Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Elliott Ness Illustration Video

This is a process video of an illustration I finished a few months ago for Inside Business Magazine. I work primarily in Painter and Photoshop with an Intuos III Wacom tablet. I compose dozens of layers while slowly building form and color, similar to the way I used to work with acrylics. I actually find that the digital process allows me greater control over the finished look compared to my acrylics and oils. The biggest downside is that I don't have an original painting when I'm done.


  1. Excellent demo Ryan! Have you thought about getting a Cintiq? I love mine!

    I need to get back to using painter. I have had file size issues with the program in the past but just got a new computer.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks, Christina!

    I've heard good things about the Cintiq setup. One of these days I'll have to check one out.

    I usually flatten my files every so often to keep them from overloading my CPU. Certain tools still manage to drag but for the most part my Macbook Pro seems to keep up.

  3. Ryan,
    Thanks - that was terrific! I've also thought about reinstalling an older version of Painter I've not fully explored or used...this is good incentive. I especially liked seeing how you worked the face out of a medium tone - really nice work. Are you turning the piece within the program for a better drawing angle? I've found that to be an issue working with the Wacom but it didn't occur to me to try that - doh. Also how large is the working piece in bytes/inches? I can see how the layers would start to overwhelm your system.

    Best of the new year to you!


  4. Thanks, John!

    Painter IX was really the first version that I found very useful. I haven't upgraded yet so I'm not sure how the latest version compares.
    I do turn the piece for better drawing angles; option + spacebar in Painter. I wish Photoshop offered the same thing.
    Since I rarely allow the layers to exceed 15 or so before flattening, the file size usually stays below 20-30 MB. Most of my pieces are done at about 8" x 12", 300 dpi. It's tempting to work larger but things really start to drag beyond that.