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My Dru Blair experience

Discussion in 'Airbrush Courses' started by Cordyk, Jun 7, 2013.


  1. Cordyk

    Cordyk Sheriff Woody (Admington) Admin

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    Well you jolly bunch of airbrushing fruit loops! , I guessyou would like a little’ol run down on how the Dru Blair course went with Mitch and me last week!
    Firstly, let me start by letting those lady fans of Mitch’s out there in on the truth, he uses very clever photography and camera trickery in his video’s, and he is in real life about 5 stone heavier with a bald patch,glass eye and a gimpy walk…oh and horrendous flatulence!!!!
    Ok, moving on, when we arrived it was the usual meet and greet with other fellow students who were all a great bunch of like minded AB’ers, some of them even recognised Mr Tutor man!. Then we went in to meet the man himself, Dru is a very personable guy, willing to chat and answer questions on anything….and yes there was many questions!
    So we begin day 1 with colour theory and some little mixing exercises, the theory part you are not expected to absorb all of it, so a good writing pad is essential. Dru takes you through a sort of slide show and generally talks about how light sources work,what to look for and how the eye and mind can play tricks on you when matching colours, and believe me it’s an eye opener! I have definitely come away with a new outlook and view on how to break down a subject for painting, all really interesting stuff. He talks in depth about how understanding reflections, refractions and atmospherics can really help you to achieve realism in your artwork. Another very interesting point was what’s called the (Etcetera principal) were you only need to add in a certain amount of detail as the viewer’s mind will subconsciously fill in the rest of the details (lines stop, thought continues).
    We also talked a lot about how colours can shift (blueshift), always exercise restraint when painting, paint what you see, be subtle was one of his many catchphrases. How colours appear to us can depend on the colours surrounding them (simultaneous contrast)and the slides he put on the screen to demonstrate this principal really do mess with your mind, I had never considered this stuff before but I definitely will from now on. All of this may sound like way too much of a brain strain but trust me, understanding this sort of stuff is what really makes a difference between an ok painting and a Dru Blair paintingJ
    After all the theory we get down to trying to mix some flesh tones, piece of cake…..NOT! We each got a small colour to match(all different to stop copying) and off we went, now here’s the thing, you can achieve a 98% match fairly quickly even for a colour theory noob like me…but getting that other 2%...man that is sooooooooo hard, you could spend hours trying. But with practice each time you will get quicker. When we completed that we got to see our reference picture for the days ahead , this one consisted of about 10(I think) different tones( Dru was being easy on us)! And to coin his favourite phrase “so damn easy, right!” So off we go mixing the colours for the portrait, what surprises most is that the small cup of paints that we are mixing up are for the entire class, it always still amazes me how little paint you actually use with an airbrush!. When we have all mixed up our colours and sprayed a small square test card, Dru just for his sadistic fun decides that it’s time to play “the dot of death”!!!!!!!!! He basically took each card and put a rather nasty blob smack bang in the middle, it was then our job to correct it and cover up this little blob of death! He went through the process which was not as obvious as you think and left us to it.
    Ok, enough waffle and I guess you would like to see someprogress pics!
    So we all had a high quality reference pic(essential), a print out for cutting as a mask and of course our board to paint on.
    IMG_0078 (1024x768) (768x1024).jpg
    Now we cut out the important shapes, eyes, nose,lips(t-zone)ready for blocking in, also not cutting out completely as to fold back and cover when needed.
    IMG_0079 (768x1024).jpg
    Next we start blocking in the shapes and hair, I think we used Sepia and Black for this, we also went in with a scalpel and began to remove highlights from the top of the hair.
    IMG_0081 (768x1024).jpg
    Blocking in and working some more on the hair, eyes and defining the shape of the nose and shadows around the mouth.
    IMG_0084 (768x1024).jpg
    Now we are beginning to lay down some of those flesh tones we lovingly prepared, and removing again with a scalpel and eraser the spectral highlights on the nose and forehead(subtlety is the key)
    IMG_0085 (768x1024).jpg
    Now we spend some time on the lips, I think we used about three different colours here and plenty of scratching out spectral highlights
    IMG_0095 (768x1024).jpg
    And there we have it….well almost, you see it’s not completely finished and I could spend more time going back, but we ran out of time and to be honest I was exhausted, they were all very long days and hard work, I do intend to finish this, but it was the fear of completely stuffing this up that made me stop when I did!
    IMG_0101 (768x1024).jpg IMG_0103 (768x1024).jpg

    Hard work it was but very much worth it, I have learnt so much on this course and had a great time and experience with great people, not to mention me and Mitch got to do this course together and had a great laugh in the mean timeJ
    Also I should add that we used the Createx illustration paints which are very impressive indeed, and all done straight from the bottle(except when we mixed the flesh tones)
    I know these types of courses are not cheap, but what you can gain from them will push you forward as an artist in so many positive ways. Dru is an outstanding guy, always willing to talk and offer advice, and we could have sat in the pub chatting for hours, there is not much this man has not seen or knows in the world of airbrushing, he is a guru. So if you ever get the opportunity to take one of his classes, do not hesitate, you cannot loose.
    I must also give a mention to Mick Neill who was our host and runs The Custom Paint Studios. http://www.custompaintsupplies.co.uk/index.asp
    He is a fantastic artist in his own right not to mention a right diamond geezer and if you ever need any airbrush supplies in the Uk or abroad then this is your manJ

