The Digital Brush Strokes of Paolo Cammeli

More and more I’m intrigued by the possibilities and opportunities that digital art brings. I love drawing and painting more than I can say, but since Tim mentioned buying an Intuos tablet for photo-editting I’ve started considering what I could do with a tablet in Photoshop.

Paolo Cammeli paints digitally in a style of oils and watercolors combined, colors that are vibrant and bloom together like water.

what else do you bring me by Paolo Cammeli

what else do you bring me by Paolo Cammeli

The skin tones in our subject above are glowing and rich, full of detail. The umbrella and blossoms are painted softer to help draw our focus to the beautiful work done on the lighting and shading of her skin. Her expression, playful and curious, is really beautiful, more interesting then a lot of the pout-y fashion model faces I see around (ones that I’m definitely guilty of drawing/painting). Her frame and hairstyle remind me a bit of 50’s pinups.

waiting by Paolo Cammeli

waiting by Paolo Cammeli

There are many ways to tackle painting fur, and Paolo has chosen a sort of cross-hatching brush technique which looks beautiful. Her understanding of lighting and shadows is showcased here again in the fur, a beautiful rich transition in white fur using golden light and cooler shadows. The girl’s robes and head piece caught my eye, the fur on her shoulders and the owl/horns on the headdress which makes me think of gypsy tattoos.

fairy silhouette by Paolo Cammeli

fairy silhouette by Paolo Cammeli

This is a speed-painting by Paolo, only taking roughly 30 minutes to do. I love how much she can convey with flat colors. Layers of transparent blossoms over-top each other give this piece a watercolor-feel to it. Paolo has a great understanding of color and always manages to make the colors in her work pop without being garish.

New Rome by Paolo Cammeli

New Rome by Paolo Cammeli

She’s good at cityscapes as well! Cities frighten me almost as much as landscapes because of the shear amount of detail and measurements required to make them look realistic. They also seem incredible boring and sterile to me, the opposite of what I see above. A city painted in dreamy sunset colors with immense detail, from greenery to reflections in huge windows, makes me want to explore this world and learn more about it.

My first day of actual class ie non-orientation activities is tomorrow: drawing in the morning, paint/print studio in the afternoon! Though I know we’ll be starting with basics (likely fruit and vases) I look forward to practicing drawing in more areas that I’m currently uncomfortable with, so I can create rich portraits and lifelike backgrounds like Paolo does.

Wish me luck on my first day of ~art school~! Excited doesn’t even begin to describe it!

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Realistic Beauties Painting Roundup

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about traditional media painters as opposed to illustrators, so I’ve decided to give them some love, especially since I’m working on a piece of my own at the moment (that is VERY close to completion save a million little things left to fix). As much as I’m fascinated with the effects that digital painting has, there’s just something about putting a brush to canvas that excites me, completes me, something rich and organic that’s hard to reproduce.

The Three Daughters of Mara by Emily Burns

The Three Daughters of Mara by Emily Burns

If a hyper-realist approach is taken with painting, the composition becomes so much more important because simple still lifes that are rendered realistically may fall flat for some people. With the oil painting above, it’s almost impossible not to look at it. The pinup model with an animal’s head is intriguing, especially set against this backdrop set with the addition of the pixelated effect. Beautiful Decay has an article on Emily that explains the various aspects of her works, including objection of females and its progress over history as well as many other things that I can’t explain as eloquently as she does. She’s found a way to bring seemingly completely unrelated elements together in a striking way.

Shadow of a Doubt by Gina Higgins

Shadow of a Doubt by Gina Higgins

The attention paid to the creases of fabric flowing over her curves is painstaking. I love how she’s laying against a wash of colors with dramatic stripes of shadow playing over her face. The blending here is really well done for an acrylic piece. The color palette is romantic and pale, almost relaxing, but the ominous shadow over her tells a different story.

