As you maybe know I like to use this blog not only for posting my artworks but also for sharing resources and talking about various topics that are connected to illustration; that’s why I wanted to spend some minutes talking about a topic that always bothered me, and that’s paintovers. There is only one thing that is more pathetic than a paintover: the person that did “paint it”.
Painting over an image is not a bad thing per se; it’s actually a common task when you have to work with a render as a base, for instance. It’s a bad thing if you do it as a way for making people believe you are an amazingly skilled painter, though; this happens when you are not saying that you painted over a photo, and you are therefore letting people believe you are actually capable of photorealistic painting.
“Artists” doing paintovers and hiding the fact are usually frustrated people in need of fame or at least general appreciation, but they don’t want to spend time learning and so they go for a shortcut. Painting and drawing realistic faces is not impossible and it’s something that can be learned with efforts, passion and time. But the lamer has no wish of spending time on all that, since he/she is only interested on what comes with it: comments, fame, sense of importance. Things that he/she probably doesn’t have in real life where cheating is not possible, but that can be achieved in the net.
Lamers doing paintovers are doing bad to themselves and somewhat to the other artists too, since they are choosing not to improve and they are also making the mass believe that painting a realistic human is actually a trivial task. Which is not. And on this topic, I’d like to make you notice that the subject of lame paintovers is almost always the human figure. Dramatic portraits, complex poses, everything is wonderfully easy for the lamer doing a paintover: they just need a good reference and a smudge tool, then hurry up! get fast to deviantART or some other place, to have people with no art education shouting at you that you are too good to be true. And indeed you are not true. You are a fake. To paint and draw the human figure and face and achieve realistic results requires years of studies. It’s also interesting to notice that such “artists” are often showcasing an amusing range of quality in their galleries, going from the photoreal portrait to the terribly wrong anatomy of some images made with no tricks. That is: a painting showing a complete understanding of lighting, values, hue shifts, anatomy and so on, side by side with something that lacks even the basics.
Spotting a paintover is actually quite easy most of the times: being the lamer “artist” so lazy and stupid, he/she will probably pick a photo from the net and paint on it with few to no changes. Just use a reverse image search engine like TinEye to find the source, and then go cover that “artist” with shame if you like. Try asking them if they can paint that same portrait in a different angle, or if they can change the lighting on that body pose, etc. Then sit and read the pathetic excuses they will find.
I did spot many paintovers in the past and it’s amazing the answers you get from those “artists”. Some are denying it even if the images are almost a 100% match when overlayed in an image editor, others are answering something like “hey c’mon I know, it’s all a joke”, but no one of them ever added to the image description the fact that it was based on a photo, as I suggested. Of course they won’t: they need people to go and comment and make them feel good. Now, if this is not pathetic, then I don’t know what it is.