Requested by gabapple
I coughed up some thoughts about realism. Castiel has volunteered to assist…
So when artists say, “Draw what you see,” what does that even mean, right?
It means don’t draw the objects. Instead, draw the light that hits the objects. And draw only the light.
Okay, but how.
Well, I guess… think of an Impressionistic painting, like a Monet or a Renoir. Impressionism is about drawing the light, not the object. If you stand close to an Impressionistic painting, you can’t tell what shit is, right? It’s just a mess of smudges and brushstrokes. But if you step back, you start to see shapes.
That’s because Impressionism is about capturing the quality of light, rather than being faithful to the object.
Realism is the same way.
With realism, your job isn’t to be exhaustive. It isn’t about completeness, every pore and every eyelash. That’s called hyperrealism, which is something else entirely. Hyperrealism is about forcing you to see everything whether you want to or not. It’s about confrontation.
Realism, on the other hand, is much more playful. It’s about creating the illusion of completeness. If you look at that drawing of Castiel, you won’t see any pores or eyelashes. You’ll only see the suggestion of eyelashes. And if you keep going with that thought, you’ll realize you don’t actually see anything else, either. You don’t see a nose or a trenchcoat or hair. You only see suggestions and illusions. Afterall, it’s not real. It’s pixels on a screen.
The light is the thing you’re actually drawing. Literally, that’s true. Because your eyes process light information. But more figuratively, too. Light exists between you and everything else. It’s like this invisible, fluid warmth, like a creature that bends and drapes and changes color according to whatever it touches.
So if you’re drawing a portait of Castiel, say, don’t try to draw Castiel. Draw the light that touches him instead. And if the light isn’t touching him—if the light isn’t showing you every individual eyelash or every individual pore—why would you draw it? You don’t have to. You knew what it was. Your brain put it together.
Our brains love to be teased and tempted and hinted at, and that’s what light does. It suggests that there’s something more underneath. It’s hands running over a surface. It gives us hints about what something might feel like or taste like or how heavy it might be, or how warm it might be, or what a person might be thinking or feeling. Like a blind person running her hands over a metal bowl to feel out its shape. But in this case, the light is the hands, and you’re drawing what that feels like. So you don’t have to draw all of it. You only have to draw enough of it to know what it is.
And that was my (completely pornographic, as it turns out) way of describing realism.
Thanks, Cas. With fewer clothes next time, maybe? :3
Here is a way to organize the complex information of an interior forest. This will work no matter what your rendering style happens to be. Whether you are an impressionist painter like me or a realist, the basic building blocks for the picture are the same the only difference is how far you want to carry the finish. This photoshop demo is based on a traditional painting I did a while back.
The challenge is to arrange the information to give you the illusion of space where no horizon is apparent. Forest scenes work best when you use clearings to establish a foreground or middle ground to help divide space in the scene. It doesn’t matter if you are painting jungle or alpine forests the abstract qualities of design still apply.
It helps to visualize the anchor points of the composition first. These objects will have the most detail and can be flagged or spotlighted for greater effect. They will give your eye a place to go in the image allowing you to use areas of less detail as counterpoints.
I always start with large areas of color keyed to the average for that mass this helps to unify the shape. I set up the different layers and work between them to balance color value and shape. Once these are established to my liking I begin to develop and refine the painting adding interest as I go.
I had a disturbing exchange with a high school-aged person today that prompted this…
- Beer, wine, mead, and cider are fermented beverages.
- Mead is made from honey.
- Cider is made from apples.
- Beer is made from grains.
- Beer tastes like beer because they flavor it with hops.
- They used to flavor beer with dandelions.
- Ain’t that cute?
- All beer is either ale or lager.
- Ale is fermented at room temperature.
- Lager is brewed and store cold.
- Barleywine, bitter, porter, and stout are ales.
- Pilsner and bock are lagers.
- Most of the crap people drink in America is pale lager.
- Mosft of the crap people drink in Ireland is dry stout.
- Butterbeer isn’t real.
- (Except actually I think it is, and I heard it tastes like cream soda)
- Miruvor isn’t real, either, but it probably would taste like squash.
- Ent-draught isn’t real, either, but shit, it would be awesome if it were.
- Wine is made from fermented fruit juice, usually grapes.
- Red wine is made from red grapes.
- White wine is made from green grapes.
- The name of the grape is the name of the wine (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are all varieties of grape)
- Unless you live in France.
- In which case, the name of the place supersedes the name of the grape.
- (for example: Burgundies are made in Burgundy, France, but Burgundy wine can be Pinot Noir or Chardonnay)
- Champagne is any sparkling white wine.
- However, Champagne can also be wine that comes from Champagne, France.
- Drink red wine with beef. Drink white wine with fish.
- Act like it tastes good.
- Keep a Diet Coke in your bag for later.
- You’ll be fine.
- Brandy is distilled wine.
- Cognac is brandy aged in oak barrels.
- Don’t fuck around with the French about their cognac.
- Fortified wine is wine with added alcohol.
- Sherry is fortified white wine made in Spain.
- Port is fortified red wine made in Portugal.
- Vermouth is fortified white wine plus grape spirits.
- Sweet vermouth has added sugar.
- Dry vermouth has added spices like nutmeg.
- Liquors are distilled spirits that contain ethanol.
- Liqueurs are liquors that have sugar and flavors added.
- Liquors can be made from grains, fruits, or vegetables.
- Grain alcohol is liquor made from grains. Duh.
- Gin, Vodka, and Whisky are grain alcohols.
- Vodka is grain alcohol and water.
- Be careful with vodka. Homemade vodka is poisonous.
- Gin is (basically vodka) flavored with juniper berries.
- Absinthe is (basically gin) flavored with anise.
- Whisky is grain alcohol aged in wood barrels.
- Malt whisky is made from barley.
- Grain whisky is made from all the other grains.
- Scotch is whisky made in Scotland.
- Bourbon is Kentucky whisky mostly made from corn.
- Don’t fuck around with the Scottish.
- Don’t fuck around with people from Kentucky, either.
- Tequila is liquor made from the blue agave plant.
- Rum is liquor made from sugarcane.
- Schnapps is liquor made from fruit “must” (smashed fruit that still contains seeds and skins).
- American schnapps is grain alcohol mixed with fruit flavors and sugar syrup.
- Drink apple schnapps only while playing Tekken 2.
- Sake is rice wine that’s brewed like beer. Or something.
- Avoid these cocktails: Grog, Long Island Iced Tea, Manhattan, Dark and Stormy, Jack and Coke, Piña Colada, Scorpion. They contain huge amounts of alcohol and/or a huge number of calories. That Long Island Ice Tea is the worst motherfucker of the bunch. Just avoid them. Have a lemon drop martini instead.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach or you’ll puke.
- Don’t drink too fast or you’ll puke.
- Avoid Long Island Iced Teas. Like I said.
- Don’t drink and drive because you might kill my Mom. You fuckers.
- If your friend has had too much to drink and needs to crash, make sure she’s lying on her side so she doesn’t choke on her own vomit.
- Don’t leave a drunk friend alone.
- Passing out is a sign of being severely goddamn sick. If someone drinks and passes out? They are dying right now. Call 9-1-1.
- If you are drunk, don’t drink coffee or caffeine to get sober. Sip cold water and nibble some saltine crackers.
- Don’t be a fucking idiot. Don’t smash my mailbox.
- Really, do you need to drink?
- You probably don’t.
- But now you know some stuff. Maybe.