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Sent on: Nov 21, 2021

The Newsletter: Issue #6

Colour, light and drilling the fundamentals

Hey hey!

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Hope you've been making some progress and keeping consistent with your art this week and have been enjoying the heck out of the process!

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Here's your weekly dose of my top resources, thoughts, 'aha moments' and announcements directly from my brain to yours from this past week.

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- What I've been reading this past week

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ā€‹Colour and Lightā€‹

I've been getting stuck into James Gurney's magnificent book 'Color and Light' over the last week, picking out bits and pieces that really struck a chord with me and trying to fill some knowledge gaps.

There's too many aha moments I've been picking up from this one to put into a single newsletter, so I'll sprinkle them throughout future newsletters and fold them into longer form blog posts as well.

This is a must have book if you're interested in understanding at a deeper level how to paint light.

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ā€‹The One Thingā€‹

This is based around the idea of breaking complex, overwhelming tasks (for example drawing and painting or anything really) into small, manageable tasks, then starting on the first one.

It's a simple concept, but it has powerful possibilities.

The question "What is the ONE THING I can do, such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?" is what the book is revolved around.
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I've started to make this a habit whenever I'm doing a specific task, and it's actually been really helpful to cut the unnecessary busy work and get straight to the thing that matters most.

I've used this idea when studying painting/drawing as well e.g. "What's the one thing I can do to better my understanding of the human form".

I'll then look objectively at what the top priority is, then I'll just go and do that, then move on down the list.

Highly recommend for those productivity nerds like myself!

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- Aha moments

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- Simplify by focussing on the Key light-source, then add in other light sources later

I'm going to start simplifying my process and really break it down into distinct parts, and one way of doing this is to start with just one, key light source. I'm hoping this can contribute to my paintings being more efficient with less time wasted in the noodling/guessing phase. Will document my findings!

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- We perceive colours in context and relation to other colours, not in isolation

I keep hearing this all over the place, and I think it's finally starting to sink in. Especially with James Gurney's examples and writing in 'Colour and Light'.

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- Try and disassociate colours from the surface of an object & think about effects of illumination.

From James Gurney's 'Colour and Light' book: In short, I think James is trying to get us to think about the properties of light, and how it interacts with different objects. Thinking more on a deeper level of the how and why, rather than 'this apples surface is red'.

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- Shadows in daylight scenes appear bluer, the clearer the sky is

From James Gurney's 'Colour and Light' book: This is because the blue sky is pretty much a big diffuse light, so all that blue light is going to make it's way into the shadows, and you'll often get that feeling that something is outdoors with stronger blue shadows.

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- Everything is a light source

When light hits an object, that object then becomes a light source all of it's own, and the light emitted from that object, will hit another object which will then in-turn, become a light source etc etc. This has been really useful to understand when it comes to bounced light (which is one of the things that can really make something look 3D)

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- _One of my favourite little sayings if I feel like I've missed the boat on something and or my procrastination/guilt starts kicking in...
"_The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.ā€

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- Videos
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I've been having more of a reading week this week vs videos but this one stood out to me as a little gem to mine some wisdom from.

ā€‹Bobby Chiu Imagine Fx Cover Walkthroughā€‹

I love Bobby's work and seeing him walk through the creation process of the latest Imagine Fx cover was awesome. He went into some really cool detail about materials, lighting and the idea of _'It's all in the subtleties'.
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ā€‹_If you're into nitty-gritty details, then this one is for you!

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- Thoughts and musings

Drilling the fundamentals and deepening my understanding of a topic

I'm finding as I'm documenting more and more of my process, it's becoming VERY important to be constantly reminded of a particular topic/technique/idea over and over again so It sticks.

The topics that I'll choose to revise and go over time and time again are the ones that keep popping up from different artists that I follow and look up to.

For example, I'll always be drilling the 'Plane change = Value change' principle because I've heard that from all over the place, articulated differently, but the underlying principle being the same.

I've set up various habits/note taking process' to do this (that's for another newsletter & blog post) but to start with you might want to keep a note book of things you keep hearing again and again so you can look back on them if you ever get stuck on a particular drawing or painting problem (or insert the skill/topic you're learning about here)

Basically, I'm beginning to value drilling the fundamentals more and more, rather than looking for the next new photoshop or procreate tool/trick or technique. It's starting to further cement those key ideas so I can call upon them easier in the future.

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Until next week, stay consistent, use reference, have fun with it and remember; it's only pixels baybee!

Cheers,

Ben

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Have any questions or just want to say "hey"?

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Email me at b.eblendesign@gmail.com or simply reply to this one.

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