The original of this image was from perhaps 25 years ago when I was still working with traditional art materials and methods. I’ve since redrawn it digitally. It’s from a children’s book idea I had that I worked up into a series of sketches.
Although the idea never got past the drawing stage, this piece is a good example of one of the stages of my usual working method.
The method explained below is how I did it with traditional art materials and, remarkably, sans the physical paints, etc., how I still do it today with digital paints. I’m happy to say that I successfully transferred all my traditional drawing and painting skills over to my digital work.
You can read more here: Creating Stuff
Okay, with this drawing I’d already done all the rough “thinking-out-loud-on-paper” sketches, and this is the final, precise line drawing I always make before beginning to apply paint.
Let’s say I’m going to paint it now. Here’s how I would proceed:
- I’d first transfer the drawing to a canvas or large sheet of gessoed watercolor paper.
- To do this in the past, I would have placed a piece of graphite backed tissue paper between the drawing and canvas, and then traced over the drawing with a stylus. Now digital painting tools allow me to assign the drawing to a layer and switch its visibility on and off as needed.
- Next I’d begin applying broad blocks of transparent color over the entire canvas. The traced drawing would remain visible through the colors.
- I almost always end up with a bit of a mess at this stage. And that’s good; it’s part of how I set up base color schemes. Happy accidents and all that.
- Once I’d completely covered the canvas in various muted and sloppy colors, I’d begin coaxing the details from the mess.
- Because I nibble away with tiny brushes and equally tiny brush strokes, from here on in it’s always a long, protracted undertaking.
- Slowly, slowly forms and textures would begin to emerge.
- During the entire painting process I’d keep the precise line drawing tacked to a wall near my easel for easy reference.