3 ways to paint a believable red sunset

Have you ever tried to paint a red sunset?

If you have, then you know it’s hard.

This April we were able to witness a red sunset one night because of a sandstorm in Sahara. Even though I live all the way in Finland, the dust particles in the atmosphere carried out their visual sight effects all the way here.

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VIDEO: How to get the most out of your Cintiq 13″HD

A feeling of disconnection, frustration with wires, feeling like a robot, backhurt, armhurt, discomfort… all these can be part of digital drawing experience. Sometimes many of these can be caused because of your equipment, or more specifically, your tablet.

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Simplified light physics for better colour choices

Hey again!

I’ve been really thinking about this blog topic for a long time now. I will try to keep it short but as simple and informative as I can.

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Environment Painting Process video

Why make a ”cooldown” painting? Because they are fun! They are quick paintings that I make to connect an emotion I have at the moment. It is very relaxing and like meditation to me — like exhaling everything that you have experienced that day. Here’s a sped up process on one of them.

Hope you enjoy the video! Here it is.

If you have any questions let me know and I will try to answer!


Get things done by letting go

In the beginning of 2020, I posted almost every day to Instagram, was making digital paintings and watercolor paintings, taking a course at CGMA, all while making my book and writing my blog. All that was in addition to my day job as a game artist. To some, it looked like a lot, so I got some messages asking how am I able to do it without external help.

When it comes to mindset, one of he biggest mind shift that helped me get things done is letting myself to be average when it comes to personal work. In creativity and productivity there needs to be a freedom to explore, and if you don’t give yourself that freedom, you can easily get stuck. To read more about that, read my previous blog post https://illuzzcom.wordpress.com/2019/12/31/i-want-you-to-be-average-in-2020/

There are also other background factors that grant me a lot of free time and energy. Here are what I consider to be the biggest ones.

1. Getting sleep, food and exercise

It’s funny that no matter how old you are: just like so many of us, you might be still struggling with finding a balance with these basic needs. It’s easy to miss and go to an extreme, and forget that if you eat only broccoli and chicken it’s a recipe for a miserable life. Finding a balance can be a lifelong mission.

There are lots of trends out there that promise that if you follow them, your life will transform. However, we are all different in some ways. My advice is to get to know yourself and not follow any given trends too strictly without bending the rules. Modify them to suit you, to a point you feel you could do this routine/rule willingly for five years. If you know what types of foods and activities make you feel good, you can try to design your life in a way that helps you automatically grab them.

If you can find a way to make it easy or even automatic for you, you can focus on more fun things, instead of maintaining an ”optimal” sense of self, which isn’t optimal if you have to constantly use energy, or even suffer, to maintain it. The best routines are the ones that add joy and postiive structure to your day, in my opinion.

For extra depth and ideas, I recommend a book I’ve been reading called Atomic habits by James Clear, which is a great insight to human psychology and how we can best design our environments to support better choices. Here’s a link to the book.

2. Good mood = good art

It’s a funny myth that a sad artist produces great work. However, this couldn’t be more the opposite. When we are happy, it’s easy to happily work and focus. This is also one of the most important aspects that I like to give my credit to. When things are great with your family and friends and you have a positive trust that life is going to be alright, it is much easier to put your energy into creativity. When I look back and look at the moments when I was under a lot of stress in my personal life, it wasn’t easy to focus.

Sometimes the pressure to perform can come from the outside, and sometimes from the inside. Are you demanding too much from yourself? If you do, can you allow yourself to make mistakes and be average this time? Life has the opportunity to become more joyful if you allow yourself explore and see a bad sketch as part of the process. If you’re able to breathe, you can exhale creative things. I

3. Turn those bad days into art?

Sometimes we all have bad days, no matter how positive we try to be. We’re only humans. And we can only control so much. In fact, if you had a day when everything went to hell, and you’d still be smiling, you might live in denial. It’s okay to feel crappy sometimes.

Especially in the dark season, especially in Finland, you can start to feel more negative towards the evening even if you had a good day. If that’s the case, try taking that emotion, fueling it with suitable music and turn it into art. That’s the best thing about art: it takes the common disappointments and pain in life and turns it into something entertaining, something worth getting off the floor for.

Also having differents kind of situations at work can spark out ideas that could be worth illustrating. Even just a bus ride, or a said sentence can fuel an idea – even when it’s negative. How about a comic strip that expresses the absurdity of what you experienced?

4. Combine habits

Did you get hooked on binge watching and suddenly time just went by? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

What comes to consuming entertaining material, I try to be mindful about things that consume my time more than is necessary. If you want to watch a show to relax, maybe just one episode of a comedy show is enough? Nathan Fowkes once said: If you have a guilty pleasure that sucks the time that you could use for art and studies, it has to go. I’m not as extreme with his view, but I understand where he is coming from. With thins like Netflix it’s just too darn easy to say: I’ll just watch one show to relax, and then I’ll paint. And then you watch four and notice it’s too late to practice.

It can be tough to get out of a habit, but awareness is your friend. Maybe you could decide to put the show as background after first episode and sketch out the characters from the movie or series?

As a whole summary:

if you make your life comfortable and enjoyable, it’s easy to get things done. Allow yourself to be average and also allow yourself to express the absurdity of life in the way you experience it. If you feel like there’s a sense of purpose in your creations that is bigger than you, it can also help you motivate yourself on the moments when you ask yourself: why am I doing it and does it matter to anyone? Sometimes when you are pushing through an uncomfortable moment in the process, that subsurface motivation could come really handy.

So here we go, let me know in the comments what you think about these tips or if you’d want more blog posts like this.

Hope you enjoy your weekend!

