Sunday, 1 September 2013

Geisha - Digital Portrait

Digital Portrait

If you've been following my blog then you'll know that a while ago I spent a few months obsessed with painting and drawing Geisha. Since moving to digital art I haven't painted any Geisha, until now!

As with most of my paintings I started with a rough idea that I sketched out on the computer. I usually keep this very loose as my final painting rarely looks anything like the original sketch.

Once I've got the basic shape sorted out I usually start a more detailed black and white under painting,  however as the majority of my Geisha was to be black and white I decided not to bother this time... BIG mistake. Deciding to jump right into colour reminded me why I never usually do this. Most of the alterations and corrections that I do are worked out in the black and white stage as it's harder to make big alterations once you're working in colour. Had I taken the extra time this painting would have taken a fraction of the time that it did.
As it was I put down colour blocks as you can see on the right side of this work in progress shot and then stated to add in the detail as you can see in the eyes and the left of the work in progress.

At this point I was starting to go a little nuts and remembering exactly why I work in black and white first. The hair decorations just weren't going right, the eyes were slightly unbalanced and those flowers were awful. It took me a lot of fiddling around to fix this mess.

Finally the finished article. I removed the awful flowers and replaced them with more natural looking cherry blossoms instead of a representation of the common paper flowers modern Geisha wear in their hair. The hair ornaments have also been made to look more natural and have been given depth, the eyse ate no longer unbalanced and look a little more "real" and detail has been added to the fan and the background to give some depth to the painting.

I always learn something from every painting I do and I think the most obvious thing that I have learned from this painting is not to rush. The result I get from taking my time, working on the under painting and then adding colour is always less strained even if it does take more time. It's far easier to make alterations at the start than at the end.

I'm thinking about setting my computer up so that I can record a time lapse of my painting process. It probably won't be available for a while. I've already started a new painting of Wolverine that I hope to finish in the next week or so but the next painting after that I may give it a try. I'm not entirely sure if my style will lend itself to that sort of thing as I tend to paint in short bursts but I'll see how it goes and let you know.

Geisha is now available as a print on my Etsy store here

Please also check out and like my Facebook page where I post lots of work in progress shots and random updates

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