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Serves Me Right

By Bram 'Boco' Sels
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Date Added: 23rd May 2013
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These last brushes have a fair amount of hooks and details on them and easily scatter around the page. They quickly create some basic values and then function as a cloudscape you can look and find all sorts of crazy stuff in. These for instance are some random abstract paintings created with nothing more than those few brushes.

You can make thumbnail brushes like these from literally every image you can find, but I highly recommend you make them yourself. Just start messing around with some paper and ink, or you can even make them into Photoshop directly, but the brushstrokes behind them will inherit your style and because these brushes will be prominent parts of your paintings you really don’t want to use someone else’s brushstrokes or photographs. Invest some time in this. Trust me, you’ll be thanking me later (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

Assignment 8

The briefing for this assignment was pretty open. Create an environment with a figure in it that takes up at least an eighth of the canvas. Do at least nine thumbs and a color composition and use the brushes you created in previous assignments.

I started out in a document I regularly use when doing thumbnails. Basically it’s a PSD with two layers: a background layer on which to paint, and a black grid above it to separate the different thumbs (Fig.03).If you’re doing portraits just rotate the canvas 90 degrees. For this assignment there were no dimensions, so I changed the grid a bit to do some landscapes as well as portraits.


Put some Slayer on, it’ll punch your brains to pulp which at this point prevents you from over thinking things. Work like your brushes, with scatter and do some stuff here and there. Just let your intuition guide you and make some abstract compositions that work even without figures in them.

After a while you’ll automatically start seeing what you ‘want’ to see. Be it a figure, a car, a castle or even a girl with a Mohawk. When you’re at that point don’t rush in and start defining things. Just put in some very basic marks (like eye sockets) so you ‘remember’ what you saw and skip along to the next thumb.

It’s really all about creating dynamic thumbnails now, not about details. When your Slayer CD hits the end you’ll have a bunch of cool thumbnails on which you can work. Keep things loose, don’t zoom in too much, but try to build in a light source and get your shapes clear. Are you going to put a dark silhouette against a light background or vice versa? When some of your compositions don’t feel right, throw them out. It’s better to do this now than wasting time trying to fix them and eventually not being happy about them. These are the nine thumbs I came up with (Fig.04).


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