Monday, October 13, 2014

"The Gift" - Process to Final

Figure 1`- I wasn't happy with the inks on this
 drawing, so I used it to make changes
I've been meaning to post my current artwork here. If you haven't read my previous posts, I'll give you a quick background. I participated in VCON this year and had to do a bunch of artwork for this. VCON is basically a Sci Fi and Fantasy Convention. I had about five pieces of fantasy art when I started out and about a month and a half - two months to come up with enough fantasy art to fill up two 4' x 4' gallery boards. I was able to have 18 pieces in all in my gallery. If you want to know more about what happened. See my post about VCON here.

Many of the paintings I did were not from scratch. Most of them I had some sketches for already, but for one reason or another I hadn't finished said paintings. "The Gift" was a drawing I had started a year ago (see Figure 1). I had almost finished this illustration, but wasn't happy with the way it was turning out. I threw it in a drawer and forgot about it for a year.

Figure 2 - Transfer on Tracing Paper
For me the pencil drawing is the most important. It takes me longer I felt that I had to give this drawing more of a Fantasy feel so I decided to move from a flower to a Phoenix. I mean who wouldn't want to receive a Phoenix as a gift? Also I wanted to make the male a bit more awkward than he had been previously. The main reason I scratched this piece to begin with was it didn't feel like a believable moment to me. 


I start my drawings on inexpensive paper. I look up reference for poses. Even when doing animal characters I try to take the the poses from real life people. For the Phoenix I used pictures of both real photos and fantasy drawings.

I feel it's important to say that I never use a single photo (that I haven't taken myself) as my sole means of creating a drawing. If you are using a photo for reference then be sure to use 3 or more photos so you can understand your subject rather than drawing from the piece directly. If you take something directly from someone else's photo (even if it's just a small part of their photo) you run the risk of copyright infringement. Professional photographers are very protective of their work and are likely to sue or charge you for use of their work.

Figure 3 - Inked Drawing
I tend to transfer my drawings one of two ways. The first is using a light board and tracing over my taped down sketch. This can be difficult because my final images are on thick watercolour paper and sometimes it's hard to see the drawings. This way allows for more changes to be made in the drawing as I work. If you don't have a light board a window can be used as an alternative. It's not easy, but it's definitely cost effective!

The second way is to trace the drawing directly onto tracing paper (see Figure 2). I try to get my drawing as finalized as possible before I trace it onto tracing paper. After the drawing is traced I use a paintbrush to put Burnt Umber pigment on the back of the sketch (being sure to put the loose bits of pigments back in the jar). Another way to do this is to use a piece of pastel or graphite on the back of the tracing paper instead. Graphite is cheap, but be careful with this. It's easy to make the back so dark that you can't see your lines well when transferring. 

My favorite brush pen. Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.
I like using my new brush pen for my drawings at this point so I'm almost always using this. The fun thing about this pen is it has actual bristles and is refillable with cartridges. I've had too much trouble with brush and ink so this is the perfect alternative for me. The only problem is that there is only one size and type of pen like this available in Canadian stores (that I've seen). There are also watercolour pens that are similar to this, but they aren't quite the same (plus I haven't tried them). Also I have to say I'm sorry the inked drawing is a colouring page (which you are free to download and colour). It's to deter people from using it on their colouring webpages without permission. 

Figure 4 - Final Illustration for "The Gift"
Here is the final painting (Figure 4). I used a limited amount of colours for this. I believe the pallet was Alizarin crimson, burnt sienna, Prussian blue, and Cadmium yellow. I may have also used some Mauve in this painting. If you are using paints of any kind I would suggest limiting your palate as much as possible. Choose a brown, yellow, red and blue. Other secondary colours can be added to this, but start with those base colours and build on that. There are a wide range of colours that can be made with those four simple colours. In Watercolor painting white paint isn't used to make lighter colours. It's the paper itself that is used for this. Chinese white can be used for accents on top of the painting, but is generally not mixed. Zinc white is a popular choice for both Acrylics and Oils.

For this drawing I started by mixing brown and blue to make a black. I then used that to do some shading in the picture. It helped a lot for making the painting to go faster overall. 

Well there it is, my process from beginning to end. I will be showing more process fantasy illustrations in the coming weeks, but will not need to go into as much detail as I do here. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my process!

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