Monday, December 26, 2016

My Illustration Process: From Start to Finish!

Since I love seeing how other artists create, 
I thought it would be fun to share my illustration process 
from start to finish...

My process always begins with sketching.  At this stage, I'm trying to get a feel for the character(s), the movement, and the expressions.  I also like to try and develop a rough plan for the layout of the page(s).

Next, I create more finished drawings based on my original sketches, but making adjustments as needed.  I create these drawings on plain old copy paper (but in the size the final artwork will be in).

After my my layout is set and my drawings are complete, I use my light box to trace my drawings onto 140lb. watercolor paper.  When my original drawings have been transferred, I use a dark brown prismacolor pencil to lay in my underlying values.  (I want to get a base down so that I can see where darks, lights, shadows, and highlights will go.)

When I finish my colored pencil layer, I cover the images with clear gesso and let that dry.  Then, I put on a wash of burnt sienna fluid acrylic.  This layer adds warmth and depth to the final painting that would be difficult to achieve if I left those areas white.

Now the fun really begins... I start adding color (using acrylic paint).  I start by painting the areas that would be furthest away (in the background), then moving to areas that are closer to the viewer (in the foreground).  
I build up my paint in layers, starting with darker values and gradually lightening them.  Not only does this allow for smooth blending, it gives the final painting more depth.

(It was at this point that I accidentally dipped my sleeve into my palette and smeared it across the page as I was working. 
I don't recommend that!  Hahaha!)

When I'm adding color, I try to avoid using paint straight from the tube.  I use a porcelain enamel butcher's tray palette and mix my paints directly on the smooth surface.  Once I've mixed my colors, I transfer them to folded damp paper towels.  (This keeps them workable for a long time.)  If I spritz my paints with water and cover my palette with plastic wrap, I can use the paints I've mixed for days.  (Also, the porcelain surface is great for easy clean-up!)

I keep building on previous layers, moving around the painting (avoiding working on any one particular area for too long).  The final step is to add the last little details and the whitest whites.

(Actually, the final step for this painting was fixing my "oops" paint smear digitally!)

I hope you've found this start to finish look at my illustration process helpful...
See you in 2017!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Run, Crab... Run!!!

Last week I teased you with a quick gestural sketch.
These are the paintings the sketch led to...

Do you love to see how an artist creates their art?  Me too!
That's why next week I will be sharing my process (in detail, with pictures) 
from sketch to finish!

Friday, December 9, 2016

An Update and A Tease...

I realized I never posted an update to the doughnut illustration I shared last month, so I wanted to be sure to let you see how it turned out...

In case you missed the previous posts, this is the sketch it started from:

And, since I'd love to keep you in the loop, here is a little tease of something I'm currently working on:

Be sure to check back next week to see what becomes of this rough sketch!


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