Transforming Gary and his Hercules into a Digital Painting

This is my friend Gary. He’s the coolest guy I know – he rides all sorts of bikes from pushies to motorised. He also plays in a rock band, runs, skiis, snowboards and travels just to name a few. So I thought a digital painting of him and his very cool Hercules would be a good way of showing him off.

I took this picture of him last fall while he was showing Melanie and myself his backyard trails just outside Barrie, Ontario. I decided on this picture for some digital painting as I liked the colours, the leaves and the ‘low rider’ action. For a larger view of the painting…simply click on it.

Digital Painting is just what it sounds like. I move pixels around on the computer instead of using actual paints, brushes and various cleaners. I love how I can make a ‘virtual mess’ of a painting than hit the ‘back’ button or delete the painting entirely and start all over. Plus, there’s no mess – no sticky fingers, no turpentine, no oils, and no spills. However, my eyes eventually become strained from starting at the monitor for too long.

The process of taking a picture and transforming it into a painting is not that difficult. The trick is to start off with a good picture. And that itself can be challenging. What makes a good photograph does not necessarily translate into a good painting. I have also found that certain colours and backgrounds lend themselves better to being ‘digitised’. Once I have found a suitable photograph I play around with it in either Lightroom or Photoshop using levels, saturation, brightness, dodging and burning. Those are usually my main edits. Than I open up the picture in Corel Painter, choose my brushes, senstivity and a host of other things before I begin ‘painting’.

The next part is the hardest for me. I really should leave the painting alone for a few days…not to dry but to see whether or not I am pleased with the results. However, I am such an impatient person that sometimes I skip this last step. My impatience has sometimes gotten me in trouble. This is also another reason why I do not play golf. In fact I have only played twice in my life (not counting driving ranges and mini-golf). The last time I played I ran in between holes as I was getting ‘ancy’ and just had to ‘de-energise’ a bit. Ok…I am so off topic right now.

I hope you like the painting. Please feel free to send me your thoughts!



4 thoughts on “Transforming Gary and his Hercules into a Digital Painting

  1. Great work Cecile! I think your painting is a good blend of art and life. Captures the “essence” of Gary beautifully 🙂 His left foot is a little distracting, isn’t sure if it’s too blurred or what but my eye was drawn to it.

    1. Thanks Melanie for the feedback! I wish more people gave me feedback so I know what to fix. Now that you mention it yea…his left foot is a bit distracting. I think it’s because of the metal at the end of the toe on his boot. It’s shiny and combined with the rear rim (which is also shiny) it distracts the eye. I’ll have to tone down the shine a bit and see if that helps. But that’ll have to wait until boys are in bed.

  2. I love it of course. You’re such a great artist. When I play with photoshop I just hit that button that makes it look like an oil painting and presto, finished Picasso.

  3. Not always have to be mud when riding off-road. In fact, races aside, most riders try not to ride in mud as it’s both hard on bikes and on trails.

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