Layering Shades, building up the Shape/Texture - need help
I have hard problems in layering my shading to finish the final shape,
and creating a realistic texture. Im using Painter12 and draw a bit with Pencils,
tried Acrylics before and like more to paint digitally with a Wacom.
The same problem appears to me on paper and with pencils.
Whenever i sketch i draw lines and think about where the light comes from
and where shadows/tones should be. I use references to study and just do not understand
how these shadings are built up to form the final shape. Yea i have and read books,
watched tutorials and else, but something is still a mystery for me.
By observing others i noticed that even in their first stage
of painting they are blocking shapes up which fit on the spot, just clean up and detailing
is needed. Whenever i try on the first stage to be scribbly and unclean i feel like
losing the idea of how the final shading will look like.
Im using a midtone in my palette to start from and to build light up and down from there,
by painting a higher or darker tone.
This works for me on big and smaller shapes but only when they are clean and finished shapes.
As i notice the layering of the light and shadows fit to the beginning shape. Meaning i tend
to support the shapes starting form by shading it about like in the same direction the
basic shape already has, i feel like being bound to the basic shape, because its too isolated.
When applying this to more complex shapes, ie. a rock or the iris of an eye my brushstrokes do
not lead somewhere.
I often read about "pictures in pictures", where more complex shapes are built up, to create texture.
I ask myself then how do i paint these, when the texture is chaotic and do not have a clean form/direction
(which i take from the basic shape).
As mentioned before, on tutorials i watched that most of the artists start by layering brushstrokes
with a low to middle opacity, to block out the shape. How are they sure what to blend together and
where to keep sharp edges, when those brushstrokes all have a sharp edge, or overlapping each other
with their opacities?! Do they switch their brushstroke direction in relation to something?
On what do they orientate? Is that just a matter of style? I think an artist has to know where
to put which
I do not use preserved layers and paint on the canvas, because i feel its even more setting
the starting shape into stone. I currently only use the Airbrush with 10-100% Opacity.
These things are best practiced with a simple still life in controlled lighting, using a forgiving medium like charcoal. Start with a white sphere, put it in a black box to shield it from extraneous lighting, and add one spot light. Forget about strokes or textures, just get the values right. Take your time, make whatever corrections are needed. Next, add a little complexity, like a sheet of white underneath or in the background, or eventually, another object, possibly non-white.
Get feedback, for instance by posting the results here, and keep doing these until you feel comfortable with value studies. Once you get the snag of it, feel free to try other media, like paint, or digital. Enjoy the ride!
If you want to learn, apply the good advice you just got. You will get to the results and insights you want by doing the work. A white egg is fine for practice. Or go to a toy store and get a little white ball.
You can't paint texture unless there is light. So learn how light falls on simple shapes, and later play with drawing things with varied textures from life. Learning to paint is not so much theory and looking at tutorials as it is about sitting down and drawing what you actually see in real life. Then when you have some more experience, go back to the tutorials and you will understand them better. And then draw more applying what you learned, and so on. Drawing and painting are like learning to swim or drive a car or cook. You can learn all about it, but you won't have a clue how to do it until you actually do it.
Before you can make accurate guesses about objects that don't exist, you have to put in a LOT of time drawing objects that do. The white ball is just a start (it's usually easy and cheap to find white ping-pong balls at a toy store, btw.) Your house is full of different-textured objects. Once you can accurately shade some fairly simple white objects like spheres and cubes that are sitting in front of you, do what art students do. Walk around your house collecting objects of different colours, shapes and textures, put them together in a still life and draw them.
I like to use a fairly soft pencil, 4B or 6B. That way you can start softly and build up darker values using only one pencil. Also, charcoal is great for value studies. It is very forgiving and easy to erase. But try different things, everyone has their own preference