    Thanks all and I hope you enjoyed this little write upJ
    Kev(cordyk)
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  2. Cordyk

    Cordyk Sheriff Woody (Admington) Admin

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    Oh and by the way, did you know that Dru has actually been a member on this forum for quite a while now.....but what is his forum name.....now that would be telling:)
    Diegojavbau and Zotilraxx like this.
  3. Madbrush

    Madbrush Guest

    It aint Madbrush, that's for sure, lol
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  4. WhiteKnight

    WhiteKnight Code Dragon Slayer Admin

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    Great to hear you enjoyed the course, It really sounds great :)

    P.S. you can rule me out also, I haven't been here for quite a while, lol
  5. ad fez

    ad fez kind of a big deal = Admington

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    Please tell me its ranhalen
  6. ad fez

    ad fez kind of a big deal = Admington

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    My god its like secret squirrel how exciting! The mind boggles?!?
  7. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod Artist of the Month!

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    My detective circuits have gone into overload!!!!!!
  8. jord001

    jord001 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Again Squish ? ;) De Ja Vu

    Thanks for the write up Kev, sounds like you had a great few days and a great experience also. I wish i had the funds to have joined you since it was so close to home for me. Maybe if Dru comes this way again I will get to attend. This is a rare opportunity you are lucky to be able to have been there.

    Lee
  9. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod Artist of the Month!

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    I can't help it, I am what is known in technical terms as a nosey b**** LOL LOL LOL! I just hate not knowing something. The course sounds intense! Way beyond my meager grasp of ABing reality, but maybe one day, who knows? What I really want to know is, did Mitch take off the spandex whilst painting?
  10. Mr.Micron

    Mr.Micron Royal pain in the air hose Admin

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    Well for those who do not know Dru's forum name it is airartiste, He has not made any post yet but He does watch the forums .
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  11. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod Artist of the Month!

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    Phew! Thanks Herb, now I can sleep tonight LOL!
  12. Mr.Micron

    Mr.Micron Royal pain in the air hose Admin

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    That is good to hear Squishy Gal. But he uses the same name on the other forums I am on too.
  13. Seamonkey

    Seamonkey Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Lmfao!!!! That would make my year!!!!


    Even old ass Yoda had to learn to be a Jedi...... I have just been better looking from day 1.
  14. Seamonkey

    Seamonkey Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Kev-o that is an awesome write up and thanks for taking the time to do so!!! Outstanding result on the pic also buddy!! Makes me want to take his course even more!!


    Even old ass Yoda had to learn to be a Jedi...... I have just been better looking from day 1.
  15. Diegojavbau

    Diegojavbau Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Thanks for telling your experience , I reall¡y enjoy reading this , sound great
  16. Zotilraxx

    Zotilraxx Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Did an awesome job, Kev. I wrote to Santa this year so i can maybe go to one of his classes.
  17. Madbrush

    Madbrush Guest

    Excellent, maybe he can make some posts now, he can start by teaching me to paint a half decent mustache on a false face, something I've never been able to do, lol

    I guess we should say, Welcome to the forum Dru, even if you did sneak in like some super stealthy Ninja, lol
  18. ad fez

    ad fez kind of a big deal = Admington

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    what do you mean "other forums"? ;o)
  19. Iceman

    Iceman Spider Splatterer

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    Nice write up of the class. I recently took in a Airbrush Action Getaway in Vegas this last Feb. and took Dru Blairs Acheiving Photorealism class and it is exactly as you stated in your post, with one exception we did't work on one project we did numerous little projects using the techniques he and his assistants taught, scratching , erasing, color theory and like you stated we mixed up a skin tone (took me 18 tries if I remember right) sprayed a piece of illustration board then they took it away and put 5 yes thats right 5 purple dots on them and said fix it, well of course they taught us the long way to go about fixing a catastrophic error then then showed us the easy way, all in all in was worth it and yes Dru is a very personable guy and will answer any questions you have.
  20. HCP-draggin

    HCP-draggin Gravity Guru

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    LMAO. Ahh yes, the dreaded "dot of death". A very well-named excersize. I don't even remember how many tries it took me my first go at it. I do remember Krystina telling me not to get so frustrated, because I had "only" been at it for a couple hours. lol. btw- although they TRY not to show how much they're enjoying your suffering, it is everyone of the staffs favorite excerise to administer ;-)

    For the first class you take, I'd recommend the "photorealism" class. It's a bit broader in scope than the others, and gives you a whole bunch of new techniques to put in your tool box, as well as a good understanding of color theory, atmospherics, lighting, etc. The other classes will just have one main project (which you are not expected to finish), and will focus on more specialized areas. If you're crazy talented, or are at least mildly sadistic, the advanced portrait course is definitely the most demanding. I'd recommend some mild sedation for that one, just for the sake of your own sanity and the safety of the rest of the class ;-)

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