Five Tips For Painting Realistic Landscapes In MS Paint 5.1

Well, although I’ve already written a (slightly old) guide to painting realistic landscapes in MS Paint 5.1, I found myself experimenting with it again.

If you’ve had a bit of art practice, you can produce some absolutely amazing artwork with this simple program, and it isn’t anywhere near as difficult as it might look. However, I should warn you, it is much more time-consuming than it looks (eg: expect to spend at least 1-2 hours on a small 400 x 500 pixel drawing).

So, if you’ve still got an old Windows XP machine lying around (and you really should, they’re awesome), then take a look at it’s “Paint” program. Yes, it is more primitive than the later versions of MS Paint that have appeared in Windows 7 and 10, but this is one of it’s strengths! It is a simple no-nonsense image editor that – with practice – can be used to produce better art than you might think. Here’s a detail from of one of my recent MS Paint 5.1 creations:

The full digital painting will appear here on the 7th June.

Anyway, I thought that I’d offer a few random tips and new techniques that I’ve learnt during my brief return to this artform again. Apologies about the slightly rambling nature of the list, I’m a little exhausted after spending the past two hours or so in MS Paint.

1) Keep it small!: MS Paint 5.1 is not built for large, sweeping landscape paintings. If you want to make a painting in any reasonable amount of time, then keep it small!

Not only will this allow you to use a few time-saving impressionist tricks to keep the time spent on distant detail down to a sensible amount but, more critically, it also allows you to keep a small copy of the reference photograph that you’re copying in sight at all times (and, yes, your MS Paint artwork should be the exact same size as this small copy. It makes working out proportions a lot easier).

This “work in progress” screenshot (with reference photo beside it) shows the sort of size you should aim for if you’re new to making MS Paint artwork

Another good thing about keeping your MS Paint 5.1 artwork small is that it also makes it look more realistic too. Since individual pixels tend to be more visible in older versions of MS Paint, keeping the image small means that the audience is already “looking at it from a distance” and can take in the whole picture at once, making any individual pixels a little less noticeable.

2) Save it as a bitmap: I cannot emphasise this enough! Remember to save the picture as a 24-bit Bitmap (.bmp) whilst you are actually working on it! Do not save it as a JPEG! Yes, bitmap images guzzle up a lot of hard drive space, but MS Paint 5.1 is primarily designed for working with bitmaps.

If you save your only “work in progress” copy of your picture as a JPEG, then the program’s extremely aggressive compression algorithms (which are great for reducing the file sizes of digital photos, by the way) not only distort or dull the colours in a few specific circumstances – but will also leave lots of annoying barely-visible compression artefacts that can make using the program’s “fill” tool an absolute hassle. Seriously, if you’re used to the more generous/forgiving fill tools in other image editors, then the one in MS Paint 5.1 will seem very annoying if you’re working with a JPEG image.

So, when you’re actually making your MS Paint artwork, always save it as a bitmap! If you want to post it on the internet or send it to other people, then make a separate JPEG copy (using “save as”) after you have finished making your painting.

3) Background first: This one isn’t essential and it is something I’ve only really started doing recently (and I used a completely different approach in the guide I posted here three years ago), but it makes things a lot easier/quicker.

Unlike traditional drawings (where it is best to sketch and fill in the foreground detail before focusing on the background), it will save you so much time if you start your MS Paint artwork from the background and then work forwards.

Since MS Paint includes things like fill tools and airbrushes, it is actually a lot quicker to add the broad, sweeping background details first and then focus on the more detailed foreground elements afterwards.

4) Useful features: When painting a realistic landscape in MS Paint 5.1, there are two features you need to be aware of – since you’ll be using them a lot.

The first is the “pick color” tool – the icon for this looks like a pipette/dropper and, when used, it will change the brush colour to the exact same colour as the pixel you have clicked on. One of the most important parts of making a digital landscape painting look realistic is getting the colours right and, if you keep a small copy of your reference image next to your painting, then you’ll easily be able to sample the correct colours from it with this tool.

Another useful feature is actually an undocumented one. If you need to fill in large areas with the airbrush tool, then it will actually go larger than the three pre-set options available. All you have to do is to select the airbrush tool (the icon looks like a spray can), hold down the “Ctrl” key and then keep tapping the ” + ” key until the airbrush is the correct size. You’ll know that this is working when the highlighting disappears from the size menu at the side of the screen.

Interestingly, there are also several settings between the three pre-set sizes (eg: If you highlight the smallest one and then hold “Ctrl” and start tapping the “plus” key, then the highlighting will disappear for the first couple of button presses, but then briefly re-appear on the “medium” setting on the next one). This is well worth playing around with, since it also makes the airbrush a bit softer and more diffuse at larger settings, which can be really useful when painting skies, especially since it can also be used for…

5) Dithering: This is a really old pixel art technique that turns up in a lot of retro videogames. It is used to create smooth gradients and transitions between colours (and realistic-looking shadows).

When you have two areas of different colours meeting each other, then select the “pencil” tool and add a few random dots of one colour to the area just behind the edge of the other one (and use the “zoom” tool to do this precisely). These dots break up the stark line between the two areas and, from a distance, give the impression of a smooth transition or gradient between the two areas.

It looks a bit like this:

This is an example of dithering. The random green dots at the edge of the shadowed area help to give the impression of a softer edge to the shadow when viewed at a distance.

Even doing fairly basic dithering can really add a lot of smoothness to your MS Paint 5.1 artwork and help to avoid the slightly angular, abrupt and “pixellated” look that is often associated with MS Paint artwork.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Two Basic And Random Digital Art Tips

Well, it’s been a while since I last wrote an art-based article, so I thought that I’d talk about making digital art today.

Since “digital art” is a fairly wide category of art, I’ll be writing this article in a fairly general way that will hopefully apply to whatever image editing program you choose to use for your digital art – whether it is an expensive subscription-based one, the default art programs that came with your computer or even an open-source one you can legally download for free.

1) Realistic colours: One of the reasons why digital art can sometimes look amateurish or unrealistic is because the artist has just used the basic default colour palette that came with their program. However, almost every image editing program (even old versions of MS Paint) will also allow you to create custom colours using a colour board – like this:

Four windows of varying sizes, each showing a square or rectangular area containing every possible colour.

These are four examples (including old, new, free and commercial) of a useful feature that almost every image editing program has.

But, one of the best ways to get truly realistic colours is to use your image editor’s colour selection tool. Sometimes this is called “color picker” or “pick color” or a number of other names, but the icon for it in most programs usually looks like a pipette or a dropper. It allows you to set your brush colour to the exact colour of the pixel you click on with it.

This allows you to directly sample actual realistic colours (and, if you aren’t experienced at making art, then it might surprise you that the actual colours of things are subtly different to what you’d expect) from things like photographs, resulting in much more realistic-looking digital art, like this:

An impressionistic digital airbrush painting of dramatic grey clouds above the sea, with a long and thin silhouetted island on the horizon.

This is a reduced-size preview, the full picture will be posted here on the 30th May.

In this digital painting, I made the colours look realistic by using GIMP 2.10’s “colour picker tool” to get some colours from a photo I had taken of the same scene before I prepared the painting. And, although I only sampled about five or six colours from this photo:

A photo of dramatic grey clouds above the sea, with a long and thin island on the horizon.

This is the photo I took several months ago (of the coast at Haslar) before making the digital art.

It resulted in a slightly more realistic-looking piece of digital art when I tried to recreate it a little bit later. So, whatever this tool might look like or be called in your editing program, be sure to experiment with it.

2) Multiple ways of doing things: This is a lot more useful if you’re adding digital elements to traditional art than if you’re just making digital-only art, but it is worth remembering that there are usually multiple ways of doing the same thing in image editing programs – and the most obvious one isn’t always the simplest or best way. So, don’t be afraid to experiment.

For example some editing programs (like GIMP 2.8, 2.10 etc…) include digital lighting effects – where you can add a light source and it will affect the whole image. This can be useful, but a much simpler way to add things like bloom effects to light sources is simply to use a large digital airbrush – of the same colour as the light – in the area around the light sources, like in this (heavily) digitally-edited watercolour painting of mine:

“Dereliction Heights” By C. A. Brown

Another advantage I found with using digital airbrushes to add lighting is that it allows me to much more easily control the amount of light and/or bloom, and allows for multiple light sources in the same image whilst maintaining the clarity of the rest of the picture (which can become washed out or faded if you apply a digital lighting effect to the whole image).

Likewise, when I was going through a 1990s nostalgia phase a couple of years ago, I wanted to add the types of floral patterns that used to be common back then to my art. Originally, this either involved lots of scribbling and painting (with traditional art supplies) or it involved lots of crude airbrushing in MS Paint. But, when messing around with the options on an awesome late 1990s program called “Jasc Paint Shop Pro 6”, I found that by selecting an area and using the “Add Noise” effect before using the “Glowing Edges” effect, I could create something similar to a retro 1990s floral pattern in a fraction of the time:

An image of lots of multicoloured dots that look a bit like a small floral pattern from the 1990s.

Like this.

To give another example, if you want to convert a colour image into a greyscale one, then most programs will have an option for doing this. But, you can also do this yourself by finding the saturation options in your editing program (it’s usually called something like “Hue/Colour/Saturation” or “Hue/Saturation” in the menu) and just lowering the saturation to zero. Yes, this is a little bit more long-winded, but it’ll come in handy for the times when – for example – you only want to convert part of a picture to greyscale etc…

Anyway, the point of these examples is that there are usually multiple ways of doing the thing that you want to do. Whether it involves using a part of the program in a different way to what it was intended for or whether it involves combining several effects in one or more programs, you can not only speed up the artistic process a bit – but also do things that the program doesn’t have a simple one-click option for. So, be sure to experiment and mess around with whatever program you are using.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Why Making “Tech Demo” Paintings Can Make You Feel Inspired Again – A Ramble

Well, it’s been ages since I last wrote an article about making art. And, after having an unusual moment of artistic inspiration recently, I thought that I’d talk about one way to get inspired and/or motivated again if you’ve fallen into a bit of an artistic funk.

A few days before writing this article, I’d been relaxing by watching random online videos about computers when I saw a demonstration of one of the latest graphics cards (which used real time ray tracing and cost several times as much as my entire computer did) and finally understood why some gamers are so obsessed about graphics. The game footage in the demonstration was almost photo-realistic – especially the reflections. Naturally, this made me fascinated about the topic of realistic reflections.

So, I thought “I’ll try to focus on this in my next painting” and to my susprise, focusing on something as boringly technical as this resulted in a much better and more inspired painting than I’d expected. Seeing the painting as a “tech demo” for my own artistic knowledge gave me a reason to make the painting good (including using some digital painting techniques for the sky that I haven’t used in a while and some cloud shading techniques I’d learnt from making a landscape painting a couple of days earlier). It made the painting matter to me. Here’s a detail from the upcoming painting:

A digital and watercolour image showing a cartoon man standing next to a river, with buildings and lights reflected in it.

The full painting will be posted here on the 19th April.

Likewise, after seeing another almost photo-realistic demonstration of two modern game engines running on powerful systems that can use them to their full potential, I became interested in the topic of realistic lighting. Since I had a little bit more time than I’d expected that evening, I decided to put everything I’ve learnt over the past few years about painting light and shadow, about digital image editing etc… into just one painting. To make a painting with the most realistic lighting that I could. To make another “tech demo” painting.

And, because I had a purpose for painting (rather than it just being a part of my daily practice routine), I found that I felt a lot more inspired. The painting not only ended up being a stylised piece of mid-late 2000s nostalgia, but it also led me to experiment with things like using different contrast levels whilst editing the painting and using softer chiaroscuro lighting rather than the more vivid tenebrist lighting that I usually use. Here’s a reduced-size preview of the painting:

An image of a cartoon woman standing in a closed video shop and holding a DVD boxset. Soft light streams through the windows and the back of the shop is shrouded in darkness.

The full-size painting will be posted here on the 22nd April.

So, how can any of this help you feel inspired?

Well, as boring as “tech demo” paintings – where the focus is on technique and/or using everything you’ve already learnt – might sound, they are really useful for feeling inspired and motivated again for at least two reasons.

The first is that it gives you something to focus on and this will automatically give you some instant ideas. For example, if you want to practice or show off everything you’ve learnt about painting reflections, then you’ll need to include a reflective surface (eg: water, a mirror etc..) in your painting. After all, how can you practice painting reflections if there’s nothing reflective? So, you’ve already got part of an idea for your next painting.

Likewise, since the focus is on making one aspect of the painting look good, the rest doesn’t matter as much. For example, in the two paintings I showed you, the backgrounds are actually just generic towns and buildings. They are about the most uninspired and uncreative backgrounds in the world. Yet, I still felt motived and inspired whilst making these paintings because I was focusing a lot more on the reflections and lighting than on interesting backgrounds.

Secondly, it gives your art a purpose and makes you take pride in your work. If you’re feeling uninspired, it can often be because making art either feels like a chore or because it feels meaningless. So, making a painting where the goal is to impress yourself (or possibly other people too) with everything that you’ve learnt about things like lighting, reflections etc… can solve both of these problems. It also pushes you to experiment with new and interesting techniques and ideas (or combinations of stuff you already know) which makes the painting feel more like actual learning and practice rather than just “practice”.

So, if you’re feeling uninspired and you’ve already been practicing art for a while, try making a “tech demo” painting to show off what you already know about one aspect of making art.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Top Ten Articles – June 2019

Well, it’s the end of the month and this means that it’s time for me to collect a list of links to my ten favourite articles about writing fiction, making art etc.. that I’ve posted here this month. As usual, I’ll include a couple of honourable mentions.

All in all, this month’s articles turned out surprisingly well given the hot weather at the time of writing them. Likewise, with my daily art, I finally started making a mixture of realistic landscapes and my more traditional sci-fi/retro art (rather than just landscapes) again 🙂

However, the hot weather affected this month’s reading quite a bit. Although I was able to review 14 books this month, the weather meant that I had to focus more on shorter books, TV show spin-off novels and/or fast-paced novels.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed some of the books I read and my favourite ones from this month are probably: “Martin Misunderstood” by Karin Slaughter, “No Time Like The Past” by Jodi Taylor, “The Eye Of The Beholder” by Marc Behm, “Plague Town” by Dana Fredsti and “The Ectoplasmic Man” by Daniel Stashower.

Anyway, here are the lists 🙂 Enjoy 🙂

Top Ten Articles – June 2019:

– “Three Basic Tips For Writing Gruesome Horror Fiction
– “Three Things Artists Can Learn From Old Survival Horror Videogames
– “Three Reasons Why You Should Abandon A Novel You Don’t Enjoy Reading
– “One Basic Tip For Taking Dramatic Reference Photos In Bright Weather
– “Three Basic Tips For Making ‘Silly’ Stories Compelling
– “Two Basic Tips For When A Genre Won’t Work In Your Chosen Medium
– “Three Reasons Why Reading Regularly Is Important If You’re A Writer
– “Four Wild Tips For Writing Hedonistic Stories
– “Three Tips For Keeping Up Your Reading During Hot Weather
– “Three Things That Novels Can Learn From Computer Games

Honourable Mentions:

– “Three Thoughts About Film Theory And Writing Fiction
– “Finding The Right Writing Style For Your Story – A Ramble

Three Things Artists Can Learn From Old Survival Horror Videogames

Well, it’s been a while since I last wrote an art-based article and, since I’ve returned to making more imaginative art (on a semi-regular basis, at least), I thought that I’d look at a few things that old survival horror videogames can teach artists. Although I’ve almost certainly talked about this topic before, it’s always worth returning to.

If you’ve never heard of survival horror videogames before, they were a genre of horror videogame that was popular during the 1990s and the early-mid 2000s. They were games that used a third-person perspective and had slightly more of an emphasis on exploration, atmosphere, storytelling and/or puzzle-solving than on combat.

Notable examples of the genre include games like “Alone In the Dark“, the first three “Resident Evil” games, the first three “Silent Hill” games and the “Project Zero”/”Fatal Frame” videogame series.

And, if you take artistic inspiration from them, you can make dramatic art that looks a bit like this upcoming digitally-edited painting of mine:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 25th June.

So, what can old survival horror videogames teach us about making art?

1) Perspective and composition: One of the interesting things about survival horror games from the 1990s is that, due to technical limitations, they would often use pre-made 2D backdrops rather than actual 3D locations. What this meant was that the game’s “camera” had to remain in a fixed position in each location (since the background was actually a 2D image). Yet, this technical limitation proved to be one of the best parts of these games. But, why?

Simply put, game designers of the time had to use this limitation to their advantage. In other words, they had to use perspective and composition in interesting and dramatic ways. Here’s an example from “Resident Evil 3” to show you what I mean:

This is a screenshot from the 2000 PC port of “Resident Evil 3” (1999).

