranged to my satisfaction. Then I went back to pencil and paper to detail up the lady.

Clean Pencils Scanned in

The Aviatrix

Use references. Only a genius, and few of us are, can produce a perfect image without recourse to some kind of reference. I used a whole mass of them, clothing catalogues, bits out of magazines, the Internet. Nothing is actually copied, just giving a guide to shapes and form.

The scarf looks a bit stiff and I'm not sure about the face. It's probably my ambition being way above my talent. This will be the foundation for the work. I scanned in the pencils then adjusted it to my wallpaper size 1920x1200 pixels. Afterwards I realised I should have it would have been wiser to paint bigger with a higher resolution then reduce, but hey, this was an experiment. I learnt something and that's the point. 
Initial monochrome. Note: my colour palette

Painting in Krita

I love Krita. It's completely free, which is not why I love it, but it helps. I've used GIMP, Photoshop and Painter in the past and this was the first program where the tools and I were as one. I'm low on talent, but I definitely can't blame the tool.

There are many ways to paint physically and digitally. I haven't found a solid technique and am still exploring. This one I went for developing a monochrome form of shapes, lights and darks then using layers set to various blending modes to give me the image.

Layers. Note the group and crossed out alphas
Over the top of the monochrome layer I put one layer set to Multiply and another to Screen. By laying flat colours on these layers it will coloured the image. Colours and there intensities can be quickly changed by adjusting opacity, blending mode or a swipe with a new flat colour. It also leaves you free to adjust the monochrome structure beneath it all without having to push the colours around. For example as I was doing this, I could rework the scarf and spot the lady's neck was a little too long.

Top tip: If you want to paint the flats without worrying about going over the edges, group all the layers and set the monochrome one to Lock Transparency (that's the chequerboard square), and colouring layers to Inherit Alpha Yes (that's the alpha symbol crossed through).

The picture on the left shows how I've done that, but also the extra flesh and pattern layers where I could play with details and colour without fear of wrecking my work. If the pattern or skin tone didn't work the layer can be deleted. I love layers!

Now many artists complete their whole image like that. Unfortunately I get confused with what layer I am on and adjust the monochrome with colour or delete details in the wrong place. Once I'm happy with the colours I save a back up then flatten to one layer and carry on painting. I feel more comfortable pushing pixels around on a single layer.

What I haven't shown so far is the quick background I threw together. This was created with an airbrush for the clouds and using the symmetry tool to create a balustrade duplicate it, then line tools for the hand rail. The rope was a photo manipulated. I take a lot of photos for reference. Boy, do I get some strange looks when I take a picture of a stain on concrete or a rusty scaffolding pole.

Halfway there, probably.
There is no balancing object yet and I'm not done with the face. Patterns were created on their own layers adjusted and arranged then merged after picking a blending mode that works.

Surfaces look a bit 'plastic perfect' and so the detailing comes next. That took as long as it did to get me to here.

Blimp in the Background

I was searching for something in the background and found a doodle in a sketchbook. Top left is a blimp and I thought it would be perfect to go in.

I scanned it and painted straight to colour then had a merry old game sliding all round the picture until I was happy. At one point it almost became a fleet of airships mixing with the clouds.

This was all part of detailing. That takes hours for apparently little effect. I probably spent five hours making tiny changes, tweaking highlights, overlaying textures adding paint strokes to 'finish' the image. At the end I'm still not happy with it, but I've learnt there is a point to say 'STOP'. Two days later I managed it.

The Final Image

It's an improvement over my last work though I want to do better. I shall keep trying and, hopefully, learning.

If you want to see the full sized image you can find it here: Aviatrix Two on DeviantArt

Useful Links Where to download and learn about Krita
+David Revoy A brilliant artist who uses Krita and who I've learnt a lot from.
+Krita Google+ Krita group, worth visiting to learn the latest news.

Do I watch too much YouTube?

David Revoy's YouTube Channel He's twice on my list because he does the best Krita tutorials I've seen or read. You will also learn a little about Inkscape too.
GDquest's YouTube Channel This fellow is a game artist who uses Krita heavily and explains the tool in detail.
Trent Kaniuga's YouTube Channel Not a Krita user; however, techniques are transferable. I've been enjoying watching him work so here he is.
My Collection of talented people's Tutorials I think I watch too much YouTube. Tutorials from the people above and others that I regularly return to.