Digital Brushwork Techniques | Marco Bucci | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro to brushwork


    • 2.

      Brushwork and shapes


    • 3.

      Brushwork and edges


    • 4.

      Painting breakdown


    • 5.

      Digital brushes


    • 6.

      Digital brushes continued


    • 7.

      Bringing it all together


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About This Class

'Digital Brushwork Techniques' is a video presentation of tools and techniques for getting the most out of your digital brushes and workflow. It will help you achieve a more natural, appealing, and above all, fun look to your paintings.

Please note: this is not a software tutorial. I will be using Adobe Photoshop CC in this lesson, but the ideas and approaches are applicable to any digital painting application (even traditional media!)

Approximately 1 hour, 10 mins of 720p video.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Marco Bucci

Professional illustrator & teacher


Hello, I'm Marco.

I'm a professional artist with 15 years' experience in the film, TV, game, and print industries - primarily as a concept artist and illustrator. I also happen to believe that it's the duty of experienced artists to pass on what they've learned, with no BS and for as low-cost as possible. It's for that reason that I'm a passionate teacher. I currently teach at CGMA, and have previously taught at Academy of Art University, Centennial College, and more. 


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Level: Intermediate

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1. Intro to brushwork : all right. Before we get going, I would just like to say hello and thank you for purchasing this video. My name is Mark Obuchi, and for the next hour or so we'll be discussing digital brushwork techniques. Now, right away, I'm saying the word digital, but there's actually no difference between what I'm about to talk about versus traditional brushwork. In fact, what I'm going to try and do here and when I try and do largely in my own work, is bring traditional mindsets into the digital realm. It's kind of ironic, actually. I think most people who know my work from the Internet know it as digital. They know me as a digital painter, but I actually consider myself a traditional artist. First, I was trained with oils and wash and watercolor, and only later on that I start understanding. Digital paint is just kind of an extension of that. So we'll start by breaking down some of the aesthetics behind that, and then we'll build and build lessons until finally will do a full demo at the end. Okay, this brushwork video requires me to reference some painting fundamentals, lessons that I have already recorded and are available right now on my YouTube channel, there are two videos. I'd like you to watch their 10 minutes each, and like I said, I will be heavily referencing the fundamentals discussed in those videos. So please head on over to my YouTube channel. The two videos are from my 10 Minutes to Better painting Siri's Episode three, which is actually called digital brushwork. But don't worry, we're gonna go more in depth in this lesson. Please watch Episode three and please watch Episode four called Good Shape. So again, that's Episode three and Episode four. I will be using the language as well as the principles discussed in those two videos to propel our discussion here. So please pause this video. Watch those and I'll see you when you get back. Let's start off our lesson by looking at these two paintings. I consider both of these masterpieces. The one on the left is by Richard Schmidt. The one on the right is by William Bouguereau. They portray similar subjects. Both are women in white, and they both our lips with the same type of colder temperature light. Now, as a visual exercise, try and get past the literal subject matter and try and see these as abstract paintings. You know what it may actually help If I turn them upside down now, I'm going to try my best to keep taste out of this conversation. But take a look at these two paintings again. They're both masterpieces, but ask yourself which one on the abstract level is more expressive? For me, it's the Richard Schmid painting, and the reason I say that is because there appears to beam or I don't know. I'll use the word fun for lack of better word. There seems to be more fun being had in the act of painting. And when I say the active painting, I mean the child like act of picking up a brush, smudging it in some paint and smearing that paint on the canvas. When we look at these paintings upside down, you can really see how the Schmidt painting almost turns abstract, whereas the Bouguereau one you can still really see the literal subject matter. This to me shows that Schmidt is really enjoying partaking in the childlike act of painting , and it appears that the marks he's making with the brush on the abstract level are just is important to him as the literal subject matter. Whereas I can't say the same thing about the Bouguereau painting with his painting, it's obviously more about the literal subject matter coming through. That's what his primary aim, Waas. And while there still is brushwork in the Bouguereau painting, it looks like it's more of a means to an end, like the brushwork is only there to define the literal subject of that woman. Whereas in the Richard Schmidt it's clear that the brushwork is also intended to communicate on that abstract level. Now one is not better than the other. I'm not trying to say that, but I think what's undeniable is there is a clear difference in aesthetic. Now. I'd like to make a very important distinction. Painting is using the fundamentals of art to depict an idea or emotion, and according to me, the biggest three fundamentals are shapes, values and edges those air skills that every good painter must have. I mean shapes refers to how well you can draw values refers to how well you understand light and shadow and edges may be responsible for the transitions or areas in between shapes, and values. In short, these are the things that take years to master. To put it brashly there. What separates a good painter from a bad one? Now this video is about none of the host things. You'll notice that I did not include brushwork in my list of fundamentals. And that's because, as we saw in the previous example, brushwork is more of an area of expression. So to officially define it, what is brushwork? Brushwork is simply an expression of the fundamentals, and the word expression is key here because it implies that there's no one correct way. Richard Schmidt and William Bouguereau have arguably the same level of skill and fundamentals, but look at the vast difference in the way they choose to express them. Now we are in the realm of brushwork, and let's move this lesson along into how we can start to achieve varieties of brushwork. Okay, so I'd like to begin this part of the lesson with the quick, I guess, verbal breakdown of one of my own paintings just to show you how I think about brushwork when I'm painting, and then we'll get into, you know, physically applying it Now, this is a very happy painting. That was my goal. Remember what painting is Painting is just simply depicting an idea or an emotion. Well, this is both. It's both an idea and an emotion. It's happy. So that's emotional. And it's an idea that's simply a kid with a friend monster on a bridge and there reading a book. That is kind of what I went into this with, and I want it to feel happy. Which, if I break that down more, I wanted to be very light, very colorful, very don't know airy. I want that atmosphere to feel almost like you can smell the spring in the air. That's that's what I was going for. So on a painting level, on a fundamental level, obviously I'm using shapes, values and edges to put this idea on the page. But on a brushwork level, I want that brushwork to reinforce that happiness. Okay, so if we zoom in real quick, we can see that, in my opinion, at least, what I'm trying to do in my own aesthetic is I'm trying to make abstract marks that just feel happy. And what do I do to do that? Like on a psychological level, I kind of pretend like I'm five years old, literally, and I'm just scribbling on like I'm dipping my finger and paint and scribbling on the wall . That's honestly how I think about a lot of this on a high level. Don't worry. We're gonna get into more of a technical breakdown than that. But if you look at this, this brushwork is not like it doesn't take skill to make a mess like this. Uh, this is the fun part. Brushwork. Is that again? That expressive emotional part. And just to recap, I want the painting to feel happy, Right? This is a story about these two characters that are in the happiest part of their lives. So I want that brushwork to also reinforce that happiness. So again, it's like that Richard Schmidt thing. That painting is communicating on two levels. One, we're getting a cool story of a boy and his friend Ah, big green monster. That's the literal story. But then on an abstract story, we're getting this tale of happiness through the abstraction. And again, the way I'm thinking about it is like I am this kid and I'm just painting my memory and I wanted to feel dreamlike. And to me dreams are divorced from literal nous. So I want my brush work to be divorced from literalness. So when you get in this close, you can see Ah, whole lot of marks being used a whole lot of variety of marks being used. Now, when you get up here, though, this is where the focal point is. These air that this is the crux of the story. These two characters are the most important part of the picture, right? This is where I have to tighten that brushwork up a little bit because I need my fundamentals to come through just a bit more See down here, I could be I could do anything. I could get away with