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Intermission - Hippo

Charcoal Drawing

Hippos, I absolutely adore their smushy looking faces. I know they are pretty much the most dangerous animal in all of Africa (other than humans, who are more dangerous than any animal anywhere really), but I have a hard time not wishing I could give one of them a pat on the nose or a hug. I'm thankfully intelligent enough I wouldn't try it, but it would take all my self control for sure. I have always loved doing a charcoal sketch. I don't know, pastels may actually be my favourite medium, but charcoals are just the black and white version for me. I love blending and smearing to create shade and softness. I took a stage make-up class and was asked by the instructor to go work for the Portland Theater company, and she said one of the things I she said was that I was especially good at blending. When I do digital painting, half of what I do is use the smudge tool and go over and over an area to blend it, add more colour and smudge it some more. I know many artists do not view digital painting as actual art, many non-artists do as well. I'm self taught with my digital and I'm not sure how most people do it. The way I do a digital painting is the same way I do a pastel painting, but with a whole lot more layers and it takes an awful lot longer. Because of the nature of a digital painting, and how long I work on a single painting, I can get much closer to photo realism. I can't erase completely, especially when I'm adding on top of what I've already done, when I'm doing charcoal or pastel, and certainly not with watercolour paint. With digital you can totally remove something if it is bothering you and you don't damage the other layers. For instance, I always do the eye on a separate layer, do a base colour layer as a sketch, might do the ears on a different layer, add in shading, add another layer with texture for fur in one area, etc.. I have ended up with 40 layers before on one painting and it took over a month to paint. A charcoal sketch, I do not get the level of detail obviously, for one thing I cannot zoom in and work on small sections. That is one of the reasons though that it is frustrating when I get the "oh, you do digital painting, I like using filters too", or to be told that someone would buy my art but they want to buy real art, not a digital painting. It honestly got to the point there when I was primarily doing digital painting that I was starting to feel as if maybe I wasn't really an artist, just pretending to be one. It is so easy to doubt yourself, and I'm very good at that.

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