The Passage by Markus Akesson

The Passage by Markus Akesson

I can’t get over the expertly painted reflections in this beautiful scene. The pool bar on the right goes from industrial straight, dissolving into beautiful swirls of color in the water. The further down our eye travels in the painting, the more wavy and distorted our subject gets. I can’t help but wonder what she’s thinking about as she sinks back in the water.

Autel by Till Rabus

Autel by Till Rabus

This painting is another example of hyper realistic techniques paired with interesting compositions, this one a lot more creepy than what I’ve posted above. The colors drew me into this piece initially, but my questions about how this composition came to be kept me around to look at the artist’s other works. The bright colors in the dismantled toys and CDs stand out against the cool palette of the forest background. It looks like some kind of alter, or maybe a trap? It’s funny how these objects on their own look perfectly normal, but put together in this context look super creepy. Really nice work here.

I’m hoping that taking advanced art courses will teach me technique as well as composition. I’ve had fun painting still lifes so far but would really like to take it up a notch and find out how to give them depth and emotion.

Manga Speed-Paints & a Peak at my Sketchbook

I opened Youtube to watch a video earlier in the week and saw that it had suggested a few speed-paint videos. I love watching artists go through a piece, and I’ve been looking for some inspiration to start a manga-like illustration, so I went for it and subscribed to these three artists. Even though they’re using digital methods, a lot of the color work translates pretty well to traditional media. Some of the drawings are even “sketched” beforehand and inked afterwards.

I was really interested in the way she shades fabric, especially the skirt and sleeves. I also really love the character’s eyes. Like an artist who flips a sketchbook around to draw something at a better angle, the canvas here is zoomed in, out, and flipped quite a bit.

This one goes from sketch to finished product. The artist here uses Paint Tool SAI to their full advantage, transforming and realigning shapes that manually you’d have to erase and re-draw.

Here the artist starts by inking a sketch and then blocking in some basic colors. There’s a really cool bit at around 7:35 where she creates her own brush of snowflakes. Rather than painstakingly draw snowflakes on the dress one at a time (and warping them around the fabric), she draws a few and then sort of “stamps” them on, editing them to fit the dresses curves as she goes. Really cool! Can’t do that in the traditional world though… Again, her eyes are really beautiful.

After looking to other artists and manga for ideas I started to do some sketches of my own, and it was evident that I needed some anatomy practice. I’ve been drawing a lot of animals over the past little while (foo dogs, owls, etc) and haven’t done much in terms of the human figure since those figure-drawing studios I did in the winter. Drawing faces and the figure feels a bit foreign, so I went over to Posemaniacs, loaded up some tunes and sat down for some sketching. I’d like to fill a few pages of sketches every night until I get comfortable with the idea of drawing poses again (and hopefully get better at it as well).

First sketch in the new place!

First sketch in the new place!

Page of hands.

Page of hands.

Gestures 1

Gestures 1

Gestures 2

Gestures 2

Gestures 3

Gestures 3

Experimenting with figures, shapes, more hands

Experimenting with figures, shapes, more hands

That’s not everything from the past few days, either. The sketchbook is filling up quickly! Drawing gestures is great and a good backup plan in case I don’t feel like working on anything original. It’s very relaxing to turn on some music and fill up some pages.

Hopefully the paint is mostly dry on my models painting, so I’ll be back into that pretty soon as well.

Surreal Dreaming & a Glimpse of the Future

Whether it’s through the mashing up of texture or through beautiful photo composition, fashion continues to inspire me on a level far beyond what I can wear. Now when I look at clothing, I’m not only thinking of how it would look on me, but how it would feel to draw and paint. Who would wear this outfit? What would he/she be doing in it?

Vogue Korea June 2012 (via Trendland)

Vogue Korea June 2012 (via Trendland)

The oranges and blues give this composition a surreal feeling. The model’s dreamy expression and silvery outfit reflect this as well, coupled with the strange netting covering everything, and the bubbles. It’s like she’s in that state of sleep where she’s still slightly awake, but just fading off into dream land. The netting actually helps draw all these different elements together, where otherwise they might just look cluttered.