murder down here. Look at this. A five year old can literally paint that. I'm not even I'm not even joking. A five year old could paint this part. Um and that's I think that's pretty cool, because the difference between this and this is really instructive in I need to tighten this part up, to tell you the viewer what's important on the literal level. But you notice I'm not. I'm not tightening it up to the point where I'm rendering it like Bouguereau, like I'm not typing up to that level. I'm tightening it up just enough to direct the viewer here to get across that hard like story. Literal part. I need the viewer to know exactly what that boy's expression is, exactly what the monsters expression is so I could not afford. I can't do this here. It wouldn't work. It would be too abstract. Okay, And that's actually a problem. I think a lot of painters get into especially newcomers to digital. Painting is everything looks equally abstract. This is a key take away right away. Here is that you cannot have your painting be all abstract. You need differences. There is a market difference between the abstraction here and the level of extra abstraction here. This is much more, Let's say, rendered. It's much more resolved. I think that's a better word. It's much more resolved. No notice. I'm still trying my best to incorporate five year old brushwork, but I need my fundamentals to come through Maurin this area so I simply pare down my abstraction a bit and tighten up the brushwork That's kind of a no overall view of how I think of picture making. Okay, by contrast, now let's look at a painting that is the opposite of Happy. This is something I painted for Halloween or for the month of October, and I also love horror films. So this is where this kind of stuff comes from. Let's look at this. This is a picture of Ah haunted house. You can. The ghost will pop out at you right there. Let's zoom in a little bit on this one. This is not as high rez. I can't zoom in quite as much, but we zoom in a little bit and we can see that the brush works very different, right? It still has, like a kind of five year old quality cause that's just my personality. I like childlike expression, I guess so. It still has, like, a sense of fun nous to it, But you notice it's not, as I don't know, smeary or scribble E. As the monster painting was this one. There's Mawr of, ah, hardness to it. Again, I struggle for words because it's all expression right. It's abstract. There is a linear nous to it like if you look at the wall thes weird markings on the wall that really have nothing to do with the literal part. It's just brushwork, right? Like these little dark. These aren't supposed to be holes in the wall, and I don't think they look like that. It's brushwork, right? But again, Well, I guess what I'm trying to say is, the brushwork is different here than it is in the monster painting, and the reason it's different is because I want the brushwork to support and underlay the message of the picture. And this message is this is a scary, haunted house. So in my opinion, I thought that this kind of hackie slash e brushwork would help evoke that. Now it could be wrong. You might look at this and say, Oh, that doesn't look scary at all, and that's completely your prerogative. But in my opinion, this kind of brushwork is what I felt I could overlay over my fundamentals as like a second tier of storytelling on the abstract level to communicate the emotions behind this. So if you look at like the ghost here, the the ghost girls face, you see there's a lot of vertical brush strokes, like a lot of this literally a pencil brush that I have that I just made vertical brush strokes with and you can see down here. It kind of gets into maybe slightly more round shapes. But there's still a verticality to it. You can see the brushwork on the stairs like the vertical strokes of the of the face. They kind of our eco down here with the vertical strokes of the this blue the wall. Here there's these kind of vertical marks. I have a brush that makes patterns like that. It's all very intentionally vertical. You can see that kind of, well, here's more diagonal, but there's still hacky and slash e right? That's the kind of brushwork, theme, hack and slash that I that I try to incorporate for this painting in order to help sell the story. So it's all driven by the idea. You have the idea of the literal story again, haunted houses, the literal idea. So I will then go into abstract land, which is brushwork, land and try and design it, so it supports that 2. Brushwork and shapes: Okay, So make sure you've watched my YouTube lesson on good shapes because now I'm gonna talk about how to combine brushwork with good shapes. So here are two paintings by J. C. Lyon Decker. What I love about them is the shapes are so clear, like take a look at this shape up in the hair, for example. It's this really cool polygonal shape that's designed like that. You see that shape? Let's let's take a look at another one. I don't want to be too redundant with my video, but here's another cool shape on the temple. Um, you know, it's just so many. Here's one for underneath the eye socket kind of has this design very simply designed. Very beautiful shapes, very readable, right? Okay, so we have all those shapes. And just like I said in the YouTube lesson, they are what provide the foundations of this painting. But on a brushwork level line, Decker is making this painting very special. He's using this aesthetic where he is infiltrating the shapes with these interesting hatching marks. So if you look at the shape up here, we've got this, you know, political shape. You notice that it's not just one filled in thing. It's not this right, even though that's the same shape. Roughly. He is going into that shape with these hatching lines and you notice that all the lines that he and uses it throughout the painting. But you notice all of the lines kind of follow their perpendicular to like the surface of the of the shape. You see what I mean? Like they're not random. They're not doing this. They are very the These brush strokes are very aware of the shape they belong. Teoh. They do not distract from the shape, but they add a bit of abstraction like hair doesn't look like that. You guys know this hair doesn't have lines like that. Lyon Decker is using this abstract brushwork technique to do that, and he's doing it everywhere. Here's some on the neck. There's three strokes right there. And of course, they're all various widths or not of the same. It's like 123 like that. He's using it in a very subtle way. In this area, I can barely see evidence of Little Hatch strokes like that. You can see them. You can see them here on the top of the forehead, small ones here, where the jaw turns on the portrait of the girl here, they're really obvious. Look at the ones in the hair, these big strokes that show the direction of the hair, but in an abstract way, in a brush working way. They're not. They're not intended to be realistic. They are a design element. And again, that's another way of saying the word expression. It's a design element. You can look at the neck here. These strokes are like a theme that line Decker is running through his paintings that unify them on an abstract Lee expressive level. It's that underlying storytelling that goes beyond the literal okay, and I also want to point out that there's nothing again, just like my five year old painting. Before there's nothing advanced about this. It's just an a layer of aesthetic that you have to be conscious off. Or else if you're not conscious of it, there's no way you're gonna be able to do it, because chances are you'll just end up with a mess. One cool thing I'm just noticing. Now, as I'm recording this video, I'm noticing that in the guise portrait here the lines they kind of radiate in different ways, depending on the shape. But in the girl's portrait, they generally flow in this direction. Can you see that? I think that's really cool. It lends that again. The word specialness comes to mind. It lends that sense of specialness to these pictures. And one last thing I did hear quickly is just as an exercise. I did a layer were here. I'm turning it off and on. I just basically took away all those hatching strokes. Now the first thing I want you to notice is it's the painting still works. It's still a good drawing of, ah, teenage guy. It still has form and light and and all those good things. Still a good design. These shapes are still good. Everything about it still works. But what I've changed is like the flavor of it. It speaks to you differently on a brushwork, abstract, expressive level. Still a good painting even. I mean, I did it very quickly. It's I didn't make perfect shapes, but you know, the painting still works. It just looks like a different person painted it, and thats again reinforces my view of what brushwork is brushwork really is not the controlling aspect of quality. That's your fundamentals, brushwork. Just it's how the message is delivered. One of the things I like to do in my own paintings is I will think of the shape first. So say that's my shape. And as you know, from my YouTube lesson, this shape could belong to any painting, right? But I'll define the shape in my head or with a lasso tool like this. And then what I'll do is I will kind of scribble within that shape. So if I have pushed control age to hide that you can see as I scribble, I'm still adhering to his shape. But all of a sudden, just from the active, sheer scribbling, I've made interesting brushwork, and I haven't even done anything. Remember earlier I said, It's like I'm five years old. Well, that's what I'm doing now. I still have that selection, right? I can get maybe a scatter brush or something, and, you know, just going over that shape, putting it into it. I could do the line decker thing where I make a few, you know, strokes