Premature Rendering (Or, How to Kill a Painting)

Too many paintings have lost their lives to premature rendering because their artists didn’t know what else to do.” – Chris Oatley

The most frustrating thing for me as I was preparing to graduate from college was knowing that I’m not good enough as an artist. Not yet. Especially when it comes to digital painting. When I look at my art it all feels off, like I missed the point of everything. I couldn’t pin down what was wrong, I just knew it was.

But it’s finally becoming clear to me, slowly but surely. I would focus on the character and add the background almost as an afterthought. But the environment needs to be as much a character as the figure(s) you’re drawing in it.

I would forget to pay attention to basic composition (which is something you can learn about in Framed Ink by Marcos Mateu-Mestre OR for free at ChrisOatley.com). Today, watching a lesson from Chris Oatley’s Magic Box course gave me another piece of the puzzle: I’m a compulsive premature renderer.

You’ll notice if you look at any of my galleries that I don’t work in color too often. It’s not because I don’t like illustration; it’s because I have a tendency to hate my colored work as soon as it’s finished. And it’s no wonder. My typical process was to draw a figure, ink it, slap some flat color onto it (without paying attention to composition OR color design) and THEN decide to add a background.

Yeah. That doesn’t work, and I can’t believe I never noticed that ’til now.

Unfortunately for this environment sketch turned sci-fi illustration, I didn't give it's composition very much thought; instead I jumped straight to rendering.
Unfortunately for this environment sketch turned sci-fi illustration, I didn’t give its composition very much thought; instead, I jumped straight to rendering.

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