I recently decided to expand my skill set to include digital illustration. I've used photoshop here and there to clean up work for reproduction and as a layout tool for my work but have never tried making a painting from scratch using the computer.
Earlier this year I discovered Chris Oatley and his "Magic Box" digital painting course and decided to give it a try. The Magic Box is an online course where you pay a small monthly fee to have access to new set of tutorial videos and an online community of artists working their way through similar assignments. Each month you are given an assignment that introduces a new set of Photoshop tools or techniques and walked through how they can be used to make your digital paintings stronger. It starts out pretty basic but you learn quickly how much you can do with just a few steps.
In the first assignment you are assigned to recreate a portrait by a master artist but you get to replace the subject of the painting with an animal of your choosing. The painting you pick needs to have a sense of atmospheric lighting and you are only allowed to use the lasso and gradient tools to create the entire piece.
I chose a self-portrait by Gustave Courbet and decided to use our cat, Mr., as the animal stand-in. It took a little while to get used to the limited toolset so my first draft was a bit off. Thanks to the constructive feedback I received from online community I was quickly able to figure out what I needed to do to fix the problems. It took about a week of trial and error to get to this point but it probably would have taken much longer without having the other students as a resource.
I am pretty happy with the results for it being my first attempt at this sort of thing but know that it is just a start and there is much more to learn. I am still enrolled in the program but a bit behind on the assignments at the moment. I hope to get myself caught up soon.
I will be posting the results of future assignments here in the months ahead so check back to see how things are going.
Thanks for looking. -SH