of outside shapes that infiltrate the shape you know that. You know, that just kind of alter it a little bit. Now if I did it like, let's say I did this. That's too much, I think because now I've made two shapes, right. It doesn't look like one shape anymore, so I gotta be careful. Even this is a little too much. I never want to break the identity of this shape. I'll push it, though I will push it as far as I can, moving over to this panting and I'm showing it to in grayscale so I don't want I don't want to get distracted by color, Weaken See, like that shape that I just made earlier was kind of inspired by this shape. Here you can see this shape of the landscape. It's it's very loose, but it kind of adheres to that. That's what I had in mind when I painted it, and you can see it's exactly this screw Billy stuff that's going into that shape. But I am because I'm scribbling. I'm allowing for accidents to happen, but I'm still keeping the shape identity, and that's an aesthetic that I use in literally. Every painting that I dio doesn't matter the style of brushwork I'm going for. That principle is the same. So if you look at, like, this shape of light, it's kind of maybe a shape like this, right? Very simple shape. But I'll just go for it like that now sometimes, Actually, most of the time I don't use the lasso tool just because nothing looks more digital than the pixel Perfect edge of a selection. But what? I'll do it. Let me just let me just paint this out for a second. Okay? So what I've got here, I've essentially killed all the expressive part of the painting and just brought it down to its basic basic shape. This again, I've changed the flavor. All of a sudden. This part looks like it's part of a different paintings. It doesn't have all of this cool, scribbling brushwork in it. So what I'll do is I will ask myself, Okay, On a fundamental level, I know that there's gonna be light here, but instead of like just randomly aimlessly painting like this or maybe relying on like some cool brushes, I haven't like just painting with cool brushes. That's not such a cool brush. Let me pick a different cool brush like this one like Oh, well, it was cool brush. But see, what I'm doing now is making a mess. This is not brushwork. Well, it is brushwork, but it's bad brushwork, and it's bad because I'm forgetting the fundamentals. So what I will dio is usually, Ah, favor of Rush. That's pretty boring. Like this is my chalky brush that you all will receive with this video. Just it's a basic, chalky, flat brush, but what I love about it is it's very controllable. So what I'll begin to Dio is I will begin to find the design of this foreground with shapes , and I have a particular propensity or liking to angular shapes. I find just you'll find a lot of angular shapes in my work. I don't know why that is. It's just me. I'm comfortable drawing them. Aiken does I find that I can design them with greater success than maybe more round shapes , but that's completely my own thing. Like you might be the opposite. You might like swirly shapes that's completely up to you, but anyway, what I'll do is I will just start putting down these shapes and then I'll say, you know, maybe what I'll do is I'll grab an airbrush that I want. I want a bit more light but I got to be careful, cause an airbrush is a great way of screaming digital. So I'll do this in a light in this area up. But now we'll say Okay, well, now I want to get some design back in there so I will chop outta shape, maybe like this, and see what I'm trying to do. If I selected it again, I'm trying to make a shape that is designed like this. This is what's going on in my head behind the scenes. If that's the shape and then knowing that I'm free to use as many brushstrokes is I want to get to that shape so you can make just like scribbling. You could make multiple strokes to get to one shape, and in those multiple strokes you're allowing for, like, accidents and unintended marks to go down. And that is now in the Rome of abstract expression. And the nature of being expressive is actually ignoring the computers desire to make everything perfect 3. Brushwork and edges: Now let's talk about how we confined brushwork in edges. Here's that shape I made in the last section, and what I want to do now is explore brushwork within this shape but using edges. And I hope you'll remember from my YouTube video from Episode three that an edge lies around every little transition in your painting. So even in this basic painting, I did hear there are edges around every little blob. There are edges around every little mark in here that I have yet to explore. I just kind of left them with my basic lay in. Now, that's fine. You could do that. But I'm also going to show you now this next level of exploring brushwork with edges. Now I'll just bring the toolbar. And just to show you I love the smudge tool. I love it because it reminds me of traditional paint. It feels less like a stamp. This much tool is a great way to get away from that. Now, the semester was also a great way to make a mess. I don't think this is better than this. I actually think the opposite. I think this is better than it has more intention to it. But what happens if I say I'm gonna take some of these marks here? I'm gonna see if I could maybe soften the edge of that, maybe soften this side of this. Maybe, You know, maybe if I, you know, go in there and just be very subtle about it. But what if I introduce some level of softness in this? What happens if I soften part of the shape itself? Like the silhouette? This is where it gets really powerful, making one part of this shape softer completely than another one. Maybe I will get out of this much tool and try a mixer brush, which is very similar to this Musial, actually. And let's see if I can alter the entire edge of this shape and have it, like, lose itself into the background. Maybe carry that through up here a bit again. I don't want to lose the identity of this shape, though. I don't want to lose its design. I'm switching to a regular Arab rush now. I'm just trying to maybe lose this edge a bit. Now I'm switching to a more oily brush, okay? And then maybe I'll work within the shape again, adding some softness that switch back to the smudge tool. I switched around my tools a lot because for two reasons one, it gives me the opportunity to make different kinds of marks, which adds to variety, which, as you know, from Episode three varieties what makes things interesting. And secondly, switching tools back and forth like this keeps things fun and fresh for me during the painting, you can see how interesting this little shape this single shape on a canvas can become with with edges now. And I don't even have to tell you in a painting you were, you have thousands of shapes. You can really see the potential for expression. You can also see the potential to spend a long time on this part of the process, and I often do this process of sculpting my brush Work with edges is how I get away with a lot of these wild color shifts. Like if you look at these colors here, we're going from orange to blue, like the two green. There's so many colors in here, right, but you'll notice all those edges are intentionally done, like I didn't arrive at them by accident. There's no it's not like a special brush I'm using. In fact, what I'm mainly using is the smudge tool and here my preferred smudge tool settings here on the screen. And if you've never played with Smudge Tool before, basically this much told looks like this. It puts down the stroke heavy at first, then tapers off just like oil paint or something. So I'll actually paint with it, and I'll sculpt the edge with the brush stroke. That's how I can still do this and move relatively quickly. It's not like I'm putting down the brush stroke like this, and then go into the smudge tool in sculpting the edge that would be tedious and that I could not do that. I do it in one fell swoop with the smudge tool. Now, one quick tip on wild color swings like this because I get asked a lot about it. When you're doing stuff like this, watch as I switch to gray scale. Look at the castle where all those color ships were. You can see in a value level. It's basically the same value. I mean, there are very small shifts in there, but it's like the shape we did over here. It's one overall shape with subtle changes. Okay, so on a value level, it really holds its shape. Then when you go to color, as long as you're keeping the value the same or similar, you can really play with color. So try not toe have color and value shifts, because then you're breaking the fundamentals. If you do like if you did this, this is no good because I'm breaking the laws of value. And again, this video is not about values. So I'm not gonna get too much into it. Or maybe if I, you know, try this. This is too dark. It's not gonna work. These color ships won't work because the values air off. If your values air good, you can now play with brushwork. So in this case, if I can just keep these values very similar because it's one object, so there's no reason to change the value that much. I can play with all kinds of color, and I'll use my edge is done with my trusty smudge tool to make sure that I am sculpting them in rather than say, doing this. Like if I made color, all with same hard edge. I'm I'm now doing a bad job as well because I'm drawing too much attention to it. I mean, that's actually kind of cool, but it doesn't look. It looks, too. It's, It's too self important. It's drawing too much attention to itself. So you use edges to let these areas sit in. And those blue strokes I just made, they can work. I just got to adjust the edge toe, let them sit and adjusting those edges, finding varieties of edge. That's brushwork, okay, and it's all taste. It's all up to me and my visual aesthetics. I will be different from you. We all are