Painting Tutorial

Hopefully you've seen our current site cover, a painting from Ribeye the Bullbarian and the Sands of Fate, created by Mike Milo using a tablet PC and software called ArtRage. Mike wrote a tutorial about how he created the image, so I thought I'd post it here:


"I start first with the original art. In this case, because the art was drawn for a children's novel which I illustrated in black and white art, the drawing was done on paper and then scanned.

After that I brought the line drawing into ArtRage and set it up as a Tracing Image.

From there I started to paint just the base colors over the line drawing, working slowly to achieve the flat major colors I knew would need. I didn't waste time getting into detail here and as you can see I was even a bit sloppy in the process. I can almost hear my daughters yelling "Stay in the lines daddy!"

From here I grabbed my Pallet Knife and started to sculpt in the darker shadows trying to find the light source I wanted and also attempt to get a little bit of form. Again, I'm not really too concerned about details but more getting a feel of solidity and shape.

I continue to refine the Ribeye. I build up the colors alternating between slapping dark color over the lighter ones by turning on the Insta-Dry function in the Brush settings.

This allows me to place precise amounts of flat color directly onto the lighter areas. Then I can smear it and sculpt it into shadows. I have found that I can go as dark as I want and I can still get it back to a lighter richer tone all the while looking for form.

Now I've moved onto the Lion, trying to get some nice dramatic shadows on him. I learned a lot from doing Ribeye and I am trying to apply this knowledge to the Lion. At this point I discovered that if I add contrasting colors as the shadows and then smear it in it somehow gives it a richer shading. Why? I got no idea but it worked for me…

Now I moved onto getting a nice organic background behind them by starting with a purple smear of paint with the Brush tool set with a high Loading of about 60 and a low Thinner setting of about 20 (so I'm getting that nice thick painty feel) and swirled it around adding contrasting colors each time, so I went from purple to green to yellow back to green each time taking the Pallet Knife and smearing the "globs" of paint mixing them, The great thing about ArtRage is that you can really add and take away from the canvas unlike real paint.

Now did it make a difference that I went back and forth with contrasting colors to achieve this at the end? Probably not, but that's how I built it up to this. I also added daubs of light teal directly behind them and smeared it into the green giving them light behind them and allowing us to focus a bit more on them.

Finally, now that I ended up with a green background which worked nicely for Ribeye and the Lion, (and I think helping them stand out best) I needed to change the Lion's sleeves because they were too similar to the bg. They also felt too naked to me so I changed them to green as well. I also added some blue to Ribeye's shadow which you may not be able to see but I think it adds a bit of depth.

I have been told by a painting artist friend that sometimes, even if you think a color you've added is gone and you have gone over it with another color, it still changes the final color enough and that the feel, or "aura" remains. Your eye can see it even if you think it can't. Well, I'm not sure if I believe that but, hey it sounded go so there you go.

This is the final pic. Anyway, I am pretty new to painting and I probably broke several rules in creating this but I had a blast doing it and I hope at least some of what I said made sense. Feel free to ask me to clarify if I wasn't clear."

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