Japanese Tranquility Garden – this digital painting was created in Procreate 5X / Apple Pencil. I mocked up about 4 images and a created a collage. I used 16 custom brushes with 6 texture brushes. I plan to create prints of this artwork. [1st picture on right]
Hidden Grotto with Waterfall
Fantasy Digital Painting – This painting, created in Procreate 5X started yesterday as a hidden grotto with a small waterfall running through it. I added a orange koi in the pond, with a Japanese cairn nestled amongst the rocks. And old ancient staircase borders the falls. This painting took 7-8 hrs over 2 days. I used a collection of brushes including rock textures, ghibli brushes, airbrushes and the 6B pencil brush and technical pencil. This could be considered a concept sketch for a computer game.[2nd picture on right]
Painting Jeffrey Ellison – A few days ago, I started on a painting of a friend (Tara Ellison and Jordan Ellison’s) new puppy, “Jeffrey”. He is about 8 weeks old, and is a Neapolitan Mastiff. He is very cute and I simply had to paint him. Tara provided me two different images, so I painted both. Each was painted in both Adobe Photoshop and then exported into Procreate 5X. The fur was a challenge as its a steel grey colour depending on the light. It was fun to paint him (from pictures). He will be a valuable addition to the Ellison family!
Another Fantasy Digital Painting I started this summer. Finally decided to finish. This painting took around 17 hours (over 4 months) and has about 8 custom textures, 12-14 brushes including brushes from VisualTimmy, the Ghiblis brush set and ST’s stipple brushes. I love creating castle style houses. I used a reference photo and most of the foliage, I created myself using techniques I developed myself.
When I started this image in July, I didn’t own the brushes I own now. So I actually re-drew about 35% of the image. This resulted in actual 11-12 hrs of work, rather than the total 17 hrs of work. Lesson learned! #procreate #procreateart #digitalartist #ipadpro #visualtimmy
I currently paint actively both as a acrylic / watercolour artist as well as a digital artist. My family ( for about 4 generations ) have painted and a few were professional artists making a living painting.
My painting hobby / business started 13 years ago. I started in watercolour and after 2-3 years, started painting acrylics. I also paint in gouache and have experimented with pastels, India ink. I have painted with airbrushes for 46 years (I was an IWATA dealer for 6 years).
On a personal note, I am 58, spent the last 30+ years running a technology company and designing websites and managing e-commerce stores. I also have worked in online marketing and been employed as a marketing manager for many large companies / organizations.
At age 50, I was involved in a car accident and injured my neck and back and suffered a concussion. I semi-recovered and at age 52, suffered a stroke. Since that time, I suffered 4 additional strokes, the last one being in May 2020. I am currently on disability.
As a result of the strokes, I lost all the vision in my right eye, and about 35-40% loss in my left. I no longer drive and I suffer from balance issues and have other health challenges.
The one aspect of my life that has helped me heal, is my painting. I find it very therapeutic and it helps me beat depression and keep a positive state of mind. My philosophy is simple – my glass is half full.
Over the last 2-3 years, I have found it challenging to paint standing up and even sitting. I use my iPad Pro / Apple Pencil to create art using programs like Procreate. Because I am visually impaired, I can create art sitting on a couch holding my iPad close to my face. The ability to draw / paint and “undo” mistakes allows me to create great art with few flaws.
Over the years, I have studied the old masters, studied color theory, perspective and many technical aspects of painting. As of the summer of 2020, about 90% of my painting is digital.
HOW I PAINT DIGITALLY!
THE PLANNING PROCESS
Before I start and paintings, I research my subject, collect a series of images from Google, my own stock photography, Pinterest and other sources. Using Adobe Photoshop (I have used it for close to 30 years and teach it at a college level) and will “mashup” ideas so I can create one off images. The only exception is my pet portraits are based on reference images supplied to me from the pet owner. I have also used images from relatives and if I use them, I provide attribution.
After I assembled the mashup image in Photoshop, I will export out an base image (with some custom filtering effects) to a high resolution JPG. I then place into Procreate (as a reference image) and sketch out a “rough” image.
