Advanced Digital Painting Course Lesson 1
One of the important features of any landscape are reflections such as lakes, seas etc. and we need to render this correctly in any painting to make the whole painting more believable. Fig. 1 shows the painting that we will undertake in this first Advanced Course lesson. Keep in mind that this picture was drawn on my Galaxy Note on a 5.2 inch screen so paintings generally need to be viewed in the same resolution to appreciate its beauty. Depending on the size of the screen on your device, you will need to view your painting on the same screen size once you port it over to the PC to give it the proper criticism it deserves.
Picking up the spray tool with a blue background and a white brush color we outline the main features of the painting as shown in fig. 2. Don’t worry about getting the exact proportions right as long as the drawing makes sense to you.
Usually, I like to work from top down and I first go about filling in the mountain faces, clouds and some of the foliage around the mountains (fig. 3). I use mainly white for the snowy areas of the mountains and green with variations of this shade for the left side of the cliff. Notice that I am using long brush strokes and not paying much attention to the details of the painting at this stage. You could say, that I am instinctively following the method of ‘layering’ mentioned in the Intermediate Course in lesson 1. I have also laid down the color that I am expected to use for the lake in the foreground. You will see that in this painting, the lake doesn’t take on the usual shade expected of a lake ie. translucent blue or white and you will find this occurring in many landscape images. The variation found in light, cloud cover, translucency of the lake, mountain ranges, trees, mist etc is what attracts many landscape painters and photographers.
In the next step (fig 4), I lay down more of the trees and define the lake edge. Note again, that I am not too worried about the actual shape or form, I simply ‘fill’ in the areas where the trees and bushes should be. This is probably a good time to mention the pace or speed at which one draws or paints. Typically, a painting like this takes me about 30 minutes or so and I usually get my ideas from the wide selection of pictures found on the internet. I feel that if you work with some speed, you don’t focus too much on your mistakes and you continue to use your eyes and intuition to build up the painting. I would recommend that you also work with a relatively fast speed and keep on learning from your attempts and allow yourself to improve with each effort.
In fig. 5, I continue to work on the trees and add dark and light hues to accentuate the trees. As mentioned previously, putting the two images side by side can help you visualize the differences in the two drawings. If you look closely, you will notice that I often use the same color that I have on the brush and apply it elsewhere on the painting. This usually saves me time as I continue to work with speed and helps me to build up the ‘layers’ more rapidly and hence the final painting. Using the same method, I build up the bushes and define more of the lake edge as shown in fig. 6.
In fig. 6 the reflections in the water are added and I use a grey color still with the spray tool and simply go around creating the reflections in left to right strokes. Notice that I also use very vertical strokes for some parts of the water reflections. Whenever you view a landscape picture that you like, try to look closely at the features such as reflections and you will be surprised how varied this can be. By adding further highlights you should arrive at something close to the original painting shown in fig. 1. Again, if you compare the previous image along with the original, you will see that I have removed some of the harshness of the lake reflections by going over it again with a lighter color. In addition, I have added some snowy specks on the evergreen trees to add charm to the whole painting.