The more speedpaints I watch, the more I am convinced that art is magic: A few thoughts on speedpainting videos

The more speedpaints I watch, the more I am convinced that art is magic.

One of my favorite things to do when I have some downtime is to watch speedpaint videos.  It’s always amazing to see how other artists work Speedpaints are magical: In a few minutes you can see a picture evolve from blank canvas to beautiful, fully-rendered image.  It’s so magical, in fact, that you almost have to wonder what pixie dust they’re using. . . .  😉

By Hyanna Natsu.

To learn from a master, one does not ask for explanations. One must steal their secrets.

The biggest appeal to a beginning artist is that maybe they can learn something from watching speedpaints by their favorite artists.  I always think, “Maybe I can steal a few tricks here and there 😈.”  Of course, the 10x speed and the fact that many speedpaints lack step-by-step explanations make that a little more difficult – but it’s not impossible, is it?  Surely, it must be possible to decipher the dance of brush and color, and come away more enlightened than when the video began. But where I am right now, all I can do is marvel at the confidence and beauty of each video.

By Shilin Huang. Check out her webcomic, Carciphona!

Once again, the dance commences, different each time and just as magical.

With these thoughts in mind, I pull up yet another speedpaint on Youtube and settle in for the show.  Under my delighted gaze, another picture comes to life. . . pulled into being with only the will of the artist to thank.  And even if I already know the brand of pixie dust (it’s called “Dedication”) and can find the answers to my questions among the hundreds of tutorials on the web, there will always be a special place in my heart for speedpaints.  I am grateful that there are so many artists willing to share their process, their techniques, their secrets with the world. . . willing to make the magic come alive.

By Johanna Tarkela aka Lhuin

Falling (Digital Painting WIP)

Falling (WIP) by River. Digital sketch produced in GIMP 2.8 using a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet.I was going to add this to a sketchdump later this week, but as I finished the inks today, I thought I’d go ahead and post it. (^u^)  Here is the finished inked version of a new print, “Falling”!

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (one of my favorite books), this print features a girl falling in a dream.  I wonder if she was watching Alice in Wonderland before bed?  Or is she Alice, herself, falling down the rabbit hole. . . ?  I haven’t quite decided yet, so we’ll see what happens when I color it. \(^o^)/

Fun fact: This piece took me three days to ink.  Whew!  All those little details were quite intense.  Any bets on how long coloring will take. . . ?  Haha.

Tools

  • GIMP 2
  • Wacom Intuos 3

Sketches and Ramblings

Work is going slowly this week. I don’t have any finished pieces to share, so here’s a page of sketches I shared on Twitter:

(This is probably a good time to mention that I usually post daily sketches on Twitter.  They just seem to fit better on Twitter vs this blog.  But maybe I should do like a  weekly round-up of sketches?  A sketchdump?  What do you think?)

Art is a funny field.  Each piece takes a long time, and I only want to post something when it’s ‘done,’ so if it’s still in-progress, it’s hard for me to share. . . On the other hand, there’s this sort of pressure to “post weekly at a minimum” and I produce more sketches than anything else, so on weeks when painting is going s l o w l y, I end up posting sketches anyway.  In that respect, I wish I had a style that lends itself better to quick, finished paintings – or maybe that’s not dependent on style, but rather workflow.  So in that case, I just have to keep on drawing and the speed will come.  With practice.  Yeah.

Then there’s the fact that I love both writing and drawing.  I enjoy both, but I haven’t yet reached a balance where it feels like I’m doing enough of either.  When I’m drawing, I think about all the stories I want to tell, and when I’m writing, I’m thinking about the pictures I want to paint.  And of course, most of my stories are longer-term projects and aren’t “done” yet, so I can’t share those with you in the meantime.  It’s not frustrating exactly, and I’ll probably find a balance one day; it’s just that I wish there were more hours in a day so I can do ALL THE STUFF instead of just part of it, haha.

Oh, even though I said I can’t really share story-stuff with you guys. . . I’ve been revisiting my NaNo project this week & trying to work out some of the kinks.  I think the basic plot is okay, just need to flesh out my characters a bit more. . . and figure out a good logline. . . . Anyway, I should have a few things to share soon!  Like, working title and characters’ names and so on.   So look forward to that!

Header for Cloud’s Blog WIP

cloud-header-sketch-watermarkedLast Thursday I shared a sketch for my new header design.  Today I’m happy to show you a sketch for Cloud’s new header design!  \(^o^)/  And again we have a nice gradient background, so the sketch isn’t so monochrome; I think even a splash of color helps bring an image to life.

