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Friday, December 12, 2008

Riddles in the Dark: Watercolor

"It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter."


  1. The tones are much warmer than I've come to expect from depictions of that scene.

  2. hes in the early stages bro oyarsa... layers my man layers.

  3. Finally... Gollum!
    This is really great-- you've got some Fabulous ideas for these scenes. Can't wait to see the final!

  4. So rad. I think this one has me the most anxious out of the series so far.

  5. Ahh - I expose my own ignorance here.

    Seriously Justin, I've come across your artwork in just the last couple works, and I'm absolutely enchanted by it. I've taken a good many art classes growing up, and fancy myself a half-decent cartoonist, but am squarely employed today in a more technical field (Computer Graphic Software Development). Your work is what I envision my own style being had I followed that route - intense realistic detail with still that cartoonish feel. I love it!

    I really ought to get the old pencil and ink brush out and get back into it - I'd been copying figures out of Hogarth's Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery. I'd love to see an even more detailed step-by-step tutorial of how you transition from the hand drawn stuff to the digital stage. Have you considered doing some video capture using camtasia or some software and letting us watch you work?

  6. Thanks for the feedback everyone!
    The warmer tones in the piece are just sort of how I prefer to start my underpaintings. The scene will definitely go to cooler tones in the final. But I like the warm underpainting because these colors will show through the cool subterranean tones in the final and I am hoping that will lend a nice stage lighting effect to the whole scene.

    As for a video, there is one I did a while back that Portland Studios put together for the Beowulf project, however, that was before I started working in this watercolor and digital approach that I am using in these paintings. This video is a bit low budget, and a bit low res, but if you want to check it out go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-5Ft5Znx9A
    I may do a new video demo at some point in the future for this technique, but right now I still feel like I am learning a lot of new things with each piece. Keep checking back, we plan on doing some pretty cool stuff for comicon this year, and some video demos will probably be part of it.

  7. Thanks Justin, that's helpful. I do have another question for you or the other artists here: if someone wanted to wade into digital painting (Photoshop + Wacom tablet), do you have any books you would recommend for him?

  8. Hey Oyarsa,
    I would recommend looking up Don Seegmiller. My first real foray into digital painting with a wacom tablet, was done 5 years ago with his book, Digital Character Design and Painting, in front of me. Its very informative and is worth every penny if you are wanting to get into digital painting. He has several very helpful books on the subject, some on digital painting in photoshop and some in Painter. Look him up on amazon. He's a solid teacher and an all-round great guy. He has been a wonderful help for me.
    Check out http://quickhidehere.blogspot.com/2008/07/dartiste.html for another of his books.
    His blog is http://seegmillerart.blogspot.com/

  9. Hey Justin, what kind of watercolor do you use?

  10. These have all been done with Winsor and Newton Series 1 watercolors.