our own people. And again I said this earlier. But the nature of expression is individual. I'm just showing you I gotta look for it and where you can expect to use brushwork and maybe some ways you can go about accomplishing it. Just while we're on this painting, I just want to show you. If you look at these bushes here, you notice that it's still like to see the shape. It's an implied shape, getting back to ah, the lesson previous, even though I've completely kind of messed up that shape, it still is. There is evidence of that. The DNA of that shape is still there. If you look at this cloud in the background, you'll see that it's a kind of shaped like this. But look at the edge work here. It's really, really messy. But you see, it's a bit harder here, and then here it's completely soft and lost. Actually, it's hard here, soft here and then lost here. So it's like this triple stage of edges in one shape exactly like we were doing here. This is how I apply it. But then there were areas where I'm completely going off the rails, abstract like if you look at the leaves of the tree, those are just dots there. Circles they're not leaves it all. But there are times in painting where you can actually go completely abstract. You could be Jackson Pollock. Let's flip back to the Richard Schmidt painting, and you'd be amazed at how much of this painting is abstract if I just took out the head of the hands and the sleeve that connects them. All of what remains is abstract painting pure brushwork like I showed you in my green monster painting. All you have to do is dial up the resolution where the focal point is and our brain will almost use that as a compass to guide us through and give meaning to all of those abstract areas. And in those abstract areas, you can be a five year old and basically do whatever you want. Okay? So just to take a quick tally, we've been finding brushwork being expressed in three major areas inside shapes across edges and overall, in abstract versus resolved areas in a painting. 4. Painting breakdown: Here's a quick sketch where I exploited all three of those areas for expressive brushwork. Let's start by identifying some of the basic shapes. There's the foreground bush that looks like 1/2 a pair or something. The background foliage, which is very simple, shaped like this. And then it closes off, down, lips closed off down here. And then, of course, that is broken into light and shadow. The light shape kind of looks something like this. It's a bit more complex, but still, hopefully very simply designed those air, all light values. And then, of course, the rest in this area is shadow. Okay, shapes there, and then we have a very simple rectangular shape of lights cutting across the water and then leaving behind two very rectangular shapes of darks on the water. Let's start with this foreground bush. This half pear shape. I point it out. So this is the shape, and I want to point out right away that to fill in that shape, it isn't just one brush doing this. There is a whole smattering of brushes in there. Now I'm going to get into Photoshopped brushes and the collection I have, and suggestions on brushes in this video. Don't worry, it's just gonna be after this section. But for now, I just want you to note that there I'm using different brushes to fill in these shapes. You can see evidence of like the round brush here, you can see like these round brush strokes you can see in this area. There's a very spattering brush you can see right here different kinds of spatters. So that's the first area where I'm finding brushwork is how I'm filling in the shapes is not just one boring brush that does this instead of attacking that shape with various brushes in hopes to drive that expression. And of course, you can apply that exact same aesthetic to the background here and everywhere else, really constantly switching my tools in search of expression. Okay, let's go back to that same half pear shape and this time notice how it's broken up by all of these little leaves that extend beyond the shape and also like little bits of nega shape that cut in. But the implied shape is still there. All of these little breakup, which I did with actually this brush. It's this pencil brush I have. I would just, you know, take a color and draw in these shapes and try and arrange them in a pleasing way, a non repetitive way that adds to the expressive brushwork of that area. Now he noticed that there's a very different method of breaking up this bush. Even though this is tree and this is tree, it's very different. You notice in this area. I'm not doing this. I'm breaking it up with EJ. So here's the implied shape that I pointed out a moment ago, something like this. And then I'm breaking that shape with edges. It's a bit harder right there, very soft right there. It comes down to a little bit harder. They're very hard in that one little area and then very soft. Here it plays lost and found with you. And then you can apply that same theory to this part and same thing with this light shape that I'm retracing for you. How this light turns into shadow. That's the overall lightship that I had in my head when I painted to keep this statement simple. And then, you know, you can see all kinds of it's it's messy, but messes good like you want messy. If you're looking for this kind of painter, the expression you don't want bad shapes, though. Don't confuse brushwork with a license to ignore good shape design. OK, now let's look at these ducks That kind of make the focal point of this painting. You notice that nowhere in there is a single rendered duck. They are all abstract. I'm actually using the idea of resolution versus abstract on a micro level. So you look at like this duck and let me zoom in a little bit on him. You notice that he's got an overall shape, which is kind of like this. There's an overall shape there that's very simple again. That's always the first thing shape. That's fundamental shapes, always there. But within that, I'm using areas of resolution versus abstraction to tell you that it's a duck. The resolution. It's not very resolved, but the head. The head is the most resolved piece of that duck, and then the body is full of soft edges. Again, the shape is still there, suggested there, but it's broken up with smudge tool. I've really, really you can actually count the brush strokes. I tried to be very minimal with the amount of strokes I used on that. So what I did when I painted that was I laid in the basic shape of the duck kind of this triangular shape with with the head kind of being like that, actually, then I may have used the mixer brush tool and just kind of hit it with just a few strokes. Something like this. Maybe I would have got back to this much tool. Well, I'm already using maybe two mini stroke or something like that. Then I would have broken up the neck still keeping this shape. But, you know, try and get some more interesting edges there. There was a bit of a shadow under the wing, which I painted with E smudge Tool, something like this. And then all I did for the head was I drew a more resolved shape with no brushwork tricks, just kind of a triangle. And then, um, you know, the the blue part of the head was just like a circle. And then the beak just a triangle. So by keeping by keeping this part of the duck less brushwork e and mawr honest, I guess I had room to them. Play with abstraction there, and that is how I got those ducks to read. So if you look at the rest of the peace, I'm pulling the same trick with all all the ducks like that's the same thing. There's ahead that we can clearly read is a duck head, even though it's still pretty abstract. But it's more resolved than this. And that means that when I get Teoh when I get to this area, I can be really abstract with it. Then there are areas like this duck here. This stuff doesn't even have a head like, Where's the head? It's not there, but you don't care, because I've given you to duck heads there. I just don't need to show you another one. Your brain gets it. This duck is interesting because I abstract ified. Is that a word? I have stratified that duck's head even a little more with some blur, probably just more smudge tool there. And this duck, If you know if the cool effect is that appears to be in motion, look at there's ah, whole scattering of senseless shapes that are just random, random shapes that mean nothing. They're not ducks at all, but in context, you don't really see them at all. But you do feel them. They add to this chaotic sense of ducks flapping their wings. They also make it look like I had fun painting this, which I did. So I'll close on that point. That raw emotions like having fun is a valid reason to put a brush stroke on the canvas. Justus, valid as rendering form and speaking of emotional responses that will lead us nicely into the next section. 