I want you to be average in 2020

2020 is almost here, and that’s a wonderful number. It deserves some looking back and reflecting, and maybe a vision for your upcoming decade. Maybe you’re planning to go out to gym every morning and lose weight? Finish all the projects, do all the courses, study all the aspects of art, read all the books and be the best version of yourself?

Sure thing, do all those things.

It can be inspiring to set up goals.

But once you have put down all the things you want to do, do you know what are going to be the most important to you? You have to start from something and your time is limited.

How do you choose the right project to do first? And do you chop out the time from the exercise or from somewhere else? How will planning those things sit with another possible goal of taking care of your health?

How on earth can you decide what’s right with all of these ideas? It would be terrible to waste time.

I have a suggestion. Stop priorizing and stop trying to set up everything perfectly.

I want you to be average and to do what you love. When you do that, things will naturally fall in the right place and you’re going to be happy with what you’re doing.

We’re here on this planet to enjoy our lives, after all.

So what does being average have to do with being happy? Isn’t it the other way around – who wants to be average?

You might think: If I don’t do perfect work I’m not going to be happy with my work and no-one else will, so why not strive for perfectionism?

Because great work doesn’t just suddenly happen, and in fact, perfect work doesn’t even exist. Perfectionism is just an illusion. Even in the finest work, if we look close enough, we can always find things to improve. Perfectionism is a man-made idea, and if you’re looking for this in your work, you’re setting yourself up for misery from the very beginning. Why would you do that to yourself?

If you give up being perfect and go for being average, I should warn you – you might actually start to love what you’re doing and you might not be able to stop doing what you do, because you enjoy it so much.

Being average is going to open up the world for you. There’s no need to be excellent, so you don’t have to limit yourself and you can just try new things without the pressure.

Wow, imagine all the things you can do! Allow yourself to enjoy and share the things that this amazing year can allow us to do!

And after all, again, our ultimate goal is to be at ease, doing whatever we love. And our time on this planet is truly limited. So why not start now?

Here’s another example on how being average is going to help you:

Let’s say you’re planning to go to gym every morning. If you expect to be perfect with this habit, you have a vision of how you’re going to feel great when you get up rested (after going to bed early beforehand), how you’re going to do it every morning, you’re going to lift more than ever before and you’re going to get up feeling motivated.

So let’s imagine you getting up at 5 am now and feeling miserable, hating yourself for forcing yourself up.

That wasn’t part of the plan! Your body worked against you. You failed from the moment you opened your eyes. So you tell yourself:

”This is not what I want after all, I’ll find another way, this won’t work because my body won’t do well at gym if I’m this tired.”

You will begin to think about reasons that talk you out from the perfect plan. Because if a plan is perfect, it doesn’t fit well with feeling absolute crap. So, what ended up happening was: you failed.

Let’s instead thiNK about it this way: you’re now going to be average at this gym thing. So you’re going to get up, you’re going to hate yourself for forcing yourself to do this against your will and your workout might not be that great because you’re going there tired. But because you’re average, that’s okay.

So you drag yourself out of bed, go to bus, look average with your tired face, feel average, walk half-blindly to the gym because your saggy eyes just can’t stay fully open, you put on some of your favourite music…

And before you know it, you’re there having the time of your life. You’re the only one there. You can dance around. You don’t have to do a workout where you lift the most weight you’ve ever lift. You can just do the kind of moves and lifts that feel good to you at that moment. Maybe some things that go well with the music. You can look like an idiot, and it doesn’t matter.

You might even want to say, it’s perfect.

Do more of the things you love, and be average. And I promise you, it will be an amazing year for you.

I wish you the very best for 2020!

Make your old sketchbooks matter – going konmari with my drawings

At first I would like to thank Andrea Femerstrand aka Noukah (visit her blog at www.noukah.com) for giving out this cool idea!

Do you ever feel a bit ashamed by your sketchbooks and sort of would like to show your sketches, but major of your drawings are unpresentable?

Many of my sketchbooks were far from representable. Pages had gotten loose and ripped while they were in my drawer.

They take up the space from your home and you never return to them. Yet you don’t really want to throw them away. After all, there might be some good ideas or some memories.

But do you even remember what sketchbooks have those ideas?

While some artists recommend that you preserve all your bad sketches too, just to remind yourself how much work it took to produce one good, even mediocre drawing, do you really need that reminder? We already know how it goes.

So why not get rid of all those bad sketches? Cut out the best ones and put them in a plastic folder where you can return to them if you happen to ever need them. Then throw the remaining away.

Sounds great, right? Let’s get to it!

This was no quick deal – it took me hours and hours to go through all of my sketches! Sometimes it was hard to decide whether to throw something away or spare it.

Sometimes one sketchbook that had 150 pages, had only one tiny sketch that was worth preserving.

After all, these sketchbooks were from the time that I began my learning curve.

Going through these sketchbooks made me chew on couple of things: the best sketches or considered breakthroughs came from studies. And also it was refreshing to see different mediums that had forced me to do work that had a very different look and had different ideas. One might not even believe such work would be done by me!

Here are my key takeaways:

Here’s a video showing the new folder with the cut out sketches!

VIDEO: Painting a funfair house with watercolors

Do you ever struggle painting reflections at dawn? Here is a walkthrough on how I painted this little funfair scene. Video includes some quick notes 🙂

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”It’s Dark and Wet. I’m tired and miserable. What can I do?”

Finland. While I love it, I hate it a little bit. See, I think that the history of the mankind went something like this: We were in a very dark cave for a veeeery long time. In a dark cave where it was cold and depressing. There was nothing to do. Except chewing on some leftover meat that had some delicious mold on it, and some very dry carrots. And people occasionally looked funny in the dark which was entertaining at first, but got scary very fast.

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