Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bob Dylan Illustrated

In this portrait of young Bob Dylan I chose to accentuate his hair. I achieved this by simplifying details in the face and making the hair as busy as possible.

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Reflective CMYK and RGB surfaces

Using Photoshop I made multiple copies of the the Chrome study from an earlier post then colored each of them in a variety of hues, including CMYK (top row) and RGB (middle). I used a over layer set to the "overlay" blending mode then adjusted the opacity of the layer until I liked the result. 

I find this to be a good representation of how reflected sky and ground affects the local color of a highly polished surface.  It will be good reference for future illustrations. 


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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Keith Richards

As a departure, I've been doing some studies using famous musicians.  A caricature of Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones almost draws itself. What a face! This could be a good way to start learning to draw leather or craggy rock formations.

Just kidding.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Car Thumbnails

Car thumbnails from my imagination...

So far, it's seemed easiest for me to draw the wheels in more or less accurate perspective first in order to "ground" the car. Afterward I conceive of the larger shapes as simply as possible, then begin to fill in the details.

Since I don't draw cars very often I'm a little naive about the details and conventional proportions of conventional automobiles. So these ideas look a little outlandish after my slap dash guess work. This is all okay since repetition and creativity counts at this stage while I get a "feel" for it.   

Cars from photo reference:

This makes a big difference. Since these cars already have their details in the right spot I only have to render them more or less faithfully.  Each of these cars took about the same amount of time to draw as the thumbnails above, but are now much more rooted in observations in reality.

I often flip between drawing from observation and drawing from my imagination.  Both methods influence each other in a positive way.

Media: pilot pen toned digitally.

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More on Rendering Chrome

Chrome is a three dimensional mirror-like reflective surface. Chrome adopts its color entirely from its surroundings.  To render chrome from imagination you must choose the environment surrounding the object being constructed.

Blue sky and asphalt reflect clearly on the surface of chrome.

Since we usually see chrome on cars and since cars are usually outdoors and on the street, we commonly see the asphalt on the ground plane and blue sky above reflected onto the surface of the metal and reflected sharply back to our eyes.  A different environment would create a different colors.  For example, our car was parked in a grassy park during sunset (see below).

left to right: sunset w/grass, snow w/blue sky, and sunny day at the beach

The brightest light reflects of upward facing surfaces from the sky. The sun, if visible, creates a bright white highlight. On downward facing surfaces we see the ground reflected.  Distant objects reflect dramatically less light than the sky and appear almost black; the ground closest to the tire reflects light of brighter value, but still much darker than the sky.

Real world reflections are almost always more complicated than this since since any nearby object could be visible on a surface.  When rendering from photo reference or from real life, this knowledge can help you understand and even simplify your observations.

Now that we've talked about chrome, we can begin to talk about how reflective, colored surfaces react to their environment.

Try it out!

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