Friday, January 8, 2010

"EVIL" In The Works

Hey All! Here's a little behind-the-scenes of my process in creating my first painting of 2010, "EVIL."

Once the black and white drawing is sealed in with matte medium, I can go buck-wild with the paints, without any fear of accidentally erasing the graphite drawing. Since the sealing process effectively turns the graphite into a gray tone that I can push around, I've already started to make the turn from drawing to painting. In the step above, I take it a step further, by laying in a flat color tone. In this case, I've chosen a reddish-brown mix of burnt umber, bright red, and raw sienna.

Laying in the flat color allows me to unify the piece. It's no longer black and gray lines on top of a white background. Now I can start laying in my darkest darks, and flat color tones as a sort of road map to the final painting.

By this step, I've darkened the flat reddish-brown tones. I've also started blocking in areas where I know things will be their darkest. Also, notice the bold red strokes in her face and arms.

And by this stage, things are definitely starting to come together. I'm starting to build up more color tones and pushing my darks as far as I want them. By now I know where I'm going with the piece. Or, at least, I should. Oddly enough, just a few steps past the scan above, I hit a wall. I wanted to lay in a dark background (a-la-Sargent) and make Evil-Lyn and the skull really pop. But I wasn't sure. I mean, I've been doing such bright, "colorist" type work, making something totally dark and in a limited palette was a little intimidating.

Luckily, I was on the phone with my friend and fellow illustrator, Marc Gabbana, when I hit this stumbing block. Marc suggested I stop being such an undisciplined punk and make a color comp. So that's exactly what I did.

I whipped up the above comp in about 15 minutes and, oh sweet Lordy, it was time well spent. I got to see all of the color/tone choices I was considering actually in action! This comp would prove to be my real roadmap to the final painting. Whenever I'd get lost in the details of the piece, I'd just look at the comp and be reminded to trust my instincts.

And the rest, as they say, is history!

What do ya do with a drunken sailor?
- David... Mr. Gum if your nasty!

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