Abbey Kee Kershaw photographed by Tom Munro (via Localshop)

Abbey Kee Kershaw photographed by Tom Munro (via Localshop)

Rather than her outfit, this model’s pose caught my eye first. It’s a pose of strength and defiance, like she’s standing up to something. With a black and white photo, the viewer’s eyes will be drawn to tiny details, without color to distract them, which is perfect for this stringy dress. The dress itself is pretty, but the accessories and hairstyle of this model really make it edgy.

dolce gabbana 2006 (via Monsieur J)

dolce gabbana 2006 (via Monsieur J)

The element that makes a piece of art, design, outfit or dress stand out to me the most is contrasting and lining different textures next to each other. It’s hard to explain why this appeals to me so much; perhaps it’s because to do it successfully, you have to be very careful to include one similar element or color in each piece for them to work in harmony. In the gorgeous dress above, we have flowers and sheer ruffles divided by a lace-like ribbon. This works for me because the colors on either side are nice together, and having the black between them really gives the combination a clean-cut look.

Flaire September 2012 (via WanderWorldLust)

Flaire September 2012 (via WanderWorldLust)

So futuristic! Seeing each generation’s version of what futuristic should look like is hilarious and inspiring. Lately it seems to be about mirror-like or reflective surfaces, like the girls’ glasses above. The background is really blown out to draw attention to them, and the pure white has a very clean and modern feel to it as well. Their simple bowl-type haircuts against their layers of clothes and accessories provide an interesting comparison of styles. I like how even though the background looks kind of dated, their fashion screams bleeding-edge.

As the weeks continue before school starts, I find myself settling into the blogger lifestyle pretty happily. 🙂 I’ll have to keep this in mind when I start to make serious decisions about my career down the road.

Until Friday!

Chasing After Art & Why I Do It

Evening Fishing by Tim Lingley

Evening Fishing by Tim Lingley

I admire and look up to anyone who has left the safety of a 9 to 5 job to pursue their dreams. Many who consider this just have their heads in the clouds, but those who actively pursue it know how difficult it can be. For those who are desperate to get out but don’t know what they’d do if they had the chance, Purpose Fairy writes about Following Your Passion and Finding Your Purpose.

Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. ~ Albert Einstein

My drive to pursue art came from the desperation to break the monotonous cycle of my creatively-draining 9 to 5. Some people are already born with the drive they need to reach their goals, and some have to develop it over time.

Much of my life was laid out for me already, so I had no real reason to look at myself and ask what I really wanted. After high school, community college was the obvious choice for me because my program allowed me to live at home, pay super cheap tuition, and almost guaranteed a high-paying job upon graduation. I figured that if I had good money working regular hours, I could do art outside of work whenever I felt like it.

It wasn’t until much later that I started asking myself why I was spending so much of my day doing something that wasn’t fulfilling, something that was actually making me miserable. I’d just assumed that people toiled away a work all day whether they liked to or not, that it was just a part of life.

It was only then that I began asking myself what I really wanted out of life. It’s a hard way to go about it, but at the same time, if I hadn’t come to it this way, maybe I wouldn’t have been driven enough to pursue it to my fullest ability.

But, how do you find your passion and the drive to pursue it? The article starts us off with this:

1. Think about your childhood.

Growing up, drawing was always there from as far back as I can remember. I loved art classes all through school and drew in all the notebooks I had. I even did a painting workshop in middle school and got a radio interview out of it. It’s really encouraging to look back at those notebooks; since I was drawing every day I made a ton of progress and improved a lot, even though I wasn’t really trying.

I had no time for it in college, and that’s when I starting feeling down and out. I’m sure it also had to do with the large amount of stress I was under, but after I started work and settled in, there was still something missing in my life.

Ask yourself, If I had 1 million dollars, how would my life look like and start from there.

