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Digital Painting, Ruth Lee
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Prompt

Create digital paintings of 10-20 textures in the shape of a cube.

Core Ideas

Texture, Color, Light, Form

Supplies

Laptop or Compuer, Drawing Tablet (Options: Wacom Intuous 5 Tablet, Cintiq or an Ipad Pro)

Recommended Course

Process

1.  Find a physical object that has a texture you would like to paint. (passion fruit seen here)

2. Set the object under a light so that shadows and highlights are visible.

3. Sketch an outline the object.

Digital Painting: Texture Cubes

4. Start with 1 color as your base. This should be the most prominent color of the object.

5.  Find the biggest blocks of color and paint them in. Use the Kyle Webster Brushes (comes with a subscription to Creative Cloud). Using different texture brushes. 

Digital Painting: Texture Cubes

6. Paint details like like cracks, bubbles, etc. Paint the shadows and highlights onto the details as well.

7. Create a new layer and block in the shadows.

8. Create a new layer and block in the highlights.

Digital Painting: Texture Cubes

9. Find the brightest highlights and make them pop with strong contrast.

Digital Painting: Texture Cubes

Tips

1. Lower the opacity of your brush to about 80%,  this way, you will have a variety

2. For mistakes, use Ctrl + Z (undo) or Ctrl + E (eraser)

3. Don’t paint everything on one layer. Create a new layer every time you make a significant change like color or texture. This way, it will be easier to change later.

4. Have both hard and soft edges. What often creates a stereotypical “digital look” is when the edges are too similar.

Digital Painting: Texture Cubes

Examples

Karas Cowger

“Working on texture cubes was an interesting way of focusing on small details and lighting all together on a small dimensional shape. Not only was working on this tutorial satisfying once a cube is finished, but it also takes a lot of focus and observing.

I enjoyed this tutorial a lot because I never had the chance to sit back and observe texture and squeeze it into a cube shape. The whole concept is interesting enough to make me create more and more. I also liked how this tutorial was a digital experience, since it stretches mediums that some artists have never worked with yet. It broadens their medium and gives the tutorial another challenge to face.

I loved working on the shading and then getting down to the details so each texture looked different than each other. It is a good way to practice nailing down different textures to their individual objects, whether it is fabric, glass, or even food.”

Victoria Lin

“Conveying texture is one of the most important elements in a successful piece of work. To practice this ability, I tried the texture cubes project. This assignment helped me a lot with digital art and color sense along with, of course, understanding texture.

The first cube was a challenge because I went straight to creating a block for a transparent object as opposed to starting with a simpler opaque object. Because of this difficult start, the assignment of 10-20 cubes was initially overwhelming since digital art is not my realm, meaning I would need to take an extremely long time just to produce one block.

However, I was able to speed up the process of each cube with gouache brush set for my program Clip Studio Paint, which allowed me to focus less on texture realism and more on lighting and color. I kind of cheated with some of the textures like the wood and steel; instead of drawing from life, I took a picture instead and referenced off the photograph.

If I were to do this project again, I would keep all my textures to fruits because it bothers me how my cubes don’t all just stick to the fruit or food theme. Overall, this project improved my digital painting ability which makes me very happy.”

Ruth Llee

Ruth Lee
Project Assistant

I’ve always been pretty sporadic when it comes to creating digital art, and so this project served as a great chance to exercise my general observational drawing skills as well as getting in more practice with the digital medium. I love details, and naturally spend time zeroing in on tiny touches on all my work; so I had a lot of fun getting to experiment with different brushes, colors and layering techniques to communicate the textures I wanted.

Also, painting things from a wide range of shiny to matte taught me not just how to use various brushes, but how to get more expression and versatility out of each individual brush using it in different ways. Textures, especially in food, are mesmerizing in illustration work when they’re done well, and observing the work of other experienced illustrators helped me experiment styles, techniques and learn how to visually communicate the textures I had in mind for this project.

I would love to do this more often as a warm-up routine for digital drawing and just for interesting digital practice in general.”

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