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Posts Tagged ‘mypaint’

The Scrapheap

I’ve been trying to release at least one blog post a month, but that’s proven an elusive goal in July. Two things conspired against me:

  • I’m building a cabin this summer, which takes up a lot of free time.
  • We’ve had a genuine heat wave this past month in the Yukon, which means I just haven’t been online all that much while I enjoy the outdoors.

So here’s a painting instead that captures my current mood:

The Scrapheap

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Conquest of the Marsh

Conquest of the Marsh

A man, his dog, and the wilderness.

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Battle Maiden

Battle-Maiden

I had a lot of fun splashing in the background characters for this one. Made with MyPaint.

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I’m fresh dry on ideas for blog posts (as you might notice from my increasingly erratic posting schedule), so some scattered thoughts for February, the cruelest month, instead:

  • The most rote feature of any writer’s blog is posts on writer’s block. I’ve had a really long spell of sitting in front of my computer and words not coming out, and none of the strategies I’ve tried to far have really worked. That being said, there are a few anthology calls that would be a real shame to miss since they fall right in my wheelhouse. I now have a small notebook I carry around to jot down ideas.One thing I noticed is that the last two stories I did manage to finish came right out of drawings and paintings I’d done, and maybe I’m onto something there.

 

  • On that note, probably the best thing I’ve done for improving my artwork was buying a cheap, 500-sheet pad of newsprint from the local office supply store. I have had a weird relationship with sketchbooks where I was adamant on only including “good” work in books most people wouldn’t see. For newsprint, over the past few months I’ve filled it every day with small sketches and concepts, almost all out of my imagination, and that freedom to just dump out any idea no matter how rough has really helped improve my ability to pose figures, make compositions and create diverse people and landscapes. Experimenting and just moving onto the next iteration when you fail because you don’t perceive the sketchbook as a place for “quality” work is really helpful, and if I’m out of ideas for finished pieces I can always go back and flip through my thumbnails until I find something that catches my eye.

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One last painting

…before the year is over.

bluedressviking

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When I bought a new laptop this year, the shiny HD screen lured me over to the world of digital art. I bought a Wacom Intuos tablet shortly afterwards and had a go at painting with a stylus. What’s really impressed me over the last few months have been the wealth of free and open source tools available for creative expression that are capable of some really impressive results. Not just for painting, either: Blender, InkscapeGIMP and LibreOffice are all catching up to their commercial counterparts, sport an appealing anarcho-punk approach to giving users complete control over their products, and are sometimes friendlier to use.

My tablet came with ArtRage Lite as the bundled software, but I found I didn’t get along with it. The heavy focus on reproducing the effects of physical media ran counter to what I wanted to do—take advantage of the freedom provided by the digital space to produce artwork that would be otherwise impossible or too time-consuming if I used the supplies in my “art box”. The user interface was also a major turnoff for me, performance issues proving the final straw. After some experimenting, I’ve settled on three painting programs for use with my tablet: MyPaint, Krita and FireAlpaca. (more…)

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