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Full Version: Tips or resources for 'loosening up' my paintings
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Hi guys

I just wondered if anyone had any advice or resources to help with 'loosening up' my paintings.

By this I mean creating better edges, not getting caught up in the details and generally making things look a little more natural and blended. I have a tendency to over render everything and it makes my work look a bit flat. By nature I'm a little OCD and don't really have much of a 'stop' button which prevents me from keeping my work loose!

Tips I have heard are to try and focus more detail on the important areas (such as faces) in order to direct the eye, while leaving other areas more sketchy. I understand the theory, but just find it hard to 'let go' when it comes to this. I also read that working 'zoomed out' is a good idea as it forces you to see the image as a whole and how it is reading. Currently when I paint I have two windows open in Photoshop: one with the image at 100% and one zoomed in close, but this zoomed in view is the one I tend to paint in.

In case anyone else is having trouble with this or doesn't know what I mean, Stapleton Kearns has a good series of posts on controlling edges *HERE*.

Examples of the kind of finish I'm after are below:

[Image: 118791.jpg?pictureId=5730531]

[Image: knightofnightregular.jpg]

[Image: Ranger_NKD_09_small.jpg]

Cheers :)
In topic of resources Andrew Loomis wrote small chapter about edges and details in Creative illustration on page 101-111 (printed 101). I'm working on that topic myself and didn't see anything more comprehensive than Loomis.
For practice I found painting still life helpful for observing hard/soft edges.
Thanks Madzia, I'll check that link out! I think I just need to do more studies in general, hopefully those will teach me to economise my strokes and see the blends more.
James gurney also did a blog post about edges and well in his book colour and light.
The edge control thing is something you are just going to have to put time and practice into(,aside from reading those helpful explanations posted earlier(,there are a few in the resources thread as well.))

As for the rendering thing. You can try making a new layer and drawing a "render level zone" with reduced opacity before you get into the actual rendering. That way when you get to the border of each zone you know to aim for level "x" of finish inside of the zone. This should keep you from fully rendering, getting into the groove, and suddenly it's 60% of the piece full rendered and ooooops. This will hopefully help you develop better self control and awareness of when to stop over time.