Two Things That Remaking Your Old Art Will Show You (Apart From Your Skill Level)


For today, I thought that I’d look at a few things (other than improvements in your skill level) that making new versions of your older works of art will show you. For best results, it’s usually a good idea to wait until a piece of art is at least 1-2 years old before attempting to create a new version of it.

So, here are two other things than how much better you’ve got at making art that remaking your old art can show you:

1) Your influences: Whilst writing yesterday’s article, I went looking for a painting that I remembered making in 2015. When I saw this painting, I just had to remake it. But, something interesting happened when I did…

Here’s the painting from 2015:

"Data Tower" By C. A. Brown [2015]

“Data Tower” By C. A. Brown [2015]

And here’s a reduced-size preview of the new version, which will be posted here in December:

This is a reduced-sized preview, the full-size painting will appear here on the 17th December.

This is a reduced-sized preview, the full-size painting will appear here on the 17th December.

As you can tell, both versions look radically different. This is mostly because of all of the extra inspirations I’ve found in the time between making these paintings.

When I made the original painting in 2015, the two main influences were “Blade Runner” and a game called “Dark Forces“. But, when I made the remake, I’d also been influenced by other things in the sci-fi/cyberpunk genre like these “Doom II” levels, “System Shock“, “Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex“, “Technobabylon” etc… too.

So, remaking an old painting in your current style can be a great way to see how many extra influences you’ve picked up.

2) Your best works: Generally speaking, you can find out a lot about what your “greatest hits” are by seeing which of your old paintings or drawings you really want to remake.

Whilst everyone’s motivations for remaking a piece of art might differ, it often happens because you want to see what one of your favourite pictures looks like at the highest level of quality that you can produce. In other words, you probably want to see a clearer picture of what you really wanted to draw when you had less experience.

This can be a good way to find a group of paintings or drawings you can show off if you ever need to give a brief overview of your art to anyone. Seeing which paintings you’ve remade (or want to remake) can be a quick way to find your own collection of “classics”.

Likewise, if you try to remake a picture and find that any remake doesn’t look as good as the original does, then this is usually a sign that the original is one of your best works because it has stood the test of time (although it can sometimes mean that you need to wait longer before remaking it). For example, here’s a painting of mine called “La Chanteuse” that was posted here in 2016:

"La Chanteuse" By C. A. Brown [2016]

“La Chanteuse” By C. A. Brown [2016]

I really like this painting! It’s dramatic, gothic and atmospheric. So, naturally, I tried to remake it about a year or so later. The remake was an absolute failure – although the lighting looks slightly more realistic and the characters are more well-drawn on a technical level, the remake just really doesn’t have the same atmosphere and ambience that the original did:

"La Chanteuse (II)" By C. A. Brown

“La Chanteuse (II)” By C. A. Brown

So, if you really want to remake a painting and/or if the remake doesn’t turn out as well as the original, then this usually means that it’s one of your best works.


Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art (18th August 2017)

Well, due to feeling uninspired and being in a slight rush before making today’s digitally-edited painting, I decided to remake one of my favourite paintings that I posted here in 2016 called “La Chanteuse”.

If I remember rightly, the original 2016 version was made during my ‘limited palette’ phase. But, since I use a different palette these days and have focused more on practicing lighting, I decided to give this painting a slightly different “look” to the original version.

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

"La Chanteuse (II)" By C. A. Brown

“La Chanteuse (II)” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (8th July 2017)

Unfortunately, due to being in a fairly terrible mood, I was feeling extremely uninspired when I made this digitally-edited painting. Literally, the only way I could actually make a painting was to remake one of my old paintings (this old one from 2015, to be precise).

Still, for something I made on a bad day, this remake still ended up looking a lot better than something I made on a good day in 2015. So, yes, regular practice works!

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

"Orb (II)" By C. A. Brown

“Orb (II)” By C. A. Brown

Three More Tips For Remaking Your Old Art (Plus Two Art Previews :) )

2017 Artwork Remaking old art

Although I’ve probably talked about this before, I thought that I’d take a look at the subject of remaking your old art. There are a lot of reasons why this can sometimes be a good idea – it’s a quick source of ideas when you’re feeling uninspired, it’s a way to see how much your art skills have improved etc… but it’s something that every artist should do every now and then.

Still, if you haven’t really done it before, then I thought that I’d provide you with a few handy tips:

1) Don’t be afraid to make changes: When you’re remaking an old painting, then don’t try to copy it verbatim. Keep the basic “idea” of the painting and try to replicate any distinctive features of the painting but, when it comes to things like perspective, composition, colour schemes, lighting, small details etc… don’t be afraid to make a few changes. Treat it as a totally new painting, but one which you have a few guidelines for.

