Hey there everybody, its a wonderful sunny day in Falmouth, and I thought I would share with you some hints, tips and realisations.
First let me tell you about what I was doing yesterday. A recent comment on my Mindo project prompted me to have a go at copying some scenes from studio ghibli. I've always admired the artistry that goes into the background, and so I thought, why not? Lets have a go and see what I can learn from doing this. To aid in this decision I found a book on the art of 'Spirited Away' in the library, and so this produced the perfect opportunity to get to grips with backgrounds and not necessarily characters (which are rendered in a completely different way)
Anyway, I find painting practice a lot easier when I copy a painting, and it also acts as a kind of 'painterly health check' of sorts... by comparing my work to the original, I can see where I'm not taking enough risks with dark and light areas, I can see where my greens are going wrong (notoriously hard to get right, I've waged a war against them, and they shall be mine soon!!) (but seriously, super hard...I always tend to go for earthy greens because im scared of punchy vibrant greens... but I need to learn to love them, because they can make or break an image.)
I find it a great way to find out what issues you need to address in your artwork... whether it be getting to grips with the content of the piece, or whether it be skintone, backgrounds, tonal values etc etc. It helps an awful lot, and can stop you wondering how to combat it, because at the end of the day, you're creating a copy, so its not as precious. Use them as your training wheels, and it will help you to take those risks when it comes to your own paintings.
So here is my half-finished paint practice of the below 'Spirited Away' scene.
By squinting you can see where I still haven't gotten the tonal values right. Although the book is in partial darkness, so that doesn't help either. If you can see, my greenery on the right hand side is a lot more earthier than it should be, and doesn't yet have the vibrancy and lightness of the original. My orange wall is a tad too vibrant, but I'm going to leave changes until I've filled in the rest of the image, as what sometimes happens, is areas that you deem too dark and non-vibrant can suddenly pop back out when you complete an image. This is due to colour relativity. compared to a dark red, an orange is light, but compare that orange to a light yellow, it is a lot darker.
Amongst the things I have already learned from this 2 hour gouache practice, is that when creating shadowy areas in greenery, always add a lighter vibrant green or blue highlight. Add blues in areas where there are deep shadows, and add lighter creamy yellows or greens to the warmer shadows.
Any of that make sense? It just about does to me, but I've probably rambled on enough.
So, my advice for all you students out there: