Today’s Art (27th May 2017)

Well, I was feeling at least slightly more inspired when I made today’s digitally-edited painting than I was when I made the one that was posted yesterday. Even so, this 1990s-style painting ended up being kind of random. And, yes, you know you grew up in the 1990s if you actually remember using DOS (the real one, not the simulated versions that have appeared since the end of the 90s).

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Absinthe And DOS" By C. A. Brown

“Absinthe And DOS” By C. A. Brown

Letting A Colour Palette Evolve – A Ramble


As regular readers of this blog probably know, I’ve been experimenting with slightly limited palettes for at least the past year or two.

For quite a while, I used to challenge myself to only (or mostly) use 2-4 watercolour pencils per digitally-edited painting in order to get used to using complimentary colour combinations, to learn more about colour mixing and because I really liked the effect that it created. Many of my slightly older paintings looked a bit like this:

"Do You Think It Saurus?" By C. A. Brown

“Do You Think It Saurus?” By C. A. Brown

"La Chanteuse" By C. A. Brown

“La Chanteuse” By C. A. Brown

As an educational experience, you really can’t beat it. However, I eventually got slightly bored of this and gradually returned to just using slightly more realistic colours more often. But, I soon remembered one of the main advantages of using a limited palette – it’s quicker and more practical. And, after finding a set of “Doom II” levels that taught me a lot about colour palettes, I now take a slightly different approach to colour palettes.

I still use a limited palette, but it tends to be slightly larger. For example, the palette for quite a bit of the art that I’ll be posting here in July consists of red, yellow, blue, light green, purple and black watercolour pencils. Sometimes, I’ll also use a grey pencil for shading and/or a peach pencil (since, depending on the amount of pressure you use, it can be used to create a variety of skin tones) too.

I’ve found that that limiting my palette to about 6-8 watercolour pencils means that I can use a greater range of colours and colour schemes, whilst still giving my art a slightly distinctive look and having the kind of quick practicality that comes from only using a small number of pencils.

After all, you can lay six or seven pencils down on the desk in front of you, rather than having to scrabble through several tins of watercolour pencils in order to find a new colour.

Expanding my colour palette slightly also makes it easier to use orange/purple colour combinations (again, something these “Doom II” levels introduced me to) too. This is mostly because dark purple is one of the hardest colours to mix in the traditional fashion – if there’s slightly too much blue or red, or if the pencils are the wrong shades of these colours, then it often ends up looking more like black or brown than purple. The same is true when it comes to trying to mix light green using yellow and blue (it often just looks too faded or “muddy” when mixed traditionally).

But, despite the fact that I use a larger palette than I used to, my past experiences with smaller colour palettes still have a large effect on the “look” of my art. Although I’ve learnt how to use three-colour colour schemes (eg: blue/orange/purple) and how to include multiple complimentary colour schemes in a single painting, I’ll sometimes try to include a “dominant” colour scheme in my paintings because of the fact that it looks visually striking.

Here’s a reduced-size preview of a painting that will appear here in July:

The full-size painting will appear here on the 6th July.

The full-size painting will appear here on the 6th July.

The main colour scheme in this painting is a blue/orange one (albeit one that includes two shades of blue). It’s probably the first thing that you noticed when you saw this painting. However, thanks to everything I’ve learnt about colour palettes, I was also able to give the painting a little bit more depth by including a small green/purple/pink colour scheme too.

This colour scheme also compliments each part of the other colour scheme too, which helps to make the painting’s colours look even more harmonious.

The thing to remember about colour palettes is that they aren’t static things. If you find a colour palette that you like, it doesn’t mean that you can’t ever alter it or add to it. In fact, if you make art regularly, then your colour palette will probably evolve over time for the simple reasons that you’ll occasionally want to try new things and because you’ll find it easier to notice other interesting colour palettes too.


Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Can Art And Webcomics Have Secondary Fandoms?


Well, I thought that I’d talk about “secondary fandoms” today. This is the best term I can come up with to describe that bizarre experience where you find something really cool, that is a tiny part of something else (that you may or may not interested in).

For example, I’m not really a huge fan of the modern role-playing genre of computer games and my computer is probably considered “vintage” these days. So, I’m probably not going to play “Skyrim” and yet, thanks to numerous cover versions that I’ve heard on Youtube, I think that it’s theme tune is one of the most epic pieces of music ever invented. Even though I absolutely love the theme tune, I can’t exactly call myself a “Skyrim” fan. Hence, “secondary fandom”.

Although secondary fandoms don’t always lead to people joining the “main” fandom for something, they can certainly be a useful tool for building a fandom.

For example, I initially got vaguely interested in “Game Of Thrones” after I saw a really cool Youtube video of someone playing the show’s epic theme song using eight modified floppy disk drives as an instrument. When a relative later recommended the books to me and lent me one of them, I was curious enough to read the first hundred pages. Then I ended up watching some of the TV show, which got me interested in the books again, which got me interested in the TV show again etc… But, this may or may not have happened if I hadn’t heard a version of the show’s impressive theme tune on Youtube first.

But, it’s probably quite telling that the two examples that I’ve given have been computer games and TV shows. After all, due to the complex nature of these mediums, they’re going to contain many additional elements that can draw in a secondary fandom. After all, they also contain music, art (even if it’s just cover/ poster art), architecture/set design, costume design, catchphrases etc…

However, art and webcomics contain far fewer different elements. With comics, you’ve just got text and art. With art, you just have art. So, can these things actually have secondary fandoms?

In a word, yes. Although it’s probably more difficult than it is with things like TV shows and computer games.

With webcomics, you can probably gain a secondary fandom by producing interesting-looking stand-alone drawings or paintings of your characters. If this art looks like the kind of thing that people would want to use as a desktop background, the kind of thing that people would want to use as an online avatar etc… then there’s a good chance that you’ll gain a secondary fandom.

With art, the only real way to gain a secondary fandom is if your art appears in other contexts, or if one or two pieces of your art become more famous than the rest.

For example, I’ve been a massive fan of a band called Iron Maiden for at least a decade (after hearing one of their songs in a slightly old computer game when I was a teenager). Anyway, one thing that I loved about the band when I first discovered it was how cool all of the cover artwork for their old albums looked.

In fact, I even ended up accumulating quite a few Iron Maiden T-shirts purely because of the coolness of both the art and the band. However, it was only relatively recently that I learnt that all of the “classic” Iron Maiden artwork was made by an artist called Derek Riggs. I’d spent years being a fan of an artist whose name I didn’t even know!

Likewise, literally everyone knows what the Mona Lisa looks like. It’s widely considered to be one of the best and most valuable paintings ever made. And, yet, very few people can probably name or remember too many more of Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings or drawings (except possibly The Last Supper and/or the Vitruvian Man). Although the Mona Lisa is just one of many pieces of art that Da Vinci made, it has a level of appeal and popularity which means that it’s audience consists of more than just Renaissance art experts.

So, yes, art and webcomics can gain a secondary fandom – even if it is more difficult than it probably is for TV shows, games, films etc…


Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Today’s Art (24th May 2017)

Well, I was feeling more uninspired than I expected before I made today’s digitally-edited painting. After several failed pencil sketches, I eventually decided to go for something a bit easier and make a painting of some Brutalist-style buildings.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Concrete City Confidential" By C. A. Brown

“Concrete City Confidential” By C. A. Brown