Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blonde Beach Bunny

Yes, it's been a long time since I last posted something. Anyway, here's something I've done as a result of playing with Photoshop CS5. Admittedly, I'm not likely to ever be a "digital painter" in the truest sense, as I find that my efforts to paint without benefit of a containing outline just don't seem to look very good. While it's frustrating to try and achieve the fully rendered approach that others do so well, I suspect that I'd never be totally happy with it even if I could do one to my satisfaction. I am a cartoonist who happens to love the power and graphic boldness of a line drawing, so I'm always going to prefer working like that.

It's for this very reason, actually, that I'll always prefer traditional hand drawn animation to CG, as I still believe that you can make a bolder visual statement through outline describing the illusion of solid form than you can with the fully rendered CG approach. While it's true that I'm adding in all the highlights and shadows in my drawing similar to the look of CG, I find that I really need that outline to hold it all together and make it pop. Anyway, I'll continue to experiment with CS5, since it does seem to give a huge improvement in the way the brush tool handles a controlled line compared to what I was achieving with CS3.


Brett W. McCoy said...

It's pretty good, regardless!

Personally, I prefer using TVPaint over PS, it's intended to emulate a hand-drawn animation environment and natural media and does it very well.

Pete Emslie said...

Actually, I should also have mentioned that her outline was done with real pencil on paper, then scanned in and just coloured in with Photoshop. I don't think I'll ever be able to draw digitally, at least not with a Wacom tablet. I think for precision work you really need a Cintiq, and those things are too damn expensive currently.

Jeff Hebert said...

First, it looks great!

Second, you're a brilliant, experienced illustrator and I am a dirty hack, so please forgive me if what I am about to say is old hat to you.

Would it make a difference if you were to ink it fully by hand as your base scan instead of pencil? I'll do that sometimes, then get a nice clean layer with the inked lines (and the white fills) with everything else transparent. I dupe the layer, set the top one to "multiply", and color the bottom one. That keeps the purity of the solid (and hand-drawn) black line while letting you do the color digitally. Without having to worry about preserving the integrity of the line edges since they're always nicely preserved on the original "multiply" layer.

Pete Emslie said...

Hi Jeff,

My usual practice is to hand ink then scan as you've described. I use that method for all the showbiz caricatures on the blog. I decided to do this sample in pencil, mainly because I'd originally intended just to use it as an underdrawing, then try to "paint" on top of it, getting rid of the lines in the process. I wasn't happy with results I was getting and eventually gave up. I can paint traditionally with gouache or acrylic, the results being more satisfactory since it's all very intuitive for me. But this digital stuff I can't wrap my mind around, as it's too technical with all the sliders and percentages of this and that. Also, a Photoshop brush doesn't handle anything like a real sable watercolour brush, as it's more like a rubber stamp that moves.

ddd said...

Hey Pete,

Just wanted to say hi and to let you know that I always look forward to your posts.

I love traditional medium more so than digital (not that anything is wrong with digital). I am working currently on some digital paintings and find the process quite "cold" for the lack of a better word. There is something special about traditional drawing/painting that you can actually touch and hold in your hands.
BTW I am Sheridan grad (before the degree change) and never had a chance to have you as a teacher. I do remember some of your handouts floating around and I had a collection of them that I lost over the years. Do you have an instructional book published?
Cheers and all the best!

Unknown said...

That's what I'm saying! I was always getting down on myself for not being super good at the fully rendered painting style that everyone at my school tries to achieve. It has a lot of "wow" power and I can see why it's a sought after look, but I draw cartoons. Lines are faster and cooler.

I feel like in most cases (not all. I don't want to upset the great concept artists out there) the fully rendered cg painting just makes up for the lack of actual character and narrative.

Nikolas Ilic said...

looks great Pete!

David R said...


Do you have a good book you could recommend about drawing with gouache? Something geared more toward the way those Disney books from the fifties and sixties were done?

Pete Emslie said...

Hi David,

No, I don't know of any books, past or present, that show how to paint with gouache in that classic 50's/60's style. I learned just by studying the stuff I liked and analyzing the technique. It's really not that hard to learn - just practice some wet on wet and drybrush on a slightly textured illustration board. You also need a good red sable watercolour brush for detailed work requiring precision handling, as well as some larger round brushes for large areas, and a 1" wide flat brush for nice even washes in skies, etc.

All of these tools are much cheaper than stocking up on a computer, Photoshop, and (ideally) a Cintiq, yet will produce much more warm, organic results! (Yes, this is the opinion of the digital-hating curmudgeon...)

Sandro Cleuzo said...

It looks great to me, Pete.

Alex. G said...

Nice. Reminds me of Little Annie Fannie.

Floyd Norman said...

I agree Pete. Since I'm here at Disney I'm continually exposed to the old school hand drawn animation that built this place.

While I truly respect the awesome work being done in CGI these days, I'll have to confess that I'm growing tired of looking at it. I've never felt that way about hand drawn animation which seems to never lose its appeal.