A place for Drachenwald's scribes to hang out, learn, discuss and critique each others work.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

learning to paint 3D

Inspired by Jane Grey's prayerbook, I'm looking at later-period MS and finding many beautiful items...but I don't (yet) have the skills to do the art justice.

This month the British Library is featuring the 'Golf Book' on its blog. It's not a book about golf, but it does contain a miniature showing men playing proto-golf (calendar pg for September, 27r, apparently).

The book is no longer complete, but the intact miniatures are attributed to Simon Bening, one of the great 16th c Flemish artists.

I'm paging through it and find things like this:

Glorious, isn't it.

See all the shadows and details in the intials, iwth the shading as if there was light shining on the goldy-brassy capital letters? 

I wanna paint that, and I don't know how. I'd settle just for the initials and text area, leaving aside the gothic borders and tracery.

I've had a go at doing shaded initials before, but a recent experience shows me that I really don't know what I'm doing. I feel like I'm painting things in the wrong order, and just making a mess of what is probably a straightforward process.

Does anyone know of decent how-to instructions, for painting figures with perspective/shadowing/3D effects? I have a half-dozen books at home, but as yet, I haven't 'clicked' onto the process and I think it will be embarrassingly easy, once I know how. Please advise!


Ari said...

I can almost do the painting (almost--didn't do badly on Valeria's ffraid), but initials like that and the ones where the acanthus leaves wrap like in Egerton 1146--I just haven't "clicked" on how to do them. I've tried sketching, dark first, light first--and I can't get the flowing effect.

I'd be interested in learning how.

Merlyn said...

It's primarily about deciding where the light source will be coming from and then doing the shading accordingly. I often take a real world object and light it the same way i think the light is going to be on the scroll and try to use that as a sort of directive for the painting.You need your highlights to be high to low and the low lights from low to high just like real shading.The shadows closest to your object will the darkest and so on.

Some nice links on Trompe l'oeil painting.Not exactly manuscript work but the techniques apply.



Merlyn said...
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Crystal Marinelli said...

I have done things like this - some with more success than others. I find it works best to do the mid-range shade first, then add darker and lighter paint over the top, carefully blending with minimal water.

With this initial, I'd sketch the letter, paint the background, then add the letter over the top. Then touch up the background as needed.

The Ghent-Bruges school were masters of this, so if you want more detailed information and history, start your research there.

Hobbitomm said...

I've done something similar- my first maiolica plate had an 'artificial direction of illumination' in terms of where all the shading was. I cheated, since I was largely copying from the original, but I think what you need to do is define where your 'light source is', and insert high and lowlights to match.