I’ve been a big fan of Ctrl+Paint since I started really trying to play with digital coloring / art. I’m not especially good, but, seriously, Matt Kohr’s videos are responsible for both most of the small improvements I’ve made, and the fact that I haven’t yet thrown up my hands in defeat and utter self-loathing.
There are a lot of tutorial videos floating around out there on “how to color / draw / paint / render” with Photoshop or Illustrator or a host of other graphics programs. I watched a bunch when I was starting out. And a lot of them have useful information. I’m not trash-talking anyone here.
Once I found Ctrl+Paint, though, I was pretty much hooked. It’s an impressively large storehouse of free instructional material (there are a few low-priced “premium series,” but most of it’s free), and each video does a great job of breaking down something specific into its component parts.
And, unlike general speed-paint and “recipe” type videos, which present the process as more color-by-number than as a malleable process, Ctrl+Paint videos are largely geared toward giving you enough information to go off and work on your own. Most of the time, the assumption is that you’re going to watch this video, then take the core lesson and start playing around with it to find the best application for your own interests.
In the end, though, I think the core element that keeps me going back is Kohr’s attitude. He fully admits when a particular exercise he offers isn’t necessarily as exciting as drawing a full scale dragon, but he also makes clear that he feels it’s essential. Important. It gets you to the super-cool space aliens and orc hordes and whatever else you’re into. And he wants everyone to get there, because, dammit, it is amazing when someone does. Despite his soft-spoken, even tone (which I appreciate. I don’t need people screaming into my headphones), I get a genuine sense in each of his videos that he loves this stuff to death, and he wants everyone to love visual art just as much as he does.
His latest project falls right in line with that “I want everyone to get in on the rush of art” philosophy he’s shown in the past. He’s working on setting up a concept art co-op , where anyone and everyone who’s interested can get together and create what might be a truly massive accumulation of world-building and element design pieces under a kind of collectively agreed-upon banner. It’s kind of the ultimate “everyone in the pool!” cry.
At the moment, there’s no official site for the project, so he’s making announcements via Twitter feed. I don’t know how much or little I might contribute at all, but I find the whole thing kind of fascinating, so I’ll definitely be following along.