Saturday, March 28, 2020


Painting Giant Robots

For my second painting I picked a much more ambitious image, one of the giant robots from Pacific Rim. I'm happy with the way it turned out, and I also learned a great deal making this one too. I cal it "Strider Alpha"; the actual robot is apparently called Strider Zeta (I don't remember the movie well enough to recognize it at all). Some thoughts:

1) Accurately sketching the outlines and details is super important for these more complex images.  I really only did a base outline of the robot, which was great, but it resulted in all kinds of things not being proper in the end, like the boat (which I didn't sketch at all and so it's totally improvised), the kneecaps, the chest details, etc. For future paintings with this level of detail I really need to properly sketch everything before I get started, and then figure out how to preserve those outlines etc as I move forward with paint coverage.

2) Blocking out colors actually works pretty well. Obviously it doesn't achieve the blending of colors of the original image, but I feel like it still conveys the look of the robot well, so I'm pretty happy with my decision to block rather than even attempt color blending. I do plan to try blending on some future painting though, it might be really awesome too.

3) It IS possible to paint white over a "mistake" and then repaint it; I did this both for the boat and for the shield on the right (robots left arm), to varying degrees of success. Hardest part is color matching the stuff around it when you repaint it back in, if the outline is shifting position. So that's a great trick to have available.

4) It IS possible to paint finer levels of detail, especially nice edges, if you use a brush which comes to a point and you're willing to spend the time. Still not possible to make actually small things, but sharp edges and fine lines are possible for sure.

5) Layering works awesome. Start with background, then color block, then add details, etc. A little bit of forethought can really make it easy to assemble things correctly.

6) Having the painting up at the right height, and having a nice big palette for mixing colors, which is also held at the right height, and having the image right there too, makes a huge positive difference in the actual experience of painting. That said, the clamps and magnets holding the paper in place are not great, (a) they actually cover up bits of the painting, which is annoying when making the background and (b) it's quite useful to be able to rotate the painting, since it turns out that I'm WAY better at edges when they are right edges than when they are left (presumably for a right hander it'd be the other way around). For my next painting I'm working on a canvas instead of clamped paper, so already exploiting this observation, and don't need any clamps or anything to hold it in place.

Anyway this is totally lots of fun and continues to be a great escape in these long social distancing days at home.

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