Touch Studies

I'm always looking for ways to explore a subject before I paint it. I like to walk around and look at different angles and distances and consider various compositions, value and color schemes. It takes me a while to warm up. My second or third sketch is usually better than the first.

I'm experimenting with using the iPod Touch for these preliminary studies. I'm looking for a method that's fast and easy and flexible and convenient but above all helpful. Here's my first try.

This was done with ArtRage. I took a tracing picture and used the picture's colors to do this quick value and color sketch. I added in some color and detail in the deep shadows that the eye can see but the camera cannot. This worked pretty well and is fast.

Next I wanted to try starting with a HDR (high dynamic range) photo to see if I could capture detail in both the shadow and highlight. This could potentially save me time painting in areas that the eye can see but that the camera usually misses. This next image started with a picture taken with Pro HDR.

I can also drop out the color to see the values.

I wanted to try Artists Touch and compare it to ArtRage.

ArtistsTouch is faster, but I prefer ArtRage. Artists Touch doesn't give me the information I need. It just ends up looking like a blurry photo. With ArtRage it feels like I'm actually laying down paint with my finger. It works to warm up my hand eye coordination and creates a kind of muscle memory.

So, here's the method I plan to use the next time I paint on location.

  1. Walk around and explore various possibilities with the iPod Touch's camera.
  2. Pick a position and take a picture with Pro HDR.
  3. Use ArtRage to sketch a quick color study and Photogene to drop out the color and check the values.
  4. Use a Pilot Frixion erasable pen to block in the major shapes and perspective lines. These marks can be erased later with a hair dryer. Refer to the studies and photos to get the composition, proportions, and perspective right, and people and other things that may move or change over time.
  5. Draw with waterproof ink and then lay in the color or apply color first and then add ink drawing as needed.


“Failing to prepare is preparing for failure”.

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