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DIGITAL ART

Make your digital art look like a watercolour in 3 easy steps

DIGITAL ART
Lead concept artist at Dublin-based game studio Digit, Denman Rooke, shows you how.By using textures, transparency and Photoshop’s layer modes, you can achieve a watercolour effectWhen trying to replicate traditional mediums on the digital canvas, we need to first pick apart what makes that particular medium unique.Watercolours are typically a transparent medium, and when painted wet on dry, often have granular diffused brushstrokes with a dark edge. The dark edge is caused by the pigment collecting due to surface tension. A popular approach to watercolour is the application of washes or glazes of colour, to achieve detail and colour variance.First let's get a nice paper texture and import it into our canvas in Photoshop, because that also plays an important part of the traditional effect....

How to paint or draw hands

DIGITAL ART
In four easy steps, the Spanish artist Paco Rico Torres explains the secrets to drawing hands.Hands are quite tricky to paint or draw, and painting them when you're a beginner can be an uphill struggle, to say the least.The key to success is to learn about their real shape (anatomy), to learn how to construct them in a painting (perspective) and how to render them (this is basically practice, practice and more practice).Buy or borrow a good anatomy book and study the bones and joints of the hand and forearm. Try to understand their shape and how they move.Take some pictures of your hands and spend time drawing the bones over them – this will help you understand what's going on under the skin. Visualise the hands as simple three-dimensional shapes – such as boxes – to get the volume right.P...

These fantasy tropical fish will inspire you to paint

DIGITAL ART
Atomhawk artist Viktoria Gavrilenko invents new breeds of fantasy fish for fun.My most important tip is to sit down and gather some references of tropical fish. Many of the tropical fish that we know of live on the world's coral reefs, so Googling "The Great Barrier Reef", for example, should be sufficient to get you started on gathering inspirational material.You'll notice from the photos that many tropical fish are, of course, colourful. My second tip is therefore to have your fish swimming in fairly bright, happy colours.Tropical fish often feature diverse patterns across their bodies, which you can use as inspiration to create some cool fantasy patterns of your own.In addition, keep in mind the often flat, leaf-shaped bodies of the fish. Using that shape in your design would make the f...

Is this is the ugliest face in the world?

DIGITAL ART
This is what a pro artist paints when asked to create the ugliest face on earth.Think of everything photo retouchers use Photoshop to hide in fashion and beauty magazines, then simply do the opposite.Before we start, I'd like to point out that the entire concept of ugliness is a very subjective thing. I recently read an article on the 'ugliest celebrities' and I was practically throwing my fruit snacks at the laptop screen (Gary Oldman? Really?).If there are people who think those actors are ugly, then there's no sense in stressing out over any objective idea of unattractiveness!That said, I love a lot of the old EC Comics horror issues. When I try and picture ugliness they are the first thing that comes to mind, so I'll be using that as my inspiration here.Trying to get to the root of wha...

How to generate ideas out of chaos

DIGITAL ART
German illustrator and graphic designer Angela Otto explains how ideas can arrive in a puff of smoke.Angela Otto finished piece, creating order from chaosMy illustrations are usually based on coffee, tea, juice and paint splotches. These chaotic patterns provide my brain with the basic material to illustrate fantastic animals, weird creatures and surreal scenes. It's like seeing faces in the clouds – we all remember doing that as a kid – or figures in the famous Rorschach experiments.Psychologists have a term for this ability of the brain to detect meaning and form in meaningless, even chaotic context: apophenia. I've channelled this ability into my drawings and paintings, using traditional tools.I start by preparing my paper or canvas with random coffee drops or paint drippings until the ...

Paint a moody night scene by candle light

DIGITAL ART
Paco Rico Torres shoes you how to paint a night full of horrors in four simple steps.Paco creates this striking night painting in four easy stepsWhen illuminating a night scene, try using a single flame, like a match, cigarette lighter or candle. Remember, though, that a flame doesn't produce a lot of light: only the closest objects or characters will be affected by its light, and not to any great extent, either.So you should try to either put all the important elements of the image close to the flame or add a secondary source of light (like the moon, for example – it doesn't need to be a bright source of light, just enough to be able to see something in the darkness).If you add two sources, you should create two different areas in your painting with two different colour palettes (warm col...

How to find your own voice as an artist

DIGITAL ART
Find an art style that's all your own. ImagineFX cover artist Jennifer Healy explains how.The key to being a successful artist is to take in the beauty and aspects that you admire from other artists or even from life itself. Nature, birds or flowers are a given, but dirt, spiders or alligators – things that you normally wouldn't call beautiful – can be just as useful to an artist's muse. Everything has beauty. The trick is to keep that inspiration inside of you and use it to your advantage. To use that inspiration as motivation.American artist Jennifer Healy created this image especially for ImagineFXAs a girl I saw the work of surrealist painter Johanna Pieterman. She sparked something inside me and I took it upon myself to become an artist. Her artwork inspired me to pick up a pencil and...

The Labyrinth and Dark Crystal artist exclusive interview

DIGITAL ART
We take a peak at some of the creatures that appear in the artist’s new book, Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales and speak directly to the artist about his colourful career.“One of a series of Lookers that feature in my new book. Has he caught your eye yet?”Brian Froud began his career in book illustration. He went on to design the award-winning and cult films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth for Jim Henson.He has exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the world, and been the recipient of many awards including the Hugo award, Chesley and Inkpot as well as the American Society of Illustrators. Creative Bloq caught up with the cult artist to talk all things small and magical...Where did you grow up and how has this influenced your art?I grew up in Hampshire, southern England, in a place calle...

Give your art a dynamic, improvised style

DIGITAL ART
Illustrator and concept artist Sean Andrew Murray on the push-and-pull method of sketching.The advantage to working in a scattered approach is that you allow the paint, lines or brushes to guide your imagination and do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, so you don't over-think the image and lose that sense of energy and freshness.The best way to achieve this is to work fast and loose and to try several different brushes or approaches. Allow randomness to happen – you'll find that your mind tends to assign meaning where previously there was none. You may find that you've solved the problem of giving your character dramatic lighting without even trying!It's like when Bob Ross used to talk about happy accidents. You want to make a lot of deliberate happy accidents: try something, see if it w...

Alternative pin-up art in 4 steps

DIGITAL ART
Pink pin-up meets punk as pro artist Waldemar Kazak dishes out some expert advice.Mixing pin-up with punk means balancing disparate elements, such as the girl’s light shirt, lips and hair, with a grungy textured background.Whether I'm painting classic cheesecake or a snarling alternative pin-up, I spend some time with pencil and paper.Digital offers too many options too quickly. Paper prevents your hand from getting ahead of your imagination, and enables you to develop ideas and shapes at a comfortable pace.Classic pin-up was all about smiling and fun, and of course being incredibly sexy. People's idea of beauty may have broadened since then, but some things are still relevant: the factitious pose, the hint of boob...More importantly for me, a pin-up character's lightin...