Culling and Naming Brushes; Brutal


I am so excited.  Open Studio starts next Saturday at Digital Art Academy.  We are going to study sumi-e painting, which is one of my favorite art forms.

To get ready, I started researching sumi-e by watching You Tube “how to” videos and trying it myself in Painter 11.  Guess what?  It “ain’t” so easy, at least not digitally.  To make life simpler, I decided to create some brushes that I thought would make the process easier.  Did I just write that?  Anybody got any whiteout?

Simple, easy, and brush creation do not belong in the same paragraph.  Brush creation can be frustrating, and it can be satisfying.  In Painter 11, there are a seemingly infinite number of controls, yet the one tweak that I need to make the perfect brush is just out of reach, so frustrating.  However in the search for the ideal brush for sumi-e, many flawless brushes for different styles develop, which can be very satisfying.

Many does not describe the actual reproduction phenomenon.  Brushes ripen in numbers equal to the spore of a mushroom.  In case you don’t know, that’s a whole bunch.  So, I need to cull and name.  Have you ever tried to name a brush.  Think about it.  It has a stick and some bristles.  What do you name something like that? If you think about it, digital brushes have neither stick nor bristles, but are pretend brushes.  The difference between digital and traditional will have to wait until another day, besides, the function of the brush is most important.

I like the name of the brush to reflect its function, but that isn’t always so easy.  In this current set, I made a brush I called curly leaf because it made a curly leaf.  But then I proceeded to make 11 variations of that brush, each called curly leaf followed by a number; curly leaf 1, 2, 3, etc.  I know, it is not very original, but in the heat of tweaking, naming is not a high priority.

Tweaking is over; naming and culling are hot.  In my last set, I had descriptive names like rouge, powder, lipstick, and I have a mind to continue descriptive names with this set.  If I do, there will be names like Iris Blade, Carnation Splash, and Thistle Prickles.  I wonder if I have the first signs of dementia.   

Okay, so I am naming and culling; luckily, I have experience.  I used to raise fancy goldfish.  Some babies got named and some got eaten by the Red Oscars.  Naming and culling can be brutal.  Mistakes will be made.

Here is a sample page of the brushes that have made the first cut, but are yet to be named and still in danger of being culled. 

Masterpiece in the works

Brushes from the first cull

Notice how similar they look at first glance.  So, how do I decide who makes the grade.  For me it is through application.  Normally, I don’t start creating a set of brushes without some idea of their function.  In this case, I’m interested in sumi-e.  I need brushes that can help me create the essence of a form, without giving too many details.

Want to see some brushes in action.  Check out this video.

In another post, I’ll talk about tweaking brushes, but today, all I can think about is culling, naming and getting ready for Open Studio.