Notice how the “camera” lurks far away from the main character, creating a sense of both impending danger and of being an insignificant part of a large uncaring world. Likewise, notice how some dramatic flames and burning pieces of wood have been placed in the close foreground, adding depth to the image and also “framing” the image slightly. All of these things were conscious creative decisions that give this moment in the game a little bit more atmosphere.

In other words, old survival horror games can teach us that both perspective and composition are integral parts of any painting or drawing. When used creatively, they can add instant visual interest and atmosphere to a piece of art.

2) Altered familiarity: If there’s one thing that made old survival horror games so eerily dramatic, it was that they would often take familiar locations and turn them into something a bit more dark and twisted. This contrast between the familiar and the unfamiliar is designed to evoke something that Sigmund Freud called “The Uncanny” and it not only adds instant atmosphere, but it also allows for a lot more visual creativity too.

In addition to the post-apocalyptic settings of “Resident Evil 3”, one of the best examples of this can be found in another horror sequel called “Silent Hill 3“. This is a game that will often take familiar locations (eg: subways, shopping centres, hospitals etc..) and turn them into something eerily terrifying. Here’s an example:

This is a screenshot from the PC version of “Silent Hill 3” (2003)

In this scene from “Silent Hill 3”, an ordinary location (a subway corridor) is turned into something much creepier through the addition of things that you wouldn’t expect to see in this location. The incongruous piles of old junk not only evoke a feeling of dereliction and decay, but they also present a menacing barrier to the player too. Likewise, some faded/dried blood spatter on the wall also helps to add to this sense of menace too.

So, if there’s another thing that old survival horror games can teach artists, it is to be a bit more creative with “familiar” locations. Whether you’re trying to add a sense of ominous horror to your artwork or whether you just want to add some quirky and comedic stuff to your art, don’t be afraid to be a little bit creative with “familiar” locations.

3) The lighting: You knew I was going to mention this. But, it’s worth mentioning anyway. If there’s one visual feature that really makes old survival horror games stand out from the crowd, it is the lighting.

In order to create a dramatic atmosphere, these games were usually either set at night or in gloomy locations of one kind or another. What this meant is that the designers could use lighting creatively. Not only do the dark backgrounds make the lighting stand out even more but it also means that the lighting can be used to draw the player’s attention to particular areas of the picture. Here’s an example from “Resident Evil 2”:

This is a screenshot from the PC version of “Resident Evil 2” (1998)

Notice how most of the foreground is shrouded in shadows, yet the stairs and the corner of the walkway are brightly lit. Not only does this add some visual interest to the picture, but the player is also quite literally being invited to “go into the light”, since the area you’re supposed to walk to (eg: the end of the walkway) is the most brightly-lit part of the picture.

So, what can we learn from this? Simply put, in addition to making sure that 30-50% of the total surface area of your picture is shrouded in gloom (so that the lighting looks more vivid by contrast), it also reminds us that lighting should be used to direct the audience’s attention towards interesting or important parts of the picture.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Two Ways To Save Time Whilst Making Art

As regular readers of this site probably know, I’ve had slightly less time to make art over the past few months than I did before (mostly due to all sorts of things, such as doing the reading for the book reviews that appear here, other creative projects etc..). However, I was determined to keep posting daily paintings here, even if this required some fairly major changes.

Or, to put it another way, this is what my paintings look like when I have a bit more time:

“Formation” By C. A. Brown

And this is what they look like when I’ve got slightly less time:

“Tipner Lake – Mist” By C. A. Brown

So, what are the differences and how do they save time?

1) The most time-consuming part of making a painting isn’t what you think: If you’re new to making art, it can be easy to think that the most time-consuming part of making a painting or a drawing is the actual painting or drawing itself. Or perhaps waiting for the paint to dry (unless you’re using oil paint, in which case it possibly is). Surprisingly, this isn’t true.

The most time-consuming part of making a painting is working out what to paint. And, if you’re painting from imagination, then you can sometimes spend just as long thinking of ideas as you do drawing or painting. Yes, this will result in more distinctive, unique and creative paintings that look like this:

“Haunted Mansion” By C. A. Brown

“Cyberpunk Ruins” By C. A. Brown

But, it takes time and, if you’ve got less time and still want to make impressive-looking paintings, then this can be one thing to cut without sacrificing technical quality. But, how do you do this?

There are several ways of doing this (eg: still life paintings, making new versions of your older paintings, making studies of out-of-copyright historical paintings, making non-commercial fan art or making art based on photos you’ve taken). Personally, I seem to have gone for the photo-based approach, since there’s more room for artistic licence- like this:

(Click for larger image) As you can see, the source photo and the finished painting are both similar and different.

Even so, this approach does reduce the amount of creativity you can use in your art. Still, as a way of making ok-looking art in half the time, it can work quite well.

2) Digital is your friend: Simply put, if you’re primarily posting your art on the internet (and aren’t selling physical originals), then it is well worth learning how to use an image editing program or two (there are even free open-source ones on the internet, if you don’t have one).

This doesn’t mean that you should make entirely digital art, but you’d be surprised at, with practice, how much quicker it can be to add colours to scans or digital photos of hand-drawn line art digitally than waiting for paints to dry etc.. Although I’ve found that this approach works best for greyscale art, it can be a great way to trim 10-20 minutes off of a picture if you’re in a real hurry.

Here’s an example of this in one of my upcoming pieces of photo-based art (based on a photo I took of Tipner Lake near Portsmouth) which, if I remember rightly, only took me an hour or so to make.

(Click for larger image) This is an example of how I turned some hand-drawn line art into a greyscale digital painting.

Yes, this will look different to using actual paints (and I often just use digital tools for enhancing/improving my traditional paintings). But, if you’re in a rush and you know what you’re doing, then it can certainly shave a few minutes off of the time it takes you to finish a piece of art.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Is There An Artistic Equivalent Of A “Live Version” Of A Song? – A Ramble

Well, since I’m still going through a bit more of a musical phase than usual, I thought that I’d try a bit of a thought experiment – is there any kind of visual art equivalent of a “live version” of a song?

I started thinking about this because I’ve been listening to a live album from 2006-8 by a heavy metal band called Gamma Ray. One surprising thing about this album is that a couple of the live recordings on the album sound significantly different to live recordings of the same songs on another one of Gamma Ray’s live albums from 1995.

In this eleven-year time gap, the live recording of a song called “Man On A Mission” has gone from this epic, soaring, deep thing (in the 1995 live version) to a significantly faster, lighter and more eccentric song in the 2006 recording. I’m not sure which version I prefer, but it’s a perfect example of how live recordings allow musicians to rearrange and reinterpret their songs.

Of course, there’s also the contrast between the live version of a song and the studio version too. Some songs (like “Generator” by Bad Religion) sound better in studio recordings and some songs (like “Ever Dream” by Nightwish) sound better in live recordings.

Obviously, there isn’t really a direct equivalent to all of this when it comes to making art. By definition, most paintings or drawings are “studio versions”. Yes, there are things like time-lapse art videos, street art etc… but these often involve the creation of totally new pieces of art rather than repeating a familiar piece of art, in the way that a musician might play a familiar song during every concert.

So, we’ll have to be a bit more indirect. In other words, we need to look at the underlying qualities that make live recordings of music so interesting. These include things like variation, rawness and audience interaction.

Variation is fairly easy to include in visual art. Simply put, just make multiple versions of the same painting (at different times, or with different materials) and/or multiple paintings about the same subject. For example, here are two versions of the same digitally-edited painting that were made about two or three years apart from each other:

“Trendy 90s Cafe” By C. A. Brown [2014/15]

“Trendy 90s Cafe (II)” By C. A. Brown [2017/18]

Although this is a great way to measure your progress as an artist, it also allows us to do what musicians do and reinterpret our “greatest hits” in new ways. Yes, it isn’t really the same as a live performance, but it allows us to do one of the things that makes live versions of songs so interesting.

As for “roughness” or “rawness” – just try using more basic, minimalist or primitive tools. For example, I once tried to recreate a photograph I took in 2009 using MS Paint:

This is a comparison of a photo I took and my attempt at recreating it in MS Paint.

As for audience interaction, this one is fairly self-explanatory. But, if you don’t have the time to reply to comments etc.. then one way to add some audience interaction to your art is simply to accompany each picture of painting with a short paragraph that explains either how or why you made that particular piece of art (kind of like how musicians will sometimes introduce songs during live performances).

So, no, there’s no direct equivalent to a “live version” of a song in the visual arts. But, if we look at the underlying elements that make live versions of songs so interesting (eg: variations, rawness etc..) then we can use those underlying things to make our art more interesting.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