5. Digital brushes: Okay, so I wouldn't blame you if you're wondering, this is a digital brushwork video. How have we not talked about digital brushes yet? Well, this is the section where we will finally do that. But I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but the brushes air, not what I consider important at all. They're just tools. Or if you've watched my YouTube video episode three of my 10 minutes to better painting, you know that I think of brushes as, like potential for music notes s o What I have here on the bottom right is a list of brushes. By the way, this plug in is called brush box. You can buy it for I think it's $7. I highly recommend it. Too much superior way of organizing your brushes that you can put him into categories like this and they will have nice, neat little graphics. So I've got a bunch of brushes here. I have had too many brushes. I have no idea what half these brushes dio, but what these brushes are to me are keys on a piano that I can play to create music. No one brush is the magic bullet. There's no best brush. There's not even a such thing as a good or a bad brush. They're all just music notes, just like there's no good or bad music note. It's how you combine them. So what I'm going to show you in this section is an exercise that you can do, you know, to get your creative juices going in the morning just in exercise of brushwork. So to do it start a new canvas and I'm just gonna fill it with a kind of neutral gray color . And to me, what this exercise is sticking with the music analogy is I'm just gonna play some notes at random, combining them on the canvas and just to hear the kind of music that I can make with whatever brush sets I have. There's no rhyme or reason to this. You just pick up a brush, put something down randomly, maybe change the color, and then move on to the next one, pick another brush and do the same thing. So I'm just gonna talk to you about you know, what I look for in brushes. The main thing I'm looking for is variety of marks, so you can see what this brushes is more of. Ah, it's a rake. Brush makes thes like ray keystrokes at a very directional. Of course, like in any time I go back into my smudge tool and start smudging things around, exploring edges. So what brushes are They are potential for different kinds of varieties of mark making different music notes that when combined, form something interesting. But that's exactly the idea You have to combine them once again. There's no such thing as as a good brush that is going to give you a good painting. It's if you use the same brush on a painting like all the way through. It's almost like you're playing a song with just one note like It won't be a nice piece of music if you did that. So what this exercises is I am playing in this abstract sandbox and just seeing what these brushes do together, what how they play together. I have these cool brushes, these air half tones. There, these air from Kyle brush dot com. A lot of my brushes are actually from purchase from Kyle brush dot com. He just makes great brushes, is that this is his half tone kit. It makes these really cool patterns, and there's so many brushes. They're great for textures. And if you remember that, the horror painting I did the haunted house painting, I used a lot of these brushes on the wall just to get those weird marks on the wall. You can see as I play with these. It's modify its creating all kinds of shapes. It's modifying edges and interesting ways. And that's another thing I look for in brushes is not only the shape they make. It's actually Mawr. So I care more so about the edge they make. Like this brush has a very disheveled edge for lack of better word. This would be a very nice brush if I were painting, you know, any kind of soft edge that I wanted Teoh like if you remember the trees from the duck painting, I believe it was this brush that I used for those trees or for at least part of them. And then maybe I switched to another brush. But of course, See, see what I'm doing here. This these brush strokes I put down, I'm looking at that and they like out of it. They're looking a little hard like they look like they don't quite belong to me. So I'm gonna get this much tool and maybe I'll get out a different color with this much tool. And let's see if I can, you know, smudge the men and make them play with their neighbors a little bit. You know what this exercise reminds me of? Have any of you guys ever seen an orchestra or ever heard an orchestra warming up? You know, when you go to a concert and you know, they haven't started playing yet and you hear that beautiful sound of all those instruments playing together, but not actually not playing together on purpose. They're just playing separately, but all in the same room, like testing their instruments, whatever. That's what this reminds me of. I'm not trying to create anything that resembles art. I'm not an artist right now. I am simply a an experimenter and putting down these random strokes. Let's let's go into my scatter brush is scattered brushes air really cool because they break up. They're really good at infiltrating other shapes. And I use that word er in an earlier lesson in this video, you know you could like, Let's say, a sample, this orange color and I spatter it. It's like that orange color I'm I've all of a sudden made all these really interesting soft edges with this scatter brush, and that's really cool. It's a great way of modifying an edge. Now. I can go in and create a soft edge with this with this smudge tool, which is, actually, you know, softer, a different way of creating a soft edge, I should say, Put some of those in here and emerge this orange into this green. See what I'm doing here. I'm being like, Ah bonified abstract painter. I don't care about drawing. I'm not trying to draw anything. That's a weird brush. I don't like that. That's everything you'll find brushes you like and you don't like. And like I said, look at all the brushes I have. I have not used all these. I have no idea what this brush does. That's cool. OK, well, that might be useful for something I don't know right now. It's a bit, you know, put a few marks down and see what it does. Yes, this one looks cool. By the way. I get these brushes from other artists videos like just like you. I I purchased videos from other artists, and I believe this one is from Aiden's on Aziz Gum Road. I bought one of his gun, Rose, and I believe this is where I got this set from, and there's so many brushes in it that I haven't actually played with it, so I'm actually using this. This recording right now is a way of getting into this brush set and seeing what it does. And this is what I do. By the way. I'm not just doing this for you guys right now. I'm I do this on my own. I used to do it a lot. Actually, I did. It is kind of a warm up in the morning. I would just kind of make these little campuses. They take 10 minutes, you know, 10 to 15 minutes. Just go in and be a child for 10 minutes in the morning while you sip on your coffee and just make a mess. That this This is a really cool brush. I got to use this one. I've never really seen this one. Actually, what I'm using is It's actually I'm realizing it's the smudge tool Look that I'm exploring and discovering Live with you guys right now. This is the smudge tool with this brush that I got from 18. Zana's kit. Cool. I really like this. I didn't know this existed. I will now look for an opportunity to use it in the painting and the cool thing about brush boxes. I can move this. I can move this around. So let me go find that brush. It was this one. I could drag this down into my favorite box and close this down. Yeah. 6. Digital brushes continued: clothes a few of these folders down so I can actually see it. Okay, so just drag this right into my favorites. And there it is. Now I I know it's there. That's the beauty of brush box. It's It's so cool. The brushes I shared with you guys with purchase of this video are my favorites. Thes airbrush is that I've made or brushes that I've modified from photo shops presets. So they're free. I apologize. I mean, obviously, I would like to share my whole thing with you, but I purchased these myself, and it would be illegal for me to share them and not to mention completely disrespectful to the artists who made them. I'm sure my brushes air, not the first brushes you've obtained as you collect brushes from other artists, categorize them, do these experiments like I'm doing right now and then just write down or used brush box to organize your favorites brush kit. And that's largely what I do. So I find that when I work on my paintings from a day on a daily basis, I largely use the same kind of selections of brushes like I certainly don't use all these hundreds of brushes. That's why I have a favorites box. These are my favorite brushes, and I use them every day, extra brushes or like my second favorites. Obviously, I have a scatter category, and if I'm feeling experimental like I am today, I'll dive into the this randomness. No birds like this. I can paint and paint burns. That's the other thing. I really don't like Photoshopped Russia's that look like things like that. Bird brushes cool, but I would never want a Photoshopped brush that, like looked like a cliff or something. That, to me, is kind of defeats the purpose of painting like you want to define like it's when you paint a cliff. It's not just as we've been exploring, it's not just the cliff you're panting, it's the brushwork that's going down. And if you know you're watching this video, I'm assuming you're interested in being able to create this charismatic kind of brushwork. And this kind of abstract practice will really help you get over the digital look that's so easily can infect your painting and what's cool. I'm still in this much tool. All of these brushes that I have can be applied to this much to a lot of people. Don't know that your smudge tool can be just like the brush tool. You can give it different shapes. It doesn't have to be by default. It's the round brush like if you've never used photo shop, Smudge tool by default will be around brush, and that's not very interesting. I don't like the smudge tool as a round brush, but give it another shape, like here's a triangular smudge. To look at that, that's crazy. Now you notice there's potential for me to really Wrexham Nice brushwork by too much uniformity as I apply this, it's too uniform. I'm I feel like this is I've making my canvas less interesting. So I'm gonna undo and maybe find ways to use this effect a little more judiciously and maybe more tastefully and again going back to the orchestra thing. Look at how many music notes are happening. It's for me. I mean, I'm my first art was actually music, so I I think a lot in these terms, but I can almost hear an orchestra warming up when I look at this and that's really cool. You know, for those