Jot down all the things youʼre good at, all the things youʼve ever wanted to do, all the things youʼd do if you could. You donʼt need to be rational here, just write for at least 10 minutes. Try not to let your ego take over. Just let the words roll out.

After making that list, choose one or two items that really stick out at you. Try not to be overly critical in this phase. Honestly ask yourself why you haven’t pursued those things yet. Look into what it would take to achieve those goals. You might be surprised at how easy some of them could be!

On leading a full-time creative life, Spencer Lum tells it like it is:

I can give no insights, I can offer no formulas. There are no promises here. What you get is what you get. But if you’re willing to take a gamble, I’ll bet on you. If you’re willing to put it out there, if you’re willing to fail, if you’re willing to let go of it all, thumb your nose at the world, and do it your way, I’ll believe in you. You may not find what you want, but you’ll find what you need. Want is easily known, but need is a thing that only reveals itself in retrospect.

Following your dreams, particularly in a creative field is not the path of least resistance. It’s not even an option that will get you a lot of support. No one will hold your hand, few will tell you (and actually mean it) that it’s the right thing to do. It’s a humongous test of self-discipline and perseverance.

So if it’s so difficult, why should you pursue it? I can’t answer that for you, I can only answer why I do it.

I left my job and safety net back home to pursue art because of those moments when I’m drawing, or inking, or painting when nothing else exists but the paper or canvas. Putting the brush to canvas, or the pencil to paper, just feels right.  I’d liken it to meditation, finding your center or even touching the divine. It feels like I’m doing what I’ve been made to do. It gives me a deep satisfaction and love for life that few other things do. Even if those moments are fleeting it’s worth chasing after them.

It all boils down to this: If I’m going to be spending the majority of my days and my life working on something, shouldn’t it be something I love and feel good about rather than something I don’t care about, or worse, something that makes me feel bad? Work is work and I’d rather be working towards artistic goals than anything else.

The Cool & Sexy Illustrations of Babs Tarr

Babs Tarr’s style is a funky mix of fashion and cartoons, with lots of sharp lines and curves to bring her subjects to life. I love how animated her figures are and all the bright color she uses, along with line-work and splotches of texture that look traditional, even though most of her work is digital.

toothpick by Babs Tarr

toothpick by Babs Tarr

The limited color palette in this image helps draw attention to the figure, grey/green among the pink and blue. Tarr’s grasp of anatomy is excellent, allowing her figures to almost strut across the frame. I love how many little details she includes, like the girl above chewing away on a toothpick, the script tattoo on her arm and the tooth through her ear lobe.

RAD Girl by Babs Tarr

RAD Girl by Babs Tarr

This screams 80’s and rather than being cheesy, it really pops! Unlike the first drawing, this one doesn’t any thick black outlines, allowing the neon colors to really show through and sort of burn your eyes the way neons did back then. The pink cheetah-skin skateboard with bright green wheels is just hilarious! She uses white in subtle ways to brighten the area around the subject, through the cheetah pattern and finger prints.

July 4th 2012 Outfit by Babs Tarr

July 4th 2012 Outfit by Babs Tarr

The chunky brush textures here remind me of a pastel or pencil crayon drawing, though this is digital. It becomes obvious pretty quickly that Tarr puts a lot of effort into the fashion aspect of her work. In fact, in the above drawing of her very own outfit from the 4th of July, she lists off each piece of clothing and and where you can buy them, on her deviantart page! I thought this a really nice touch and love that she shares her style with everyone.

Spy Girl by Babs Tarr

Spy Girl by Babs Tarr

This gets me excited for the new James Bond movie coming in November! Tarr’s subjects are beautiful and flowing but she’s also able to create breath-taking and narrative backgrounds. I struggle with making my subjects really fit into the background, but here the flow is effortless. I love the way the bright pink explosion lays a pink light on everything. I’ll be honest, I just love that there’s a bright pink explosion.