Remember, the whole point of a remake is to show off (if only to yourself) how much your art has improved or changed since you made the original painting.

Sometimes, these changes will work out and sometimes they won’t- but the best kind of remakes generally tend to preserve the basic core of the original thing, whilst also making a lot of interesting changes too. When this actually goes well, you can really end up surprising yourself.

For example, here’s a horror-themed painting of mine that was posted here early last year:

"Late Return" By C. A. Brown

“Late Return” By C. A. Brown

This is one of my favourite “recent” old paintings and it was one that I’ve wanted to remake for a while.

But, when I eventually got round to remaking it, I found that the improved remake actually looked very different. Although the full painting won’t be posted here until mid-late April, here’s a reduced-size preview of it:

 The full-size painting won't appear here until April.

The full-size painting won’t appear here until April.

As you can probably tell, I spontaneously ended up using a different perspective (since it seemed like a good idea). I also used a larger colour palette (since the original painting was made at the very beginning of my “limited palette” phase). But, most of all, I was able to apply all of the new knowledge about realistic shading, digital editing techniques etc.. that I’d learnt since I made the original painting.

2) Give it some time: If I remember rightly, the last time I wrote about remaking old art, I said that you should wait at least a year until you remake an old piece of art.

Thinking about it more, this time limit is possibly a bit excessive. I mean, since I make my art ridiculously far in advance, the was actually only about a ten-month gap between the times I actually made the two paintings that I showed you earlier (even if they will be posted here more than a year apart).

Still, you should probably wait at least six months, if not more, before remaking your old art. This is mostly because you need to give yourself time to practice and learn more than you did when you made the original painting. But, if a mildly old piece of art interests you enough to warrant a remake, then don’t hold yourself to arbitrary time limits.

One of the reasons why remakes are so interesting is because they show how much you’ve improved – so, give yourself time to improve!

3) Start from the source: If you’re remaking a painting that is based on something else (eg: a fan art painting, a study of an old painting, a painting from a photograph, a still life etc..), then go back to the original source material when making your remake. Don’t base your remake on your old painting or drawing, base it on the thing that that drawing or painting is based on instead.

The reason for this is that, since you’ve learnt more, you’ll probably be able to copy the source material with a greater degree of detail, accuracy and/or intelligent artistic licence than you did when you made your old painting. However, if you only base your remake on the old painting, then you will be limited to copying whatever you could copy back then.

To give you an example, here’s an old fan art painting (itself a remake) that is based on a live music video from the 1980s. I originally posted this picture here in 2015:

"Fan Art - Ghost Dance - Celebrate 1986 (II)" By C. A. Brown

“Fan Art – Ghost Dance – Celebrate 1986 (II)” By C. A. Brown

And here’s a reduced-size preview of a new remake that should be posted here in a couple of days. This remake was made by looking at the music video again and treating the remake as a totally new painting:

The full-size painting should appear here on the 11th.

The full-size painting should appear here on the 11th.

As you can see, I was able to include a lot more complex lighting and detail than I was in the remake from 2015. This was because I based my new remake on the original source material, rather than just copying the previous one. So, always go back to the source material if you’re remaking art that is based on something else.


Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art (29th June 2016)

Well, today’s painting is a re-make of one of my older paintings (“Chainmail And Chainsaws”), since it’s been about a year since I last posted a re-make of it and, well, I wanted a quick and easy idea for a painting.

The previous versions of this painting were made in 2014 and in 2015. This version is slightly different, since it uses a limited palette (this is a technique that I only really started practicing since the second half of last year at the very least).

However, I ended up making some fairly significant digital edits to this painting after scanning it, because I hadn’t mixed the orange consistently. Basically, it originally looked like both duellists were covered in blood (rather than the glow from the sparks that their chainsaws were creating).

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

"Chainmail And Chainsaws (III)" By C. A. Brown

“Chainmail And Chainsaws (III)” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (7th August 2015)

Well, I was still feeling uninspired – so, I ended up making a new version of one of my favourite paintings that I made last year. As usual, I’ll include both versions for comparison.

Both of the pictures in this post are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Vintage Voyage (II)" By C. A. Brown

“Vintage Voyage (II)” By C. A. Brown

And here’s the version from 2014:

"Vintage Voyage" By C. A. Brown [JUNE 2014]

“Vintage Voyage” By C. A. Brown [JUNE 2014]