of you who are more visual. I mean, obviously I'm visual, too, but just look at the variety. Look how interesting this variety is. I feel like I lost a lot of my half tone, brushes those patterns when we go back in and maybe see if I can. Maybe finding a get a brush that that looks kind of cooler. This is cool. This is another way of making edges with patterns and textures like this. So let's see if I can show you an area. OK, so actually, watch the watch this. I'll make a pretty hard stroke like See this right here. Let's make a pretty hard stroke of red with the pretty hard edge. Okay, so now what I'll do to soften that I go back to my half tone brushes and select this green and see if I can infiltrate the red. We undo that, find the but there we go. I'm making a soft edge with a brush. Then I'll select some of the red and switch my brush and switch tools a lot and maybe switch it again, and this is really cool. So I'm softening edges with texture now, and this abstract Lee is where you can really play with a lot of this visual language. I'm really enjoying this. Ah pattern e brush right now, but again, doing it all over the place will create uniformity and boredom. So this is a great way to understand how do maintain will create and maintain variety on a canvas? This brush makes an interesting shape again. This is one of those brushes you can really overdue. Speaking of like over doing, I see a lot of visual painters who I talked about this before. They mistake brushwork for just randomness so they'll take a brush like this and we'll start painting like that. What this is, though, is an uncontrolled mess. It's not expressive because it's not controlled. I feel like what I'm doing on this abstract canvas, even though it literally is a mess that I'm making a mess on purpose. There is some degree of sculpting going on. I'm trying to use the brush is that I have my disposal to create something that looks appealing like my goal is still to create something that looks interesting. It's not. I don't think it's art. I mean, maybe it is, but I'm certainly not trying to create a painting that I want to show anyone. What I'm trying to do is just understand what kind of marks Aiken dio remember in the ducks in the pond painting where I was saying how you have a shape like, let's say you have a shape like this, right? And then what you could do is instead of filling that shape with one brush like this, fill it with many brushes. So start with the brush like that and then switch to a brush like this and then switched to change my color a bit, switched to another brush and you feel the shape with different brushes. Now I'm doing it very literally here. I don't I don't usually think this literally. Oh, do it a little more quickly than this in real life, but this is what I mean. You know, you can take a shape and and fill it with different kinds of strokes. All of those different marks that are in that shape constitute the brushwork. Again, we explored this finding brushwork inside of shapes, right? And then what? I can dio That's a very hard shape. See how digital that edge looks around it. See how digital this edge looks that I've just made because it was a perfect digital selection. Well, now, well, notice how it doesn't really fit with my brushwork. Like, there's something about that shape that really stands out too much to me anyway. So what I'm gonna dio is I will take my smudge tool with Why not go back to my new favorite brush here and I'll see if I can actually get that edge to get that shape rather to play nicely with the surrounding strokes by modifying the edge. And this is this is so fun because I'm not under the duress of having to draw. Drawing is hard. Like drawing is what is where painting is the hardest. I think I don't think there are many natural draftsman in the world. Most of us struggle, withdrawing myself included, like Aiken draw Well, I just need time. Whereas this abstract canvases beautiful, because I don't have to draw anything. I could just make strokes. I mean, I wish I was an abstract painter. I'm having fun here, and I'm having fun experimenting right now with the the edges of that shape. I've kind of lost a shape a bit, but I don't care if this is an abstract canvas. I haven't used the mixer brush tool lately. Let's pick a mixer brush and put down some strokes. I said this in my episode three of my 10 minutes to better painting, I find that soft edges the realm of soft edges are the best areas for expression because within softness, their infinite levels of softness, whereas with with a hard edge there's less to do with the hard edge. There's less you can do so as you know from the lesson. Hard edges air extremely useful, right? You need hard edges in your painting or else you're painting will be appear fuzzy and out of focus. But most of your painting. If you're doing a painterly painting, I really believe that most your painting will be dealing with soft edges. And as you can see from this canvas, this campus is mostly soft edges like 95% soft, and you can see how expressive they are and how varied they are and how many ways you can make them. So let's let's actually put a few hard edges in there. I'll grab a brush This is kind of a bristly oil brush that I have. Let's see if I can maybe pick some colors that are already down there and harden up some of these edges just in spots. I'm not gonna. I'll just create some shapes that have harder edges, like some squares of blue. Here. Maybe let's harden up this shape here. You notice as I do that. Just just look for what it's doing to the music. Just look for visually what appeals to you. And I guess at the end of the day, that's what's really important. Right is what appeals to you and what appeals to you is going to be dictated by largely by your personality, also by your influences. And both of those things will be unique from individual to individual. So you have to do this yourself. You can't just watch me do it. Like if a friend of mine tells me about how her trip to the Arctic radically influenced her life, I can't say that I have now been to the Arctic and had my life radically influenced. I'd have to go experience that myself and add it to my own list of life experiences, and somehow painting taps into that. The way we paint is a mirror of our personalities. So this exercise is a great way for you to kind of just dive within your own self in a visual way, anyway. I mean, I'm not trying to sound too profound here, but it's a way to kind of see what appeals to you and see what kind of brushwork can potentially mesh with your own personality. And I'm really enjoying the look of this abstract piece of painting, and I don't know if anyone's been keeping track. But how many brushes do you think I've used in this demo like I must be up near, You know, 50 or 60 times that I've changed my brush, and that is something I've poured it over into my actual painting process. I changed my brush all the time, and this little abstract demo hopefully shows you why. Because that is where you add different notes. You create different textures, different patterns, different marks and all that builds into interest in your painting, and interest goes two ways. The viewer finds it interesting, but also you is the painter will find it interesting as you paint. I think that's kind of a goal that goes understated a lot. When you paint, you have to design your workflow, so it's fun for you. If you're ever bored painting, chances are the workflow you're using is not right for you. You should not be bored when you pay. Otherwise, why do it? I'm the opposite of board. As I do this cool little abstract study, which I'm nearing the end of right now. Let's just play with a few more of these scattering brushes. He knows what I'm doing now. I find I'm I'm doing less random work, and I'm almost trying to find ways of like, right now I'm trying to modify these brown edges with this triangle scatter brush, just trying to see what I can do to make this area interesting. I'm not trying to paint anything. I'm just trying to modify an edge with this weird scatter brush. Maybe I'll go back to my smudge tool and modify it again in a different way. Maybe do the Lion Decker thing where I draw Cem hatched strokes and just going to speed up the video just a bit to end off this round of experimentation and the last thing I'm doing is experimenting with some pencil strokes. I realized that most of my canvas was these big, broad brush strokes. Let's see what happens if you put some more finer lines on it. This actually comes from Drew Struse Ins aesthetic a lot. He uses a lot of airbrushing his work but combined with hard colored pencil and the difference between those two things that hard and soft is really, really interesting to me, so worth experimenting with. Speaking of comparisons of hard versus soft, I just took a cropping of this. One thing you could do is start playing with photo shops filters. Now, I don't recommend doing this often because it can lead to an overly digital look, which is, of course, what we want to avoid. But a little bit could be fun. Try seeing what happens if we go toe filter, sharpen sharpened more. You can see what it doesn't even do it again. It really starts bringing out incidental bits of noise that actually in parts, can be quite appealing Now. I overdid it here, and one thing I often do is back off with the fade so you know, you can fade it back to zero, but let me undo a few times. This is the regular version. You can also do it with shapes. You know, make a selection like this and then sharpened more in that selection And let photo shops algorithm actually give you a jump start in comparing hard versus soft. Another thing I love to do Let's make a selection again. Something like this. Maybe it doesn't really matter. Go into filter, blur, lens blur. This is the lens blur box. And actually