I continue to work on transposing my traditional skills and styles to the digital realm. Most of my portraits rely on a process of vector-based linework and bitmap painting using programs like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, and some others.
Within the painting programs I use custom brushes for painting as well as channel operations to achieve certain effects that replicate natural media as well as introduce special effects like lens flares.
For this portrait of Scott Summers, AKA Cyclops, from the X-Men I was trying to achieve a more comic-book style for the final piece. I worked through one portrait in my established process to create this image above but I wanted to experiment with some other brushes and techniques to see if I could achieve a style approaching what I might see on the pages of some of my favorite authors.
With this second iteration of the same illustration I worked much looser with the brushes and pushed the saturation up to achieve a brighter palette on Cyclops’ costume. I also pushed the optical effects using a tilt-shift blur that also pushed the bokeh on some of the highlights in the background.
I also played around with combining multiple illustrations and played with blending between them to see what effect I could achieve through simple channel operations. The version above has more of the realism of the first portrait but introduces that blurred effect to help focus your eye on the blasts coming from Cyclops.
I am happy with some of these recent experiments with brushes and techniques. There still is no feeling like pencil on paper for me, since that is how I was trained, but I continue to push on the digital tools to get to an equilibrium between my Mac and my moleskine.
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