Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Magic Happens

Lately a lot of people have asked me how I create my paintings. So instead of explaining myself over and over again I decided to make a step by step demo on how I do my work. Over the last years I have experimented with different techniques, papers, inks, watercolors..etc and what I am about to show you is the process which works best for me and gets me the look I go for. There is no wrong way to do it, as long as it works for you and it gets the result you want to achieve. The first thing of course is the idea. Lately my usually so vivid imagination has taken a time out and as a result I haven't had that many moments of inspiration. Usually what helps for me is sleep deprivation which puts me, and I am sure some of you as well, in a sort of "fog" in which the most uninteresting things all of the sudden seem amazing.This being said , if you can't come up with an idea on your own then go borrow somebody else's! As long as you give credit to that person and don't try to sell it as your own,no one can blame you. So in my case I based myself on the popular cartoon figure Popeye, whom I am about to transform into one of my creations!
The next step is choosing the right paper which, in this case particular case, I haven't done. I usually go for 400 g Arches cold pressed paper, which is like a board and can tolerate great amounts of water. This time I used 150 g paper, which still works, yet you have to be more careful not to soak the paper in water. After this I put a loose sketch of the idea right onto the paper, without thinking much about it. If its illustrations for a book I do plan of course the composition and all the like, but since there's only one figure, we don't have to bother with that. After the sketch I ink the drawing .Usually for that I use a crowquill or brush for both give you great variation in line quality. Some people put the watercolor first, then ink afterwards. I have tried it numerous times and never got the result I went for. So I ink my drawing and hatch the shading in. Not only do I like the loose look of it, but it also makes my life easier for now I only have to worry about my middle tones and highlights. After the inking I color the background. I first spray the paper with water so that the color will disburse smoothly one the surface. The wet in we process also allows me to make the color run down the paper, which is an effect I am quite fond of. After the background is finished I go in and establish my middle tones. Here you have to decide for yourself how many layers you want to apply. Myself I usually go with three thin layers of paint. While applying the middle tones, be careful to preserve some white areas wherever you want your highlights to be. In case you should mess up and given that the highlights is small, you can also go back and add a touch of white gouache (like in the eye or the tip of the nose). After I have applied the color I go back and add some watercolor shading wherever I see fit. Depending on what light I am going for (warm or cool) I either mix Ivory black with orange or with Ultramarine blue. And thats about it. Here's a slide show illustrating the different steps as well as the end result. Enjoy!


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