Thursday, June 3, 2010

Weekly Sketch #17: Pargat Singh

Who?! Just some random person from a village. Original photo is by Gurbir Singh Brar, who is another addition to my "Awesome Photographers" list along with Charles Meacham. Its really good practice for painting. For sketching, I actually look at real people, in somewhat crowded (and recently sweaty) locations...

There are other photographers whom I admire but I haven't gotten around to studying stuff from their photographs yet (Nick Fleming and Nihang Teja Singh, for example). My reason for using the photographs from Flickr (other than it being a famous photo sharing system) is that when I first started painting Sikh history on the computer (Mata Bhag Kaur), I got an amazing response from the community there. Their comments were very encouraging and pushed me until I built up some momentum (leading eventually to Battle of Chamkaur). It's sort of my way of giving back, by promoting the community a bit. Big thanks goes to Photo08 (first comment), Avnit Kaur, Laadli Fauj and Simmal Tree for their constant enthusiasm about my paintings. There were many others (including Kanwar Singh and Jathedar), as well.

I was supposed to be working on Akali Phula Singh lately, hoping that I would finish by... well, today! But by the end of last week I found myself, working on Banda Singh Bahadur. After several different thumbnails and sketches, I decided to keep the painting I had developed. I found a way to improve the battle scene by reworking some stuff (everything). The painting was all on one layer, so I separated each figure into its own layer. I find this saves a lot of time when working with complex paintings with a lot of pieces... like a puzzle only in 2.5-dimensions (overlappping pieces!).
Battle of Chamkaur had about 100 different layers (no I did not count them). One for each figure (sometimes their weapons/shield/clothes were on separate layers), several layers for the armies in the back, and several layers for just Sahibzada Ajit Singh alone. This significantly helped me keep the whole thing organized for one, and two, I could mess with different figures without screwing up the rest! Now there's a tip for photoshop students... and here's a tip for traditional students... plan the painting, before you start painting! ...which reminds me, I should get to my traditional works sometime this summer...

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