Just like Strike A Spark’s design features comic!River, the new header for Cloud’s World Of: features comic!Cloud!  I think her design turned out very cute, and somehow more elegant than River.  Maybe because her hands look a little better. . . ?

By the by, Cloud helped me with the concept for both our headers.  That’s why they match, which I am ridiculously happy about!  \(^o^)/

I’m hoping to finish up the coloring on both pieces within the next week or so.  It largely depends on whether I can continue working around that bug.  For now, plugging in an external keyboard seems to have fixed it, so we’ll see~ !

Art from the Archives: Kimono & Moon

Hello hello!  Welcome back the last installment of Art from the Archives!  Today we continue the Eastern-inspired theme, but take a step back from dragons and focus on traditional clothing and the ever-romantic moon instead.  May I present, Kimono & Moon, featuring my original character Choko:

Kimono & Moon by RiverAnother lineless painting!  It seems that past River was very daring. ^o^  In actuality, I did not set out from the start to make it lineless.  I happened to switch off the lineart about half-way through, and liking the result, I left it off from there on out and adjusted the painting accordingly.

With more opaque and solid objects, I took a different tactic with this piece.  The flat colors were laid down first, with highlights and (more often) shadows laid on top.  The points I am most proud of, here, are the shading on the fabric and the reflections on the floor.  While I missed my chance to paint in traditional tatami-mat or wood flooring, I do like the shiny effect in this piece and feel that that and the curtains give this piece its East-meets-West feel.

One more thing needs to be said before we close this installment: Though I am presenting this as a finished piece, it’s actually still a work-in-progress!  I planned to add a butterfly motif to the kimono, and have butterflies perch on her finger and on the flower posies.  While I think the piece works as it is, my eye misses the butterflies. TT_TT  One day, I shall add them and re-release this piece.

Thank you for joining me for this journey through the Archives!  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  While this is all I have to share for now, I’ll keep an eye out for more old, neglected pieces and revive this series when I find some more. 🙂

If you missed the previous installments, or just want to see them again, click here!

Until next time~!

New Header Image WIP

river-header-sketch-watermarkedToday I’d like to share something a little different I’ve been working on.  River the fox!  I needed a bit of a break from the Gemstone-inspired series so I’m working on a new header for Strike A Spark.  I know, I know, I’ve said I’ll make a custom header for years now. . . I had some issues with finding the right design, but I think I’ve hit upon something now.  🙂  This sketch of comic!River is one component of that design, but it’s only inked so far so I added a nice gradient background so it wouldn’t be so boring. =^w^=

Unfortunately, this week I’ve been having some trouble with GIMP. . . or more precisely, we think it’s my laptop’s keyboard.  The problem is that when I’m drawing, the lines go all blobby because GIMP thinks I’m trying to select two tools and so switches between them quickly. It’s very frustrating. 😡  We’ve known for some time that my keyboard was having issues, though, but this is the first time it’s affected GIMP, so it’s put a damper on painting for now.

On the upside, I’ve been able to spend some quality time writing and plotting instead, thanks to an external keyboard.  I wrote almost 2k words yesterday!  That’s better than my NaNo average. \(^o^)/

Don’t forget that tomorrow is the final installment of Art from the Archives!  It’s another of my favorite pieces from that time period, about 5 years ago, so even though it isn’t “finished” yet I’m excited to share it with you.  And I’ve also worked up a header design for Cloud’s blog, Cloud’s World Of:, so you can look forward to seeing that soon!

Art from the Archives: Great Fire Dragon

Happy Friday!  Are you looking forward to the weekend?  I know I am! =^w^=

Welcome back to the third installment of Art from the Archives!  Today’s picture is the companion to last week’s post.  It’s the Great Fire Dragon!

Great Fire Dragon by RiverJust like Blue Mountain Dragon, Great Fire Dragon looks better in print than on my monitor.  It’s a mystery~

The process was much the same for this photo.  I started from a sketch, but skipped clean inks and went straight to blocking out colors and layering complementary shades.  The glowing blue light from the orb was a little more difficult to do – deciding where the light would probably be reflected took a while.  I should have added more lighting from the fires surrounding him, too.

Great Fire Dragon is the second and currently the last in the Elemental Dragons series.  I also planned to do an Earth dragon, a Water dragon, and a Air/Wind dragon, and maybe one day soon I’ll get back into it. Goodness knows that these two were among the most fun I’ve ever painted. 😀

Don’t forget, next Friday is the last Art from the Archives installment for now!  Check back then to see what else I found!  Though I can give you a hint – it’s not a dragon, unfortunately. 😉