Digital Painting: It All Starts With A Pencil and Paper

On Saturday the 16th of February, 2019, Hi-Tech Animation, one of the leading training institutes in the country, hosted a seminar on digital painting. It was held at the auditorium of ILead Business school from 11 am to 2 pm. In attendance were students across several branches of the academy as well as CG professionals from the production house under the umbrella banner.

The seminar was conducted by Mr. Saurabh Chakraborty, one of the finest digital artists in Kolkata right now. After more than a decade of experience working in leadership and managerial roles across some of the most prestigious studios in the city, today, Mr. Chakraborty is one the most coveted and sought after freelance digital artists in Kolkata.

The objective of the seminar was to instill in the hearts and minds of the attending pupils the importance of free-hand drawing on a regular basis. The “back-to-the-basics” session was conducted with the purpose of removing any lingering apprehensions, anxiety or fear associated with practicing drawing. For many in the audience who did not have a background in art or were unsure of their proficiency, Mr. Chakraborty reiterated time and again how easy and interesting the business of art was and how quickly you could convert your vocation into not only your passion but, in fact, an addiction.

Thanks to the development of powerful tools such as texture- mapping and wire-framing, animation is no longer the prerogative of the artistically inclined or accomplished alone. Furthermore, the recent advent of user-friendly techniques in classic animation software such as Whiteboard & Adobe Flash has only served to attract more individuals with negligible initiation in either drawing or painting to this field. For those without a background in the arts, Mr. Chakraborty’s seminar was a welcome opportunity to incite interest and passion in the practice of mimicking life on a blank canvas.

Acutely aware of the need of the moment, Mr. Chakraborty broke the ice at his seminar by declaring to the room full of audience that one of the benefits of being a freelancer was that he was perpetually unemployed! He then went on to explain to the bemused audience that the great thing about being a freelancer was that he had an enormous amount of time to think and ponder. This afforded him the opportunity to not only ask why but also, why not.

The first step towards developing the instincts of an artist is to be absolved of any fear associated with drawing or painting. This becomes easy when we realize that drawing, as a process and practice, can be as simple as doodling. Bored from the monotony? Just grab a pencil and a piece of paper and start drawing a stick figure. Why? Because even the greatest masterpieces in the world begin with a line.

Almost the entire seminar was conducted by Mr. Chakraborty with the help of Photoshop software. With it, he demonstrated how, beginning with just a 2-dimensional stick figure, we can eventually “flesh” out a structure in the form of hands, legs, eyes and other features such as nose, hair and lips. In the course of the seminar, Mr. Chakraborty demonstrated how to create depth perception on a 2-dimension screen. Through a series of breath-taking pictures, he showed how an experienced artist draws the eyes of his viewers towards the object and purpose of his art – the principal in his painting.

The highlight of the seminar was, undoubtedly, the scenic painting of a forest with a deer in it from scratch to finish. What began as just a few rough strokes on a pen tablet that transformed into deep black lines on the white screen of Photoshop culminated, with the help of just a handful of techniques and tools readily available to anybody reasonably hands-on with the software, into an elegant and serene depiction of peace and harmony in nature. For those of us intimidated by the beauty and complexity of mesmerizing art, the simplicity of the creative process was a gentle reminder that in the hands of a maestro, even the most formidable and daunting tasks look like child’s play.

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