Meeting of Land and Water
by Dan Phyillaier, USA Web: www.danphyillaier.com



I have found that my paintings turn out the best when I have a good mental image of them before I start painting.  This often involves some research.  Ideally it is good to have several types reference.  One of the first things I do is to think about what elements could be in the painting.  Then I try to find good general pictures of those elements.  Second I sometimes look for color reference.  These pictures or paintings can be totally unrelated as long as they have a color scheme that fits the mood and the setting.  It is also nice to have inspiration for the artistic qualities or that "wow" factor.  Often this is a lifelong habit of always studying nature and good art.

Here are a few snapshots that I took while visiting the rocky coasts of California.


I often do several thumbnail sketches to find the best composition.  This time was unusual because the basic idea and placement stayed the same from this thumbnail to the end.  I usually block things in black and white.  This helps me work out the arrangement of elements, get the drawing close, and helps me use values to focus attention on the main subject.


Sometimes I find it easier to draw subtle details with pencil and paper.  So I drew the mermaid, scanned it, and then set its layer mode to multiply.  For the boy, however, I just started painting directly in Photoshop.


Currently I use one brush 80-90 percent of the time. It is a rectangular brush that looks like a sponge.


Under the "shape dynamics" tab, I set the Angle Jitter's control to Direction. This setting makes the brush always orient in the direction of the stroke. When this brush is very large and transparent you can spin it around, and the irregular edges of the brush make a textured pattern.



I also used this brush at a much smaller size for drawing fine details. The square corners and irregular edges give brushstrokes a look more like traditional brushstrokes.

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