I should show you my settings. Sorry they didn't get captured in the same window. I like noise to be turned on. I have it sent to two and then I'm adjusting this radius. So let me go back to the picture. So the more I just the radius, the more blurry it gets. I like to use just a little bit, maybe something like that. And with the noise set to about two and then what you do, bring my brushes back. Just work into this bringing back now some harder brushstrokes over top of this digitally softened a bit of painting. It's actually really, really aesthetically pleasing At least I find it to be a really aesthetically pleasing look of hard versus soft. Maybe play with some scattered brushes on there. I'll try the same thing to this section will make a selection. Just go upto lens blur. Maybe do it twice. I'll double lens, blur it. Then I'll try and go back in with like, a pencil and maybe bring back some of these circle shapes that I lost but play with. Maybe I do something more dramatic. So it appears on video. Better play with this section of hard versus soft and bring back this much, too, because now even the smudge tool looks harder. That so It was so digitally blurred that even the smudge tool, which is a very soft Tulloch's, you know, can still look harder over top of this. And this is I really enjoy doing this. It's a bit of Ah, I don't know. I don't like the word cheat cause it's not a cheap. This is. This is the digital medium. It's not cheating. It's part of painting as long as you control it. It's so easy to be uncontrolled that this stuff and, you know, again these abstract exercises are what you used to practice that control, but I really find these bits of hard versus soft interesting. I don't know if it quite shows up perfectly because I'll be compressing this video for Internet distribution, but definitely try it yourself. If you go to my YouTube channel right now, you can actually find a video of me painting this from start to finish. And there are sections where I use that exact technique. I'll zoom in a little bit. You can see how this dino, both of the dinosaur heads they play with hard and soft. You can see the top of the head is very soft, Um, and that's a digital blur right in this section. I made a selection with some soft edges and blurt it and then painted back into it so you can see the skull goes in and out of hard and soft. The body also the same thing. It gets soft right there and harder here. There's a lot of intricate work being done in that way. I especially liked this head here. You can see again, same kind of thing. I pushed the far edges of the head like that the edges that are furthest away from us, the viewer to be softer, kind of exaggerating, like just like a atmospheric effect. And then the things up closer harder. So I consider that brushwork, even though I'm using photo shops filters now again. I don't use them a lot, but I do use them in parts just for effect. The rest of this painting is pretty much all done with brushes, but just in a few key areas, the Photoshopped filters could be nice to use and to close out this whole lesson on brushwork. Let's do one more painting where I incorporate all of what we've learned so far. 7. Bringing it all together: Okay, let's bring everything together. Everything we've learned by doing a little portrait sketch of none other than Mr George R R Martin of Game of Thrones. Obviously. So I started a new canvas, and I'm basically going to start with what I did in the last section with my brush exploration. But all I'm going to do is also now apply shapes which you remember from my YouTube lesson . Um, I'm and when I say shapes, I mean drawing everything to do with drawing. That includes so many things like figure drawing, experience, anatomy, knowledge, light and shadow, all these things that are different subjects than brushwork. I'm applying all that member of the beginning. I said, This video is not about those things. I'm applying all of those things, those fundamentals, but also now using brushwork to drive them. So look at that. There's that brush I discovered in the last section using it already. This is the first official painting I'm using it on. So that's cool. And look at the you know where this is that now, Even though I just said I'm going to try drawing and stuff, I'm still approaching it from an abstract point of view first, and my approach to getting good brushwork, especially in a digital painting, is to you. I'm gonna steal from Richard Schmidt. You have to remind the painting who's boss? You're the boss. You have to abuse that canvas a little bit with some brushwork, just like we did in the last section. And don't get scared that all of a sudden you're now drawing something really like a like a portrait. Still approach it with this kind of devil may care attitude. And then all you got to dio is find the areas where you have to ratchet down. And, like I said in the other section, give the viewer more resolution. So right at what I'm doing now, you notice have slowed down a bit, and I'm actually trying to draw some shapes of light. That's the those blues are the lights that's hitting the side of his face. I'm actually changing the colors a little bit here, too, by the way, just because I like doing that. So here's the smudge tool. Actually, sorry it's the mixer brush tool and just like in the last section that this should not be a mystery to you guys now, after having seen Part five, because all I'm doing is that same sense of exploration. But again, I'm adding shapes. So sometimes I will be like if you look at the shadow under his hat, that's a very solid shape, right? So I will define that shape. And then I will do the thing where I just use different brushes within that shape to give it some kind of expression, right? I don't mean facial expression. I mean, expressiveness is a better word. And then I will evaluate always, just like I do in a larger painting. What needs to be defined and resolved and what can stay abstract just like the ducks. Remember the ducks in the pond, you know? Think of the duck heads. What parts of this painting need to be treated like those duck heads? You know, what do I need to show you more literally? And then when I do that, what benefits does that confer to me? The painter, to give me leeway to show you something completely abstract. So just as a hint, I think that the beard can be very abstract. I mean, it's almost abstract in the photograph and just to remind you what that does, you know, keeping some areas abstract in some areas. More resolved is it just generates variety and then that generates interest. And then within that variety, we employ our brushwork, all the tools, all the brushes. We have this much tool, whatever you can get your hands on. You employ all of that to make a personal statement. Your brushwork is where your personality comes through. I think I said that in my YouTube video. Everyone's brushwork will be different, and that's why it's very instructive to look at different artists. I mean, don't just look at my stuff. I'm sure you're not. I'm sure you're looking at tons of artists, but I love looking at all kinds of different artists to see where and how they allow their personality to come through. It's actually one of my favorite things to do. When I look at art now, A used to be like I would just want to look at a pretty picture and I still like that. But now it's more like how clever is this artist? How is he or she know, bringing his or her personality out? I love looking at that stuff. So you know, what I'm doing in this video is I'm just giving you some solutions. I'm kind of giving you something to propel you forward. By no means am I should have I shown you everything. I mean, I am still exploring myself, and I know this is true because I could just look at my paintings from four years ago versus this one, and I see a difference. It's a little bit of a skill difference. I mean, you're always gonna be growing in skill, but it's mostly an expressive difference, like a freedom of expression and also what it is you want to express. I mean, if you're watching this and you're really young, you might not actually know what it is you want to express. I mean, I didn't I'm 35 right now. It probably wasn't until I was roughly 30 years old, where I knew I had a sense of faith in what it is I had to express to the world. And that is that was just the incipient stages of it. It's still growing, and I hope that it will keep growing for the rest of my life. That's why art is such a cool journey. It's something that grows with you. So anyway, you look at the portrait now, and you can start to see a lot of shapes coming together like a little jigsaw puzzle. That's again that goes back to drawing, which I'm not talking about in this video. But there's a lot of shapes that I'm pulling together. And the challenge here is what is that balance between abstract brushwork versus defined shapes, and then even within those defined shapes? How far can I soften those edges and therefore apply in all these crazy brushstrokes? How far can I go with that? Versus what needs to be hard in this painting? I admit I kind of handpicked the subject because it allows for a lot of readily available options for abstraction. I mean, it's much more difficult to do this when you're painting like a pretty woman. It's still very possible, but it it causes you to think a little more, Whereas George R. R. Martin, he might as well just being abstract person anyway, I love him, but I mean, it's just fun to paint him. It's like shooting fish in a barrel So anyway, that's what I'm doing here. Applying some of the round brush actually didn't use this brush in my exploration. This is the round brush with what edges turned on its in my brush set that you guys have. There's just something so basic and I don't know, honest about the round brush that I