At the Moma by Babs Tarr

At the Moma by Babs Tarr

Though she does a lot of illustration and more cartoon-y work, she has a background in oil painting techniques as well. The above is an oil self-portrait, from a photograph her sister took of her at the MoMa in NYC. I particularly like the way she painted the windows in the buildings across the street. Her shapes are well blended and shaded in a very life-like manner.

The Noise by Babs Tarr

The Noise by Babs Tarr

The symmetry of the subjects here is really cool. This work is another one of her oil paintings. The clouds are vibrant and flow in such a way to draw your focus around the two subjects. The girls’ black clothing really stands out against the richness of the colors in the sky and clouds. It’s impressive that she painted the individual bits of zipper in the jackets, and links in the chains they’re wearing. The texture in the jeans is very nice as well. Her deviantart page for this drawing mentions that the shoes are inspired by Alexander McQueen.

Rolling Bulls by Babs Tarr

Rolling Bulls by Babs Tarr

Drawings on their own are one thing, but making the illustrations appropriately spaced for text and information is another skill all together. The figures above flow in such a way to draw your eyes to the text at the bottom. I love the sketchy-feel of this piece.

To be a successful illustrator, I think you have to have the fundamentals of art down: be awesome with a pencil, know your lighting, be comfortable with anatomy and know how to make a great composition. She has all of these skills in spades and it really shows. Great work, Babs!

Ideas for Black Clothing in your Wardrobe

I have a lot of black in my wardrobe and used to get teased a lot about it in school (goth jokes, funeral jokes, etc) but there are tons of ways to wear black. It’s extremely versatile; of course it’s formal and can be worn at serious occasions, but it can also be paired with pops of color or with white for a party outfit. And, band tees with jeans never go out of style! (You heard me!)

frank ocean sweet life outfit (via College Fashion)

frank ocean sweet life outfit (via College Fashion)

College Fashion is a website I stumbled on to while looking for fun things to add to my closet for school this fall. They list all kinds of sales, create outfits based on trends, interview fashionable people on campus and loads more. They’re totally worth a visit! I love the 3/4 length leather jacket above paired with the heels, with a touch of silver to top it off. Studded-collared shirts are starting to trend, but I’m still undecided on them. Regardless, you could pair the jacket with a lighter (or brighter) tank or dress to tone down the black.

Rebecca Minkoff Pre-Fall 2012-Inspired Outfit 1 (via College Fashion)

Rebecca Minkoff Pre-Fall 2012-Inspired Outfit 1 (via College Fashion)

I love those pants! With darker pants you could wear a lighter jacket and accessorize in colors with a purse, earrings, belt or shoes. Those leopard flats are definitely cute but personally, I’d prefer something with a bit of a heel. I think wedges would work well here. If you’ve got some neon accessories left over from the neon craze earlier this year, you can still use them here!

Vogue China (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

Vogue China (via Fashion Gone Rogue)

This is a bit more stylish than practical, but the sports jacket/dress on the left is super sexy and fun! If the cut is a bit low, you could always wear a nice tank underneath or dress it up with a fun scarf. It could also be worn with some leggings and boots in the chillier weather.

anne sofie madsen (via Trendland)

anne sofie madsen (via Trendland)

The dress on the right is a beautiful matte black with gorgeous long sleeves and some texture at the bottom to spice it up. Paired with booties and some layered necklaces, this would be great for a day on the town or in class. A thick brown or tan belt would look great with this as well.

Old Skool Glam (via Super Shardom)

Old Skool Glam (via Super Shardom)

Pink is my favorite color to pair with black. Something about contrasting cute and fluffy with macabre always gets my attention. Flowers and floral patterns/colors look great on black, as shown above in this chic vintage gown. It looks a bit like evening wear, but with a tank underneath or a wrap over top it could easily be worn out during the day.

So don’t be afraid of black clothing, even in the summer! Black tops, bottoms or dresses are a great way to rock colored accessories and shoes that you might not normally get to show off with a more neutral or bright-colored look. Have fun with it!