Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

The painting was done using a gradient layer set to Overlay over a greyscale painting in Photoshop. Final colour tweaks were made, trying to bring up the brightness and warmth using adjustment layers. This is the season to be jolly, after all!

Happy holidays! :)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

By candle light

Growing up in Sweden, there were plenty of opportunities to play in the snow. In order to make sure that I didn't loose my mittens in the cold, my parents tied them together using a long string which was thread in through one sleeve of the coat and out through the other so that they were always hanging off my sleeves.

Considering the number of gloves I've lost since I outgrew that method, maybe it's not such a bad idea...

Time taken, 45 min- 1 hour.

Monday, 8 December 2008

On Sargent...

Yesterday I posted a copy of a painting by famous 19th century artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). A greatly successful portrait painter and muralist even during his lifetime, his popularity survives until this day.

I initially stumbled across Sargent's name while trolling the depths of the forums, where I found him frequently mentioned with great reverence. A quick search for his work reveals why. One of the first works I found by him, El Jaleo, left a strong impression. The gracefulness and dramatic lighting creates an enchanting mood.

Finding Sargent so frequently mentioned on the forums is no coincidence, I reckon. Sargent is well known for his genial choice of colours, allowing for a seemingly effortless ability to capture the essence of a picture through a few brush strokes.
This is best felt when looking at thumbnails of some of his paintings, which look perfectly rendered from afar, but when zooming in it can be seen that the brush strokes which make up the picture are surprisingly coarse.

In today's entertainment industry there is a high demand for large quantities of conceptual work, supplied by artists such as those found on Apart from quality, speed is an important skill required from these artists. The need to communicate as much as possible, as effectively as possible makes artists like Sargent excellent to study.
A contemporary master of the art of using a little to communicate a lot is Craig Mullins. His resumé includes concepts for franchises like Final Fantasy, Harry Potter, Age of Empires and James Bond.

John Singer Sargent @ ARC
Craig Mullins -

Pictures courtesy of ARC and

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Sargent copy

A copy of a portrait by John Singer Sargent, one of the great 19th century painters,

I decided to do a tonal study so the original painting was converted into grey scale. The time taken was about 2 hours, although as often is the case with paintings, most of it was done after just half the time. The last hour was spent tweaking the details to add that final touch of realism. The eyedropper was only used once at the beginning of the painting to find "black", i.e. the darkest shade, in the original.
It should be fairly obvious, but the original is to the left.

John Singer Sargent @ The Art Renewal Centre

Friday, 5 December 2008

Head painting

A free practice painting in Photoshop, without reference photo.
I suspect that I started refining too early. More shades on the rough block-in stage would probably have helped the final result.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Victorian & Edwardian Photographs

This was the find of the day - an image archive with hundreds of vintage photos. I especially liked the ones of people with outrageous bicycles. You have to wonder what the big idea with those was...

Victorian & Edwardian Photographs - Roger Vaughan Personal Collection

Another incredibly cute find... This 9-year-old boy, Alec Greven, has an early start on becoming a serious ladies' man. The book he wrote, How to Talk to Girls, is illustrated by Kei Acedera from Imaginism Studios.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Green ribbon

A speed painting in Photoshop. I had a go with some textured brushes. The time taken was probably a little over an hour. The main parts were in place after less than half that time, but quite a while was spent trying to tighten it up, especially the face. Unfortunately the end result lost some of the movement and fluidity compared of the rough block-in.

Monday, 1 December 2008

I just wanna live

Overheard at Clowns, a popular café in central Cambridge.