BLOCKING IN SHAPES
The next step is I block in shapes in muted dark colours, working from dark to light. Once I establish the overall feel, then I create and outline layer and sketch out outlines to see how the image is coming together. At this point, I really have not added textures or any detail work. But, early on I do check perspective, direction of the sun, and move into a shadow layer.
SHADOWS / SHADOW COLOURS
Most of the time I am drawing, or painting, I do not use black for shadows, but a complimentary colour mixed with the underlying colour. So for example, on an orange wall, I might use a blue or purple shadow (mixed with some orange or red). In Procreate as in Adobe Photoshop, I will experiment with layer blending and opacity to get the right effect.
At this point I will have an idea what textures I want to use but I have to go through many hundreds of brushes in my collection and find the right texture. Or in some cases, I will go out and shoot pictures on my iPhone and build custom brushes. From there I play with the Procreate Brush Studio and customize the brushes. This takes alot of time and practice.
As my digital paint progresses, I start using (in my garden art) darker foliage / leaf brushes and then layer lighter colours on top of dark. If properly applied, the darker colours underneath, become shadows behind plants and trees.
ONE OF MY SECRET WEAPONS
In terms of special techniques that make my art unique, I intentionally make mistakes. I want trees and foliage to look real. I “digitally” break branches, tear leaves, add broken stems. Using the basics of ‘“chaos theory” I create randomness, like in nature.
As I near the end of my paintings, I go through a mental checklist and review each painting components. I check for sun’s highlights, perspective, shadows and colours, centers of attention that draw the eye. Final touches including adding my signature and ensuring the file is named in Procreate.
Conclusion – I want to say 95% of my art is based on pieces of drawings (mashed together), outlines of major shapes in black ( I adjust the opacity near the end of the painting). Some of the filters in Photoshop are NOT for sale as they were customized for me (I worked in the gaming industry for years).
Again in closing, I do intend to record mini videos for free for Procreaters. But some will not be available free as I have other purposes for these. But I wholeheartedly support other artists and sharing this hobby!
Gordon F. Currie
Stone Pools & Waterfall — This new digital painting was created in Procreate using 7 different pictures layered together (rocks, cairn, ferns, background shale etc). I used a lot of brushes from Timmy’s Textures (the Rockyyy, Galactic Haze, and the Wet Moon Sand brushes). This was about an 9 hour project, used reference pictures (for ideas) on Pinterest. The brushes I have purchased from Visual Timmy (specifically the Creator XL Bundle) have allowed me to step up my creativity and quality.
DIGITAL PAINTING TIPS — So a number of people have asked how I paint my digital garden art paintings. Today I thought I would share some of the process. Most of these techniques cover 99% of my paintings (and how they are painted).
Before I start, as many of you know, I paint on my iPad Pro 12.9” using an Apple Pencil. I create my art using Procreate 5X but with some paintings, I will mockup ideas in Adobe Photoshop 2020 (part of my Creative Cloud Membership).
The brushes used are made by myself in the Procreate Brush Editor. About 10-15% of my brushes are created by myself. The other 85% are purchased from various brush creators. Lately I have used a lot of brushes from VisualTimmy. I also buy brushes from Art Station and Gumroad. I will list my brushes in a future post.
Step 1 — I research most of my painting and add ideas and references to my Pinterest folders. Some artworks are inspired by pictures I have taken, some are created by combining multiple photos and others are based on ideas in my head.
Step 2 — Determining the size of the art. I start out with a 4000 to 6000 pixel image at a 300 dpi level (DPI =Dots Per Inch). This allows me to create art I can print at 11 x 17” to 16 x 24” size for poster prints.
Step 3 — Basics – I will look at a scene and determine the angle of the sun, the colour choices and palettes, what format I will create (portrait or landscape), the central theme or focus. I also try to watch for visual travel through a painting. Example; were do I want to lead the viewer, what secret items do I want to hide from the viewer, what impact does perspective have. I will rough out ideas on what type of textures I might plan on using.
Step 4 — Blocking out solid areas on colour. Here I will block out blocks of colour representing bushes, sides of buildings, the sky in the picture. I will sketch out dark tones, mid tones and highlights (like sun and intense lighting).
