Three important rules for painting

Three important rules for Painting and digital painting. These rules apply to beginners and novice alike, they are simple but if you apply them correctly your painting, concept, and illustration will be awesome.

Digital and traditional painting contain similar rules, the only different is basically the tools and the application. Digital painting is probably 100 times easier than real oil paint for so many reason (just undo or saving as many versions as you want in digital is enough, in traditional you can go back there is no redo…so it’s difficult, very difficult.)

Soulmania: Do you have any good tips for how to go about painting in Photoshop?

Xia: Try to keep everything simple to begin with and focus on these three rules
1) Shapes (Composition, silhouette and/or correct drawing). Just practice a lot of drawing from life and from ref.

2) Values (Let just focus first on get the lighting correctly via monochromatic or achromatic, then you can apply some colors as you advance further in your illustration process. Trust me, this will work. For exercises and more tips on values go see -Values exercises study shade and -Colors VS Values tips and technique

3) Edges (Soft/Hard and lost) In real life most edges look soft because our eyes are constantly moving. An edge will only assume its sharpness if we specifically focus on it. Therefore, it is best to keep the edges soft in general unless you want to draw attention to a certain feature as is the case with the focal area.

The other situation in which to use a sharp edge is when you want to make a certain feature appear to advance. But, in general, avoid excessive use of hard edges because they work against the creation of realism. On the other hand, a painting totally devoid of hard edges tends to look uninteresting. So, the solution is to put in a few hard edges but not too many.

Then there are also lost edges. These edges are usually applied when two neighboring shapes have the same value.
The whole thing starts with a visible edge and when this edge enters an area of equal values it becomes invisible or gets lost. Further down, the edge reappears where the value start to divers again.
The eye has a natural tendency to fill in the lost edge. The use of lost edges is artistically very powerful and should be part of your repertoire of tricks. Allowing the colors of one form to work themselves into the neighboring planes of equal value is a delightful way to loosen up a painting and make it visually dynamic. Note that a painting for some reason, as it progresses, has a tendency to tighten up.

In conclusion, there are three types of edges: the soft edge, the hard edge, and the lost edge. Most of the edges are on the soft side. Hard edges should be used sparingly with the intent of attracting attention or to advance certain features. The lost edge is usually used where values of neighboring forms become equal. They serve as a way to loosen up a painting.
Some recommendation from reader that I should show what they look like. Agreed and thanks for pointing that out. 😉
Here is an example for you guys to visually distinguish the different types of edges.

This painting is from the Great master painter Frank Frazetta

This painting is from the Great master painter Frank Frazetta

If you don’t know these terms, I recommended watch all the videos on the site slowly one by one you will pick it up real quick and read some of the blog post labels on the right hand column.
Thanks for posting.


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Three important rules for painting

About The Author
- Xia Taptara (黃曉聲 Huang XiaoShēng), currently a freelance concept artist for games and films, formerly a character concept artist for ArenaNet/NCsoft (GuildWars & Guildwars 2). I also work on various projects for Game of Thrones, Square-Enix, Paizo Publishing, Fantasy Fight Games, Disney Interactive, and many publishers & clients. I use Wacom Tablet Intuos and Photoshop CS2,3,4,5 to do most of my professional art work. I use pencil, pen, and traditional medium in my free time. I founded ( in 2007 to motivate myself to create more and better art. Also I get to draw and paint whatever the hell I want to. Hopefully I can inspired some young soul and old soul alike. *QUESTIONS & COMMENT: PLEASE POST THEM ON THE BLOG. Business Inquiry please e-mail me.