Cover Art By David Revoy

THE MOST IMPORTANT PAINTING TIP EVER

By Walid Feghali

*this is a free excerpt from the upcoming Evenant Design digital art course
The Aspiring Concept Artist*

When it comes to painting, having this aspect etched in your skill-set is crucial to becoming a good artist. Practicing it will ensure that you will render your ideas and concepts with great quality and accuracy. Incorporating it and using it to your own ends successfully time and time again is what will ensure that your work becomes and stays high quality and make your fans love your work.

What I’m talking about is fundamentals.

Fundamentals are, what the name suggests, the aspects and properties of what reality looks like, and you use it as a foundation for all your concept art.

Some fundamentals are:

  • Perspective
    • Vanishing points
    • Horizon lines
    • Foreshortening
    • Third-point, two-point and one-point perspective
    • Atmospheric perspective
  • Scale
  • Lighting and its correlation with color
  • Values and color theory

And then, for drawing nicely, you also have things such as:

  • Line weight
  • Gesture lines
  • Flow

There are more aspects to art, but the key thing is that these basic, or fundamentalaspects decide if your drawings look nice, are balanced and realistic or not. Getting these right is so damn important.

Look at the example under here. This drawing is from an artist from the Blizzard Entertainment team for the game World of Warcraft – this artist has nailed all three of these fundamental aspects of drawing: line weight, gesture lines and flow.

Some parts have heavier lines, others are soft. Sometimes the lines flow together, and sometimes they clash. With practice and time, anyone can learn how to use the fundamentals of drawing, and it doesn’t need to take that long. The same thing goes for other aspects of illustrating.

Here is an image of a few green slopes. Notice how the further away something is, it appears more washed out, blue-grayish tone and takes on less dynamic contrast and detail content. This is one of the fundamentals: atmospheric perspective.

Some people say art is subjective, even for concept art. I say that for the most part, it’s not. Not for us. We take inspiration from reality and we try to mimic it, so we need to learn it’s fundamental laws of appearance.

These are things that you cannot really break if you want to achieve good designs and nice looking artworks. Obviously, you are encouraged to go crazy with some of these and break the rules to achieve more interesting design and art, but we are making concept art here, and not abstract art. Concept art relies more on realism; it is based on how reality looks like and behaves, while abstract art isn’t.

Then after drawing properly, getting your perspectives right and you have a good flow in your line art, you have to render it out with some of the following aspects:

  • Paint strokes
  • Texture
  • Shading
  • Mood
  • Atmosphere

These are all things that you use for your presentation, or basically what it is you want to show your audience in the end.

Always reduce each of these steps to their basics. Don’t over-complicate or overthink it. Keep it simple. You don’t need to do line drawing to an absolute perfection, just a somewhat quick sketch with good line weight and flow is enough to start basing your painting out of.

For lighting, it’s the same thing: keep it simple! Bring the light down from an angle above, or very low sunset light for harder contrasts.

Design-wise, only use a few inspiration sources and mix them together. Take inspiration from real engines of modern airplanes, and mix them with old antique wheeled vessels, steam pipes with spaceships, a catfish with buildings (maybe a catfish mouth as an entrance for a temple), and so on. But that’s for another time, this is about fundamentals.

Fundamentals are simple and elegant, but they don’t come on their own just because they’re simple. You need to practice them, and the way to do that is to keep it simple. If you keep it simple and you’re open to learning, it will go much smoother painting cool designs in the future.

But just knowing about the fundamentals won’t make you much better of an artist – actually practicing them will.

Until next time!
– Walid

Walid Feghali

Co-founder, Concept Artist, Composer

Co-founder of Evenant, Walid is a composer, mechanical engineer, concept artist and entrepreneur from Sweden. Travelling and exploring new opportunities, always looking for new things to learn and create.

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