Stuck on the way of learning digital painting

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Stuck on the way of learning digital painting

Postby Ruthan » Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:29 am

Hello!
I'm creating this topic because I'm mad and this subforum is empty and unactive.
My problem is, that I bought a Wacom tablet 2 years ago. I was suuuper hyped about making stuff digitally, and at first it was really ok, I had fun with it, and maybe I had no idea what I'm doing, but I understood that because I was new to all this stuff. Then I lost any interest in art and stopped using this tablet. And here I'm back. I came back to art about 8 months ago, was using mostly pencil and about 4 months ago I started making stuff digitally again hoping that I will get the basics with time. BUT NO. I STILL CAN'T DO ANYTHING! :C

And there is the problem - I see some progress through these 2 years in drawing with pencil, but digitally I get frustrated and angry very fast, also I suck like I did on the beginning, nothing changed. I often don't know what to do next when I'm painting. I get stuck quickly and have no idea what should I add next to the image. I suppose it's because I've NEVER painted traditionally, I haven't got any basics of it. I really hate this way to make stuff. I never liked paints and brushes, it was always horrible experience because I was always loosing way more time on mixing colors and cleaning everything up than on painting. But painting digitally is different, I just choose color and boom, everything's on canvas, voila. When I'm plugging in my tablet I feel super excited. After 20 minutes I start to get annoyed. 20 minutes more and I must have closed window because it could be unsafe for little Bamboo.

So the question is - is there any way to learn to be good digital artist without any basics of traditional painitng?
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Re: Stuck on the way of learning digital painting

Postby Lodratio » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:42 am

I'd say making a goodlooking digital painting is easier than doing it traditionally, but learning how to paint digitally might be more difficult because it's so simple. You can make all the mistakes you want and paint the things you've messed up over and over again, which means that it's easy to fall into a habit of neither planning things out nor thinking about how what you're doing right now affects your painting. Anyway, it's definitely possible to learn painting without ever touching a brush. When you're starting out the most important thing is figuring out how the form you're trying to paint is shaped and lit. You can figure out the shape by drawing it from different angles and gain an understanding of how different lighting conditions affect it by doing studies. The thing is that in some cases you really have to pay close attention to small shifts in hue or value, while you can be pretty loose with how you do things in others. This is really counterintuitive, so getting a feel for it takes time, just like figuring out when and how to draw a line and when to leave it implied takes time.
The methodical approach to painting digitally involves using different layer properties, masks and that kind of thing, but that always felt needlessly complicated to me. Just experiment with different brushes, practice defining forms and try to be conscious of what you are doing. One thing that really helps me is painting along with streams and demos and trying to apply the way someone else paints something to one of my drawings. If you try to apply instead of copying you'll learn a lot faster.
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Re: Stuck on the way of learning digital painting

Postby Enydimon » Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:08 pm

You can learn to paint digitally without touching traditional paints, but they both require the same fundamental knowledge. The only difference is the medium you use to get there.

But it sounds like the real problem is that you're impatient and there's definitely a lot more to art and painting than just the physical act of it. Painting requires a lot of problem solving and critical thinking, which is one of the reasons why traditional painting can be beneficial since it slows you down and forces you to think about what you're doing. Again, you don't have to do traditional painting to learn this, but painting to paint is not what you want to do with your digital works either.

While it is definitely possible to see improvements within 4 months, also realize that it's a very short amount of time. Judging by your sketchbook, you just need to keep doing observational studies and reading up on what you're weak in.

Drawing is a skill unto itself and while it does have it's place in painting, you cannot compare 2 years of consistent drawing to 4 months of painting digitally.
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Re: Stuck on the way of learning digital painting

Postby Sypheck » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:08 pm

Enydimon pretty much summed it up for you. At the end of the day digital is just a medium and if you were to learn how to paint digitally (at a high level) you'll have some working knowledge if you try painting physically, however the reverse is far more likely to help you improve because the main weakness to digital is that it's so incredibly forgiving which will in turn hinder your ability to develop patience or learn deliberate techniques because you can undo as many times as you want and overwork the piece to death to the point where your process of digital painting devolves into a process of beating the painting into submission.

In traditional mistakes usually cannot be undone and you have to learn how to live with them and more importantly, learn from them and become a more efficient painter as a result. You'll approach picture-making with a much greater appreciation for the craft once the process of learning with physical mediums has brought you to your knees and you have no choice but to learn how to work more efficiently by making deliberate and accurate decisions. Digital will never do that to you because you'll always have the option to step backwards and pretend like those last 2 hours you wasted in mistakes never happened. However when you approach digital after learning traditionally you'll just be dealing with another medium at that point and the knowledge and workflow you've already developed will flow naturally.

In short, you can definitely learn how to paint digitally without ever touching paint but you'll have to be A LOT more strict with yourself and hope you develop the patience and discipline to stick it out and own your mistakes instead of running from them.
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Re: Stuck on the way of learning digital painting

Postby Bernuviel » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:32 am

You could also take a look at the helpful videos of CTRL+Paint. I think they are really good for digital beginners. ^^
http://www.ctrlpaint.com/library/
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Re: Stuck on the way of learning digital painting

Postby Ruthan » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:50 am

@Lodratio
@Enydimon
@Sypheck

So, I thought a bit of all it, and you're all god damn right. :P That's the correct word for it. "Impatience". And... now I must find a way to overcome it. Any ideas, books, or something? Except not using "CTRL+Z" and transformation (which I won't use for a long time, at least I will try!)? ;)

Now I'm learning perspective with E. Nordling's book "Perspecitve Made Easy" and I'm drawing some stuff from life and photos with pencil, so I'm not procrastinating, but I'm away from doing any digital paintings for now. :/ Hopefully I will pull myself together in a short period of time, but we'll see. For now I'm doing something at least, so it's not that bad.

And also, I know I have to learn basics of drawing at first, there are a few years of it in front of me. Maybe buying some cheap paints and brushes wouldn't be bad idea and after years of not having brush in my hand I will have fun with it. :P

@Bernuviel

I know those videos. ;) I have finished his traditional course, was pretty awesome. C: I'll get back to them, but for now I feel too bad about digital. :P


Thank you for answers, my friends! ^^
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Re: Stuck on the way of learning digital painting

Postby Enydimon » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:11 pm

I meant to address this in the first post, but you mentioned that after 20 minutes of painting you start to get restless. Try breaking it up into 20 minute chunks and take a 5-10 minute break every time you hit the 20 minute mark. This is actually a general method of studying that can work for almost any subject and will build up your stamina. If you can tackle something with good focus just 20 minutes at a time you will find you retain information a lot easier than if you were to just force yourself through something for hours straight. Next thing you know you'll be able to do it in 30 minute chunks, and then 40, and then 50, and so on and so forth. Although I do recommend taking small breaks even when you do build up the stamina.

It's very common to be impatient when you're learning new things. I still run into it myself, but I've found that the more that I expose myself to just doing it the less I have to be impatient about. And then it just becomes natural and I can relax.

Keep at it, think critically, and it'll become a comfort zone for you sooner than you think.
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