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  • broszat

About Icon #041

The joy I got from working on my first digital icon and from exploring the NFT space encouraged me to start working on another digital icon. What I can say about this piece looking back, is that the challenge was to “calm the picture down” because the distortions I made creating it were very powerful and chaotic.


I started painting the beard in Photoshop. I randomly drew oval shapes using the lasso selection tool and filled those selections with the painter brush. Keeping the selection active allowed me to use different shades, cut pieces out and so forth. Later I finished the beard in Illustrator.


Then I worked on the hair on the right following the same method. I wanted the hair to be pixelated so one can see that I used Photoshop - revealing or hiding your work method is something that is very common in painting - my approach to painting, using a computer, is pretty much the same. But then I did something you couldn’t do with a physical painting: I free-scaled the hair to give it an odd vanishing point. The hair was flat as paper, instead of folding it to give it more volume I multiplied these layers and stacked them.


The challenge I put upon myself was to use unattractive and inharmonious colors and force myself to make it work, just like taming the chaos. After making the beard and hair on one side I worked on a crown and halo. Not much of that survived, but traces are still visible. In Illustrator I drew little tear shapes and gave them a fluorescent gradient. These tears refer to blood drops and tears that are found in some medieval depictions of Christ. I put them right next to each other to create volume, tone and even shapes. To finish the face I gave it color and drew a mouth.


The torso is a work on its own. Yet again using the lasso tool freely to make shapes, I pasted in fragments of stained glass window designs made out of hundreds of objects. I copied this layer and changed the color of that layer to negative. With the clone tool set to hard I had some fun brushing at free will adding even more chaos.

The whole image

One does not make an image more serene by shaking things up you might say. Well… not true. Yet again I selected some parts of the image and distorted it by using the radial filter. So much I made with great care suddenly blew up like an atomic bomb, but it worked. Movement became more dominant and started to win from chaos.

To finish this icon I had to paint hair on the left hand side of the face, add some depth and shapes to the background, draw some elements to bring more balance to the piccadilly color which was just too dominant and adjust some loose ends.

Looking at every single part of the icon: the beard, the hair, the torso, and what not, you can say that only the mouth is recognizable as such. And yet, we see a whole person with facial expression and movement in front of us.

If you look at this painting closely, I hope you see a lot more.


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