Over the last two years I really haven't finished much artwork. I've been doing mostly freelance web design. This weekend though I was inspired to put my brush into action by my friend Kevin who was showing me some of his work. It reminded me just how much I miss painting.
So, I took one of "The One State" sketches I had finished and set to work. Now, due to the fact I haven't actually finished anything in a while, I've invited some of my old illustration friends to come and critique this painting before I officially declare it done. I've also described my process below to see if they can pick out anything I did wrong, or anything that I may have missed or skipped over.
The first thing I did was dust off all of my equipment. Literally, dust had collected on all of my brushes, and most of my India Ink had gone bad (solidified). After cleaning everything and rushing out to replace spoiled materials I opened my watercolor tray, lucky the paints inside were still fine since I use a tray with a seal able top.
to start of with, I printed out a few copies of the scan I had made of the final sketch. I used the first to copy the tight sketch onto the watercolor paper. I used the rest to make quick 10 second heat maps of the painting. One of the things I always admired about Tony DiTerlizzi's work is his use of warm and cool colors to create form. I've tried to analysis this and apply to my own paintings.
Then, following another practice that I learned from Tony (via his blog), I made a warm up painting of similar content. although I was also told to do this in college I never really took it seriously until I found out my favorite artist did it all of the time. I painted it directly from a photo without prior sketching. I was focusing on what specific colors to use and what kind of brush strokes were most effective.
Next I filled out the entire image area with light washes of Grumbacher's Umber and Payne's Grey to make off my warm areas and cool areas. I also did this to make sure that I wouldn't miss any small spots and leave them blank.
I let that first layer dry completely and then inked in the outlines. For the heavier outlines I used a medium sized Chinese brush and Winsor & Newton India ink. The lighter and internal lines I used Winsor & Newton Sepia Calligraphy Ink with a standard crow quill pen.
I then started to bring the color's out more with Van Dyke Brown, Brunt Sienna, Sepia, and a touch of Ultra Marine. Once the values were just about right I started making the fur texture with a micro brush and fairly thick water color. Once the whole thing had a thick fur texture I went back in with a big brush to wash out and soften the area's of the fur's highlight. finally, I finished up the details of the swords, the arm wraps, and the face.
So, what do you guys think?