Tackling ZBrush for the First Time

Starting new things can be daunting. Starting new things of which you have no experience can be stunningly daunting. ZBrush is one of those things. Everything about ZBrush was alien to me. Just navigating around a 3-D object was very tricky. And yet it's so much fun. ZBrush has a steep learning curve but as time went by, I noticed that I was becoming increasingly proficient. Moving around an object and using a sculpting brush to carve out shapes is an absolute joy. This feeling of pleasure made it easier for me to continue learning and push through some pretty tricky learning. Within a month, I had created and painted an eyeball which I was really proud of. A video of that eye will be coming

Using Free Association to Plan a Painting

In this video I look in detail at how to use free association to plan a painting. The Surrealists also used free association in their work. I've developed my own way of using this process and I've used it in The Seven Gates series and my new series, Guardians: The basis of my technique is the writing of lists of words. For my new painting I started with the word "freedom". I put this word in my mind and then allowed myself to jump from word to word, writing them down as I went. I don't think about the painting at this stage, I just let my mind wander. After writing one list, I look for words that jump out at me. I repeat the process with these words. Then I look for more interesting words in

Planning a Painting Using Free Association (Overview)

In this video, I actually start to plan my new painting. This is always a fun time for me because I'm never sure where the painting is going to go. It's a real voyage of discovery. It sometimes feels as though the painting has always existed and I've just got to find it. I started out by using the free association process to generate some ideas for my painting. The surrealists used free association in their work and this is my take on the technique. I don't go into this process with any preconceived ideas about what the painting is going to be, I just let my mind wander. For a more detailed look at how to use free association, click here. The general idea I use is that I come up with a few k

PC Set Up for Art

Earlier this year I decided to make some short vlogs to document the process of how I created my latest painting. This is the first of those vlogs where I bought a new PC specifically for the purpose of using it to run ZBrush, a digital sculpting app. I wanted to use ZBrush to plan my paintings. I'd dabbled before in making 3-D models using clay to help me visualise elements of a painting. But I wanted more control of the lighting in the final model. ZBrush along with the renderer Keyshot gave me this level of control. Plus it meant I had to learn something new, which is always good. With this in mind I went to a local PC shop, a small shop with a very knowledgeable fellow therein. He helped

How to Mix Tints of Colours - How to Mix Colours: Part 2

If you missed the first instalment of this colour mixing series, Click Here. Now that you've learned how to mix the primary colours to get secondary colours, it's time to find out how to mix tints of colours. Tints are made by adding white paint to a colour. That doesn't sound too hard. But doing this is a very precise and controlled way can be a tad trickier. This video will show you how to mix very precise tones of colours. The tonal exercise I do in the video can be tailored to your skill level. You could just mix five different tones using a colour and white or if you wanted a real challenge you could have a go at mixing twenty plus different tones. Mixing tints of colours is one way of

How to Mix Colours: Part 1

If you're an artist working with traditional media such as watercolours, acrylics or oil paints or if you want to learn how to use these paints, then you will need to learn colour mixing skills. It will make the whole experience of painting a lot more pleasant. This series of videos will take you from the very basics of colour mixing up to ninja level colour mixing skills. Even the basics are useful for experienced artists as it is always good to investigate the paints you use in new and interesting ways. in this video I go right back to the skills you will have learned when you were very young. You will see how the secondary colours, orange, purple and green, can be mixed from the three pri

The Advantages of Belonging to a Group - My Interpretation of 'A Sense of Belonging'

In this post I'll give you my interpretation of 'A Sense of Belonging', the first painting in my new series 'Guardians'. The 'Guardians' series has been designed as an antidote to my previous series 'The Seven Gates'. If you don't know anything about that series, this video will get you up to speed: So the 'Guardians' series will be all about things in my life that help me to keep depression at bay. They won't all be relevant to everybody but if you suffer with depression there may be something that could help. If nothing else it should be comforting to know that someone who has had severe depression, and at one point couldn't see a way out, can now paint a colourful image like 'A Sense of B

How to Create a Strong Focal Point in a Painting - The making of 'A Sense of Belonging'

One of the things I wanted to work on after the completion of my last series of paintings, 'The Seven Gates', was really emphasising the focal point of my paintings. So for the first painting in my new series, 'Guardians', this is what I concentrated on. You now have two options: watch the video below to find out how to create a strong focal point or continue reading this post which gives the same information but you get to read it at your leisure. Okay, you've decided to read on. Excellent! Let's have a look at the six main areas I worked on to really show off my focal point: Position Lead-in lines Warm/Cold colours Saturation Level of Detail Contrast Let's have a quick look at the theory.