really enjoy. So I do use the round brush quite a bit. Here's a bit of a pencil brush, which you guys know from the last demo for some of the pattern in his shirt, actually have a bit of trouble with this area is I start treating it abstractly. You can see it's very sketchy and messy. Then later, I realized maybe that wasn't the best area to do that with. Anyway. What I'm doing here is that lens blur approach, adjusting it to taste, and you see a little bit here to see him completely kind of destroying some of my painterly work. But it's all in effort to now go back over it and add that hard and soft. So again, I'm trying to apply all of the lessons and theories that I've explained to you guys throughout this video to this painting, and I just show you how you can bring it all together in a cohesive piece. And at this point, you know, you step back and look at the painting and it's looking fun. You know, I show it. I show the paintings to my wife sometimes when I'm working on them just to see how she's responding or you know how someone else's responding. I like playing air painting a lot for that painting outdoors because you get a lot of honest reactions from passers by just to see if you're painting works. That's very important because as you're creating this abstract mess of brushwork, it's very easy to get a little indulgent and forget that you actually you know what? The end of the day you're you're trying to paint something we're not. We're not all abstract artists here, so it's that balance that I love searching for ever. In every painting ideo every painting is the same. I will never do oh fully rendered painting from top to bottom, cause it just does not interest me. So all my paintings, to some degree, are like this. Now this one is particularly abstract and again that's mostly for this video's demonstration, flipping the canvas a bit noticing. I'm slightly off in my drawing. I'll fix that a little bit. Anyway, this one is maybe a little more abstract. Or maybe it's just a little more sketchy. When I sketch, I tend to focus more on the abstract, whereas if I would do a finished piece, you could just If you look at the finished pieces on my website or even some of them that I've shown you in this video, I still have obviously this sense of exploration and abstraction. But it's mawr areas air tightened up. That's kind of a difference between a sketch of mine versus a finished painting. The finished paintings are a little more tightly balanced, I guess, whereas a sketch I allow to venture my I allow myself to venture into these kind of areas of painting a little bit more freely. Just cause it's sketches quicker and in my opinion should be a little more fun and, you know, to move fast, you have to loosen up. I actually have two great discipline to get into is teaching yourself to loosen up because that's really where ah lot of this bravery comes from is being loose. A lot of people spend too much time trying to tighten up right from the start, and it just kills your painting before it even has a chance to survive. Also, I'm not showing you my layers. I haven't shown you any layers in any video so far because I don't use layers just all in one layer. I find from a technical standpoint, it's best to work that way because Photoshopped doesn't slow down at all. I do use layers sometimes, like for a client. If I'm you know, if I really have to maybe revise something. I'll use layers for like a character. But on my personal work, it's all just one layer all the time again, unless I'm trying something super risky because you have Photoshopped just responds faster . All the paint is on one layer, so you're always dealing with just one canvas, which reminds me of traditional. I told you guys the beginning. I'm a traditional painter first, and you know we don't have layers in oil painting. So what we do, but not in the same way as you do in photo shop, some tightening down on some shapes here that this is the more, uh, boring part of the demonstration because I have all the fun stuff is in, and now it's mostly a time to find what needs to be tightened up. And what I find for process that means for me is getting a smaller brush and just kind of looking at micro compositions like little bits of the beard on just seeing just tryingto focus in on one section and ask myself like Does this little bit work like does it doesn't serve the whole painting, but then also by itself, does it work as if you know, if the viewer were to crop in on that one section of the beard? Is it interesting? I want every area of my painting to be interesting in and of itself, you know, which means having variety and that sense of exploration to it and different kinds of brushes and different marks. But also it can't each section can't vie for attention. Equally, they all have to serve the whole picture. So you notice the beard. I've actually toned down some of the beard versus from the photo. It's still very abstract, but you notice I haven't gone for like every hair, right? I have tried to use brushes in a more innovative way to imply that there's a beard there but without having to, you know, get myself bogged down and rendering little hairs because that would just bog down the painting. So as I work on smaller areas like this, I just want to speak a little more broadly. I really hope that this has helped you to understand that it's not about brushes. I think it's so easy to get caught up in the whole conversation about digital brushes. I know that I get asked reliably 45 times a month for people to, you know, ask me about my brushes and what kind of brushes I use. And I always answer, I'm you know, I'm plate. I always reply to people, But what I never say and I'll say it here. It's It's really not the right question to ask, And getting brushes is cool looking. My bride of tons of brushes. I love brushes, but what I'm hoping is I'm really I hoping to realign your thinking that brushes are what make the painting. It's not. It's brushes do not make a painting any more than a hammer makes a house. It's just a tool, and you can use any kind of to look that crazy brush I have like there's no right or wrong to it. And I hope that I'm helping a line you're thinking in that way. That's why I didn't spend any time on like digital brush creation. It's just not what's important. I really don't spend much time in the brush editor. I tend to buy or download a lot of brushes and then sort through them, using the methods I've shown you like even in this painting, I've even in this painting, I'm using brushes I've never used before or, you know, brushes in ways I've never used before. And it's all in the sense of exploration. And I think that's one of the reasons why I don't like the question. You know, Can I have your brushes or what brushes do you have? Do you use because there's an implication there that exploration is less important than just getting the brush? And, um, it's just I've just seen it crop up over and over and and I have, you know, I've been there myself it just after years of painting. This is what I've learned that that's not what's important. What's far more valuable and important is your own desire to explore, to waste time, potentially to fail, to make mistakes, but all the time, logging your journeys and learning from them. And then, you know, like I said, learning about your own personality and developing. Ah, visual look that's consistent with that. That speaks to who you are. These are all things that it would be silly to think that a brush could contain, um, brushes air, just just the tools. Now it's important to have a lot, not a lot of Russians, but it's important to have a selection of brushes. But if you're also if you're new to this, you don't have a whole lot of custom brushes. Don't worry. Photo shop has you covered or were never software you're using. Photo shop has tons of brushes just go through its brush list. Just because they come with software doesn't mean they're inferior in any way. In fact, a lot of my brushes in my favorites category are just modifications of Photoshopped favorites. You can go. I like the dry media Photoshopped stuff. I like the effects brushes. There's so many that just just go through them. And do these abstract campuses just spend, you know, five or 10 minutes on just doing a bunch of abstract canvases and then cultivating a brush list for yourself that is starting to give you what you like. Right now, that's just a simple airbrush. That's my multiply round brush again. You can see how have really slowed down here because the brushwork fun part of this painting is now over. There is not much more I could do on a brushwork level because I feel like it's all there. If I did any more abstract stuff, I kind of just be overloading it and taking away from the painting. So what I'm doing now is I'm trying desperately to find which areas will give me the most capital if I tightened them, maybe taking away some of the abstract brushwork and going into the more like Bouguereau like literal brushwork, the means to an end brushwork like if I just tightened up some areas, which areas do I need to tighten up because I'm desperate? I don't want to tighten any areas up But I know I that's not realistic. I have to tighten something. So that's what the end of a painting for me is. This process of slowing down thinking and maybe having just a little less fun as high. Tighten up what I need, Teoh. And here's the finish roughly 30 minutes sketch. And just before I go, I'd like to thank you once more for purchasing this video and for watching any of my videos that you've seen before. It's truly my hope that this lesson has a taught you something, but more importantly, be giving you the motivation to go out there and explore things for yourself and maybe the means and methods with which to do that. So thank you again and until next time, happy painting.