My First Attempts at Digital Painting

I am by no means an artist. I've always enjoyed doodling, but impatience gets the best of me when it comes to any passion-driven art project that extends longer than a couple of days. The inspiration I had for that one project burns out quickly, and I'm already wanting to move onto the next one. Little drawings and character illustrations appeal to me because you can knock something up in a single day, and they can just exist as a standalone thing.

Always up for trying new mediums, I figured I'd try my hand (lol geddit) at digital art / illustration / painting / whatever. Digital mediums are naturally attractive as I can just jump straight into it with pretty much no physical dependencies, and I don't even have to factor in tidying up the mess at the end. (Because, face it. Sometimes the idea of having to tidy up at the end is a real motivation-killer. I'm the same way with baking.)

So in October 2019, I hopped onto Cash Converters online and scored a ✨~~brand new~~✨ Wacom drawing tablet for $71.10! Whoooo new toy!

Wacom tablet

I already had the Corel suite for image editing in PaintShop Pro, but it was my first time really getting to play with Corel Painter. Soooo many brushes, but it felt pretty intuitive. Nevertheless, I stuck to the basics and hovered over CTRL-Z.

This was my first attempt at a digital portrait, based on an actual photo of myself.

I mean, it's clearly stylised which is my artistic preference (lol look at me with my "artistic preferences") but I'm not sure on the style itself. I deliberately went with a more sketchy aesthetic, probably more out of a lack of self-confidence in my brush strokes than anything else.

I'd say it's a solid first attempt though, for someone who doesn't really draw much.

Digital self-portrait

Digital portrait of Ian

The next day, I attempted to paint Ian (my partner). Taking what I'd learnt from my first attempt, and applying it to my second. Again, based on a photo.

I think my lines are a lot cleaner here; they're also coloured to appear less cartoon-y and more photo-realistic though still very stylised. I like the eyes and the glasses. His lips, nose, and facial hair aren't great - not a problem he has in real life.

But I think I really nailed his condescending stare...

Comparing to 2007...

Doing character illustrations like this was a bit like a walk down memory lane for me. That memory lane was called Gaia Online, and I spent a lot of my teenage years on there uploading my crappy little doodles for people to critique.

I doodled this thing here back in 2007, as somewhat of a deathrock-inspired self-portrait. These were actual clothes and boots I owned and wore. I've come a long way since then. I've outgrown the WHSmith watercolour pencils, and have a Wacom drawing tablet now :)

2007 drawing of my alter-ego

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