Dark Thoughts: The Meaning Behind 'The Seventh Gate' Part 2

If you missed Part 1, Click Here. Approximately two years ago, I started this series of paintings to visually show how depression has affected me. This experience of mental illness is unique to me, but from reading around the subject there is a lot of crossover with other people who have suffered and who are suffering with depression. But before I launch into the meaning of the last painting let's have a little recap on the story so far. For my post on the meaning behind each individual painting just click on the relevant title. Descent From Möbius Wood Depression is something that I've suffered with on and off since I was in my late teens. I can be feeling perfectly well mentally, and then

The Meaning Behind 'The Seventh Gate' Part 1

Normally in these posts, where I look at the meaning behind my paintings, I first write about my own experience and then detail how this fits in with the piece of art. For this final painting in the Seven Gates series, I'm going to do something different: I'll start by looking at the various elements in the image and then I'll talk about my experience in the next post to see their relevance. Probably the first thing that you'll notice about this painting is the red circle. If you're familiar with the rest of my work, you'll know that the worlds I paint tend to be lacking in colour. Most are grey, to be exact. So this splash of red may be a surprise. I've composed the image so that this red c

The Making of 'The Seventh Gate'

The genesis of this painting started a year ago when I was originally working on the fourth painting in the series. It was going to be called 'Don't Think of Pink Elephants'. Did an image of a pink elephant pop into your head just then? I'd be surprised if not because it is pretty much impossible to tell yourself not to think about something. The painting was all about obsessional thoughts and the difficulty one has in controlling them. I wanted to paint an image of 365 creatures that were all identical. As I've written before, the repetition necessary for the meaning of the painting to have an impact gave me severe hand pain. So the project had to be shelved. But for the first time here are

The Desire to Go Deeper Down: The Meaning Behind 'I'll Walk Into Your Parlour' Part 2

In my last post - Click Here if you missed it - I detailed how depression led me down a path where I actively tried to see how depressed I could get, to see just how far I could go down. Now I'll look at how this all fits in with my painting 'I'll Walk Into Your Parlour'. Firstly, let's look at the title: it's fairly obviously a reference to the Mary Howitt poem 'The Spider and the Fly' which has the first line: 'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly. In the poem, the spider eventually charms the fly to a dinner party where the delicacy on the menu is Pie and Mushy Flies. Munch, munch. In my painting, all of the charming and seducing has already been done and I'd reache

The Desire to Go Deeper Down: The Meaning Behind 'I'll Walk Into Your Parlour' Part 1

Depression plays the long game. It doesn't have to rush. Gradually chipping away at a person's defences is its modus operandi. Its long-term strategy against me was so effective that as it reached its ultimate goal it actually enlisted my services. I'll explain: If you've read my previous entries in this series then you might have guessed that by a certain point I was deep into severe depression. What you might not have guessed is that I was enjoying it. Yes, enjoying it. And so we reach the meaning of this painting: Now this is not the sort of enjoyment that you may get from seeing your favourite football team score against local rivals, or from eating a really gorgeous sprout covered in mu

The Making of 'I'll Walk Into Your Parlour': Part 2

Last time I looked at the planning process behind my latest painting 'I'll Walk Into Your Parlour' (if you missed it, Click Here). In this final instalment, I'm going to delve into the painting process. The eye was the first thing that I tackled. I looked at references of different magnified eyes and also cataracts for the milky pupil. I used a similar technique to painting hair for the background of the eye. I initially painted it all black and then overlaid very fine white lines radiating from the centre. This looked a little odd, but there was a lot more work to be done. The next stage was to add washes of different colours - although they were predominantly blue - all over the eye, follo

The Making of 'I'll Walk Into Your Parlour': Part 1

I'm very pleased to reveal my new painting 'I'll Walk Into Your Parlour'. To tell you about the creation of this painting I need to go back in time, back to when I was a young 8 year old whipper snapper. Every summer I went to stay with my Granddad in a small village called Owston Ferry that's a fairly lengthy ride from Doncaster in a permanently dusty bus. One of the highlights of visiting him was going out for long walks. Well, they seemed like long walks at the time but now are barely a stroll. We would wander along the River Trent picking up stray beetroots that had fallen off the lorries and generally pottering around a bit. The highlight - albeit a dark one - was reaching a low wall, t

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