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Author: Hari

Kolavai Lake Chengalpattu

Kolavai Lake Chengalpattu

A painting of Kolavai Lake, Chengalpattu, using Krita with my XP-Pen Artist 10s.

Kolavai Lake Chengalpattu

Yet another landscape painting in Krita. I downloaded Krita 5 beta 2 to try out some of its new features. Though I tried the new brushes (RGBA brushes and the water colour brushes) I found the strokes to be extremely laggy on my laptop to the extent that I couldn’t create a painting with them. Maybe in future, when I get a more powerful laptop, I might use these brushes. For now, this painting is created using the default “Paint” set brushes.

Kolavai lake is a lake near Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu and is a beautiful location. It is a major source of water for the nearby districts and is an ecologically sensitive area. I had already painted this beautiful lake a long time ago.

Landscape painting – Temple tank

Landscape painting – Temple tank

After a few portraits, I usually feel the need for something different. So here it is – temple tank. Painted in Krita with my XP-Pen Artist 10s.

Temple tank

I thought of making this a monochrome painting [1], but I like the subtle colours of this one. I am still not 100% satisfied with digitally painting landscapes and feel the need for a different technique. This one, I post-processed slightly in GIMP by adding the “cartoon” effect because the details felt a bit too muddy otherwise.

The biggest challenge in landscapes is not the detail or “likeness” to the reference image but how to subtract details from the source and get enough depth to stand out. A lot of the time, copying all the tiny details from the photographic reference can kill the depth and soul of the image.

  1. I did paint this monochrome initially and added a colour overlay layer afterwards[]
Portrait of late actor “Major” Sundarrajan

Portrait of late actor “Major” Sundarrajan

A portrait of late Tamil actor “Major” Sundarrajan. Painted using Krita with my XP-Pen Artist 10S.

Late actor “Major” Sundarrajan

For those who are not aware, “Major” Sundarrajan was a distinctive actor in his time, holding his own again giants like MGR and Sivaji Ganesan with excellent character roles. The “Major” sobriquet is from his iconic role in the play, later adapted as a movie, Major Chandrakanth in which he played the titular role of a retired, blind major and shot into fame.

This is one of those portraits that I didn’t struggle with to get the likeness. Getting a likeness is still magic to me – it sometimes works almost effortlessly and at other times, I struggle and struggle till I give up and use a different reference image. I guess the trick is not relying on a single image but using multiple references, because a single photo doesn’t convey a person’s distinct personality. I chose to go with colour with this one, because it’s been a long time since I’ve painted a portrait in this style.

Painting of a dog

Painting of a dog

Painting of a dog done in Krita with my XP-Pen Artist 10s.

A street dog

Drawing an animal is a good diversion from my usual portraits as I don’t have to worry about getting the likeness exactly like I would in a human.

This is one where I’ve captured the painting process in a timelapse video. This is the first time I’ve attempted something like this and it’s really quite simple in Linux. The final few touches in the finished image have not been captured in the video though.

I’ll probably write a tutorial on how to create a timelapse video of the desktop screen some time later. In the meantime, enjoy:

Dog painting timelapse video

I hope to make a few more timelapse videos of my creation process in the future.

Portrait of Vijay Sethupathi (Master)

Portrait of Vijay Sethupathi (Master)

A portrait of tamil actor Vijay Sethupathi from the movie “Master”. Drawn using Krita with my XP-Pen Artist 10s.

Portrait of Vijay Sethupathi

Yet another portrait. This time, I’ve gone back to my trusty XP-Pen Artist 10s with Krita. Vijay Sethupathi was a challenging one to get right. I had multiple attempts from different photos, until I chose this one from the movie “Master” as a reference. Part of the problem with likeness of certain actors is capturing their personality. The other one I drew on the iPad was a poor likeness which I struggled with for hours before I discarded it. However, nothing is wasted, and I think after studying his face, I kind of got it right this time. It is a big relief, because every time I struggle with a particular portrait, I keep thinking that I’ve lost my touch.

I wanted to make a smooth portrait after the rough pencilwork, but I chose to publish this, as I think this style looks a bit different from my usual stuff.

Portrait caricature of Actor Politician Vijaykanth

Portrait caricature of Actor Politician Vijaykanth

A portrait caricature of Tamil actor-political leader “Captain” Vijaykanth. Painted on iPad using Sketchbook and Adobe Fresco.

Actor-politician Vijaykanth

Adobe Fresco is a decent ipad painting app with enough free features and good brushes to get along. Yes, you can also export as PSD which is very useful. It does use cloud storage though [1] , so if you want a local copy of your creation it is better to export as a PSD file and store it somewhere.

I am also getting used to the Apple Pencil (1st gen) and feeling less rusty than before. I hope to continue drawing and painting more regularly now.

  1. There doesn’t seem a way to turn off cloud storage and use local storage exclusively. Yes I am a bit old school.[]
Sivaji Ganesan cartoon caricature

Sivaji Ganesan cartoon caricature

After a long time I’ve revived my artwork. This one is a fun caricature of veteran actor late Sivaji Ganesan created on my iPad with the Autodesk Sketchbook app.

Cartoon caricature of Sivaji Ganesan

Yes, I do feel a bit rusty after such a long gap. Also Sketchbook on the iPad is not nearly as good or feature complete as Krita and I’m not 100% happy with the brushes in Sketchbook. But drawing on the iPad with the Apple Pencil is just so convenient compared to the desktop setup with a screen tablet pen. Probably I will end up using a different painting app.

The best way to type on an iPad

The best way to type on an iPad

Apropos of my earlier article on alternate input methods on a touch screen device, what is the best method of typing text on an iPad or other touchscreen tablet without an external proprietary or generic Bluetooth keyboard? After some experimentation, I feel that using the onscreen keyboard combined with a cheap passive stylus pen is reasonably efficient and does not put too much pressure on the fingers. Typing purely with the fingers is a sure recipe for pain because there is no “give” on the screen’s glass surface and your fingers are slamming away relentlessly on them. The other benefit of using a stylus is that a passive stylus is cheap and have a smaller surface area than your average finger and it definitely improves accuracy.

The only drawback of this method is that you need to keep moving the stylus across the entire keypad. I have alleviated this issue by combining the right hand for the stylus movement with the left thumb covering the keys on the left side of the keypad[1]. It feels faster and more accurate than typing with both hands so it’s definitely a better option. In fact this article was written entirely using the method described above.

  1. or vice versa, if you’re left handed[]