Monday, May 28, 2012

Color Blocking the Hulk

Color blocking is the next step in my process.  So, after the rough charcoal sketch, I begin to lay down color.  At this point, it does not matter if I get the exact color or not, I am just trying to block in the basic colors.  The painting will be worked and re-worked with workable fix, allowing for layer upon layer of color (without the painting become a muddled mess).  The directions of pastel strokes are varied and there is no blending.  I am even testing colors for the Hulk's skin tone, seeing how they look upon the pastel board.

The process continued as I laid down color on the figure of the Hulk.  At this point, I did not completely obliterate the charcoal under drawing so I could still see basic musculature.  The color of the foreground looks more orange than yellow of the above picture.  I guess I will have to be more consistent with light and flash when I take these photos.

Next, I began to blend the colors, to smooth out the rough pastel strokes.  I also switched from the harder Rembrandt to the softer Unison pastels.  From here on out, most of the work will be done with the Unison sticks.  I have some pastel pencils that I hope will allow me to do fine detail (on top of a layer of workable fix).  This is something I have never tried before as it was not necessary for the landscapes I had painted previously.  I am curious to see if I can pull this off.

When it stops raining, I will take this out side and hit it with the workable fix.  I hope to begin layering the details soon.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The New Studio and a New Painting

In the last post, I alluded to my new studio so I thought I would share some photos of what it looks like.  It was designed to maximize the natural sunlight light.  Most days I do not even need to turn on the lights to sit in there to read.  My drafting table and easel sit in the corner four windows.  The easel will be for mostly pastel painting and maybe, just maybe acrylic and oil paints if I ever get so inspired. The drafting table will be for pen & ink, colored pencil and watercolor.

If you look closely, you can see the beginnings of a new painting.  My work travel schedule has just been plain brutal, with trips to California and the West Coast in the same week as trips to Europe (not to mention all the weekends).  The net result is this painting is not as far along as I had hoped.  But I have started it and that is a victory in and of itself.

This charcoal sketch took less than 10 minutes to complete but I cannot tell you how satisfying it was.  I have always wanted to paint some classic Marvel covers in pastel much in the same way Alex Ross has done in oils.  Thus begins the process.

I will talk more about the choice of this cover and my hopeful process in completing this painting. 

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Beginning the Process Once Again

So, after 2 years, 3 moves and building a new house from the ground up, I am once again ready to paint, draw, sketch and just plain try to be creative.  I have not painted anything with pastels in almost 5 years (how sad).

Before the Studio

The new house has a room set aside to be my studio, but before I was able to set it up I was drawing at the kitchen peninsula.  Not what I had initially intended, but a good place to start.

What to Draw? The Inspiration.

As I had not drawn anything in over 2 years, it felt as if my creative brain had atrophied. After several failed start/stops, I decided to use my favorite splash page from Mouse Guard as a kind of drawing exercise, much the same way one would do word problems to learn math skills.  I have done this from time to time when I am more interesting in learning a technique or playing with new tools or media.

The Tools

The last few Christmas I asked for and received many art supplies, including watercolor pencils, Cotman travel watercolors and micron Sakura Micron colored pens.  This choice of picture subject matter also allowed me to play with all these toys.

The Initial Drawing

The initial sketch was completed quickly and the drawing was inked with the Sakura micron pens (0.25, 0.45 and 0.50 mm black). Simple, yet fun.

The picture was painted using a combination of the watercolor pencils and Cotman pans.  I used the colored microns to add details to the leaves in the tree and on the sword.  David Petersen, the creator-artist of Mouse Guard, is such a talented artist, even my pale copy of his his wonderful work is actually pretty good.  Eventually, I will create original works using this technique, which was quite fun and can be done virtually anywhere.