Step 5 — I then start to block in leaves and foliage, stone paths, building walls and blocks. I don’t detail these quite yet but I want to get a sense of randomness, especially creating gardens and plant leaf structures.
Step 6 — With my garden art and flowers and shrubs, I start looking at colours and focus on complimentary colours
Step 7 — With Garden Art, nothing in nature is perfect. Leaves get stained and have many uniques textures, stems and stalks get broken, grass and foliage grows at different lengths. Rocks vary the most and come covered in cracks, rock types (slate, granite, rounded boulders in streams. Odd shapes are common. If its natural, its affected by rain, wind, winter, run off water damage and hundreds of other effects.
Step 8 — As the digital painting progresses, I start to add more detail working on small areas (about 1/20th of the image). Then I let. The painting sit overnight or in some cases for weeks or months.
Step 9 — I experiment with new and old techniques that I learn from other artists and youtube videos. Again, I want the painting to be unique. I focus alot on making rocks look real, fur looked correct and really making shadows look like they make sense.
Step 10 — During the painting process I flip the canvas left to right and also flip upside down. This gives me a unique look at flowers and foliage. Does the picture makes sense. I might create 3-4 versions of the picture so I can experiment. If my iPad or software crashes or dies (it can happen), I don’t lose hours of work. Lastly, I spend time backing up versions of the original file, in Procreate, with layers intact. A copy goes to my iCloud account and copies to my Google and Dropbox accounts.
To complete this snapshot, for every hour I spend painting, I study art and other paintings for at least 20% of my time. So for example, if I spend 10 hours painting a new creation, I have probably spent 2.5 hours learning how to paint rocks, leaves, choose colour palettes and other specialized techniques. I rarely paint moore than 2 hours at a time as my back hurts, my vision is not great.
In the future, I plan to show people examples of my techniques and tips, building some courses on how to paint using Procreate and publish videos and graphics. Enjoy!
English Garden House – this digital painting was created using three different reference photos and was created in Procreate 5X. I used about 12 custom foliage brushes, 3 custom brick brushes, some gravel brushes that I created and some custom cloud brushes. I spent about 12 hrs over 3 nights painting this on my iPad with an Apple pencil.The second painting is:
Italian Architecture — I finished this Digital Painting today (I started it in September 2019). It was based on 6 different images I assembled in Adobe Photoshop. Once it was assembled, I exported to Procreate 5X and painted in additional flowers, Italian flag, and the background valley image on the right. I spent about 10 hrs (estimated) painting this on my iPad with an Apple pencil.
PRICING CHANGE COMING IN NOVEMBER
Starting November 15th, 2020, our prices on our prints are going up about $10 each based on increased shipping costs. This prices will be:
11” x 17” — $39.95 + gst
16” x 20” — $44.95 + gst
18” x 24” — $55.95 + gst
*gst is only charged to Canadian orders
If you would like to lock in prices, order today, before the price increases!
The picture below was created for a friend who recently lost his dog, Bowser.
This weeks digital paintings included some fall leaves in rich reds with some green. This painting started with researching and collecting images of fall leaves, then developing colour palettes, textures and then layering these images to come up with different designs.
The second picture was of a supercharged engine with a street rod theme. This painting was a challenge to paint as I had to duplicate and create very complex chrome and reflections. But it was very fun to paint.
In the coming weeks, I hope to continue to promote my art prints and paintings as we approach the fall and winter months. My goal moving into the new year is to step up my game and start producing some income from my art. I am formulating a marketing plan combined with some online sales.
From a training perspective, moving into 2021 I hope to start doing some training for those interested in creating their own art and also marketing art (for artists).
This week I have two special digital paintings created in Procreate 5X. Both of these paintings were created using custom brushes and textures. Hope you like them!
While I talking about brushes, some folks have emailed me asking how I create my paints. So I assembled some tips;
This is just 5 quick techniques or tips that I use. Eventually, I will record videos to show people how I paint. The challenge is some paintings take many hours and condensing it down to 3-5 mins or at most 15 mins.
Lastly, many of my digital paintings are available as prints. They vary in size from
8 1/2” x 12” to 24” x 36”. I have 3 common sizes that are priced very low for now. To be honest, my goal is to get my art out in the world and build a following.
Have a great day!