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i'm always amazed at the quality of the "post your environments" thread and wondered how many of your started doing these things with traditional mediums before moving to digital. or did you just jump into painter/photoshop/opencanvas and throw splashes in until you could do well enough to call it finished art?
In college I did everything traditionally for the first three years before doing my illustrations digitally the final year while remaining all traditional media in figure class. I'm really glad I spent that time with traditional media for everything I learned with it I could apply to digital painting. However it has never worked the other way around.
I used to be afraid of paint, it was this mysterious thing I had never used before. I was mostly a pen and pencil artist. Then I just did over a dozen little paintings and felt more comfortable with it. I have always had a horrible time getting the color I want with paint, though. I'm not good with getting it right on the pallet and if the lighting is a bit dark, as in a figure drawing class, it's hard to tell what color I really have.
For an illustration I would do a color study digitally that looked great, but I would never be able to reproduce the vibrance in paint. This frustrated me very much and so I gave up trying my last year of school. That was two years ago and I haven't done a traditional painting since. I should do it again but it's such a hassle and I don't have time or a place to work. Now I just open Painter and I'm ready to go. I still try to sketch traditionally just to keep that part up.
I started with traditional mediums using watercolours, acrylics, & oils first, and then branched off into digital.
Really it helps grasp the “painting” concept when you’ve done some canvas work, but there’s a huge difference between “clicking” on colors and mixing them yourself, applying the right amount to a brush and then working with the substance on a canvas. If you can draw and have an eye for color/lighting/shadows then you’ll have no problems in photoshop or painter. Yea…you basically splash the colors on there but you have to know what you're doing and how to work detail into the picture.
Traditional painting is just a lot more time consuming and I think takes more experience to really learn. I love working with real brushes though and controlling the effects and intensified details with my wrist rather than using a computer.
But everyone has their own ways of doing things. I know people who don’t paint yet they can create amazing digital pieces. So previous painting experience isn’t entirely necessary, but it can help.