Which is first - Light or Dark?

M

MBeattie

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I've been reviewing the forum for a few weeks. I am an absolute beginner with moderate goals but no talent. I'm doing this for fun. After weeks of dots, lines, daggers and eyes I am gradually improving. I've tried a couple of images (dog) with mediocre results. I've upgraded from a Chinese knock-off to an Iwata HP-CS but I think most of the problems come from between my ears. I've reviewed several forum works in progress as well as the excellent image decoding thread of a couple of years ago. It may be a matter of preference, but assuming one is painting on a white background, what is the best way to start? Do you use the lightest shade of your primary color and build up to the darkest (ie eyes, shadows) or do you do the eyes and shadows first and use them as a reference. Also, in the image decoding section AirbrushTutor created an Air-Lang image for a blend with the brush angled from the darkest to the lightest. That makes sense but he also comments several times that he always angles his brush toward the darkest area. In the absence of ability, I need enlightenment.
 
Hello Mr MBeattie and welcome to your new addiction, haha. I will let the more intelligent bodies answer your questions as Ive only been into airbrushing a lil over 2 years, but I just wanted to welcome you aboard and letcha know youre in good hands. Loads of talented artists here willing to help you on your journey. Wish you the best of luck. As far as light to dark, dark to light, with me, it really boils down to what the subject matter is, I work both ways!! Welcome to the Orange Forum!!
 
I build up gradually from the lightest shade to the darkest, and then if necessary add any highlights at the end. (remember if using transparents you can deepen colour in areas, by adding more layers, or you can use the colour below to mix with the colour your adding) It is so easy to go to dark too soon, you can lose any subtlety, and then when you get to your dark areas there is nowhere left to go. But that's just me, it depends on the image and background sometimes too. As for Mitch's image decoding, I know it's helped so many people, unfortunately my brain isn't wired that way, (dyscalculia), but I wonder if he's referring to controlling overspray.
 
Welcome my friend. I tried both ways. I did a few shirts where I sketched the darkest darks first then went and did the colors and highlights. But when I am doing a portrait, I usually build my values slowly.
 
I build up gradually from the lightest shade to the darkest, and then if necessary add any highlights at the end. (remember if using transparents you can deepen colour in areas, by adding more layers, or you can use the colour below to mix with the colour your adding) It is so easy to go to dark too soon, you can lose any subtlety, and then when you get to your dark areas there is nowhere left to go. But that's just me, it depends on the image and background sometimes too. As for Mitch's image decoding, I know it's helped so many people, unfortunately my brain isn't wired that way, (dyscalculia), but I wonder if he's referring to controlling overspray.

The general Idea is to guide your over-spray to an area where it will be difficult to see, this is of course if shielding isn't an option or like me your just to lazy to shield.
 
Hello Mbeattie-

I have seen this done several ways. The thing that helped me most is as a beginner is I always sprayed too much paint and went too dark too fast because I wanted to see the painting.
On a gray scale painting i always start with a light grey and then add a drop of black and paint it again adding textures in between. By Painting in at least 3 passes, it will alow for more detail realism by creating a light mid and dark- creating 3 dimentional artwork.
 
i tried both and it really depends on the job.but lately i have discoverd that from light to dark helps me control the end result,slow but sure!also if mistakes are made,are easier to correct!!!:angel:
 
Well it a kinda how long is a piece of string question.

So try it all and see what works best. Things to keep in mind are type of paint. Opaque vs transpearant. Back ground base color. Light vs dark. Color vs monochrome.

A good way for beginners to start is to use a white background and paint with a transpearant smoke. Start from the darkest areas and move to the lighter preserving highlights. But move around the canvas and try to control the tone values. This allows your overspray to hide in shadows.

If you would rather not use transparent start with a mid tone and work dark then light.

But there is no one correct or best way. With experience you will instinctively know how to tackle a reference.

Welcome btw. :)
 
The "general" rule, at least when using opaque or buffered colors, is to work from light to dark. If you spray a lighter color over a darker one, you'll get a phenomenon known as "blue shift". Basically, if you spray white over a darker color, it will shift towards a blue shade. If you spray a yellow over a darker color, it will create a greenish-cast (yellow + blue= green), A red will shift towards a purple shade, etc, etc. However, if you spray a darker color over a lighter one, it just covers the color. The general process I use is to start by loosely filling in the lightest areas, and gradually work tighter and darker using buffered colors (transparent colors mixed with a white base to create an opaque color), then using transparent colors for the finishing details. This technique is the one taught by Dru Blair as his Color Buffer Technique or Split/Buffer Technique. You can learn a TON by finding Dru's articles in Airbrush Action, Art Scene International, and a few other magazines. Or, if you have some time and money, take a course at his school. I interned there for a few months, and we had several students come through with little to no airbrush experience (and by "no experience", I mean "never held an airbrush before), all of whom made some amazing advances, argueably cutting months or years off of their learning curve.
 
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