Why do graphic designers / illustrators start with a large painted area?

When I watch time lapses of Photoshop (and the like) artwork, I always ask myself why they paint a huge area over the picture over and over again (like layers).

As reference watch the first seconds in this video.

The artist paints a large chunk of black over the picture (the fine black drawing itself is always on top).

Is this to provide more contrast? Is this like a backup? Painting a big area implies that the layers beyond are finished?

Later the black is overpainted again.

Since I am not a painter/drawer/designer etc, I have no clue what this is supposed to do/help with. I used paint to make some signatures in discussion boards but those where only patterns and filter.


Every artist works differently, but the basic concept is called “painting on a colored ground.”

The idea is that you do not start with white, and the most (western) traditional method is to start with a 40-70% grey (or brown) tone.

This allows you to work “up” to white and “down” to black.

In my experience anything darker than 50% grey tends to give an oppressive overall feel to a picture, but seems to be popular in fantasy illustration, VElvis, Rainbow Unicorns etc.

Source : Link , Question Author : Wandang , Answer Author : horatio

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