Peloponnese Coast – first landscape

Something bothers me about this landscape and I can’t put my finger on it.

I started off based on a photo, so the coast line is pretty accurate, except that there was a tree in the foreground which I thought was taking focus off the real star here: the sea and the multiple coast plans that keep perpetuaiting in the horizon until it melts in the mist of the sea.

I’m also happy with the way the mountains disappear in the clouds with a kind of a pinkish halo, I think that came out quite realistic. The clouds are quite realistic in my opinion, and absolutely love the little ray that goes down on the middle coast.

peloponnese-coastNow enough with the things I like about it, there are many things I don’t like. First, the foreground if too big – the big part in black below. I didn’t really know what to do with it, and I kind of just left it there. I’m not very happy with the middle chain of mountains eiter – I guess they look much better than what I had initially drawn, but there’s something I could have done better – especially in the part where the land meets the sea.

Finally, I should have studied more the sea, but I don’t feel too sure of myself with some of the photoshop tools, so I guess I will just have to keep practicing. One thing I will try next time is to use textures and the lasso – which apparently really help with the lighting and controling what is modified and what is not.

I used several brushes, mostly however I used this set of dry-oil brushes: You can kind of see the edge of the brush on top of the middle mountain range.

I’ve also used quite a lot the dodge and burn tools, colour / hue / saturation adjustments. No liquify tool this time though 🙂 The final touch was a layer of pink (something like this) which I applied in overlay only on the upper half of the painting. This made the sky look grey and grim, while the sea was left vibrant, since in my head this was a local storm (in the background you can notice that the light really brightens up and slides under the clouds carried by the moisture. So the storm just passed, the clouds are going away and we see the first ray of light coming through the clouds.

All that is missing here is a trireme making its way to a little port somewhere on the coastline 🙂 and perhaps a hoplite or two mounting guard in the foreground. Okay, I might work this landscape more !

Thanks a lot Istebrak for your amazing landscape tutorial: 


Wacom, what does this button do?

No drawing today, but a more technical note on my brand new Wacom intuos tablet I purchased – of course – on Amazon at little over 60 € (I guess 70 dollars).

I was a bit skeptical at first, because it is not a tablet per se, meaning  there is no screen and you do not draw like you would on a blank piece of paper. Instead, it looks like a giant laptop mousepad with grey dots – which I imagine are part of the sensor system that helps locate your pen on the screen.

It takes a bit of practice to get used to, but most of all it has to have a practical setup according to what you use most while drawing. To learn how to setup your tablet in a few quick steps, it’s best to have a look at these tutorials and pretty much follow what Aaron Rutten is doing (that’s what I did).

You basically have 6 buttons which you can set up to do a particular action (4 on the tablet and two on the pen). The tools I use most are the brush (duh), the eye-drop tool, infinite undo (Ctrl+Alt+Z) and changing thmywacomsetupe size of the brush. So naturally, I set up my tablet to respond to my four basic needs, but I also placed these functions according to what I felt was more practical. So, here is my setup at the moment:

I haven’t decided what to do with the right buttons yet, but I would be curious to know what you guys would recommend.

There are probably more expensive tablets out there, with loads of other functions, but for my needs (meaning painting for fun not as a job), I think this is a very reasonable option.