Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Time to Wish, Step-by-step sample

First, I start by outlining the main shapes as a road map of where I'm going. Then I start in on the eyes. This is about 7x10. I usually work pretty large, but since this is such a close up point-of-view, I was able to work smaller.

I'm working in graphite on Duralar, which is cool because it's a transparent support. So I can lay it right over my initial sketch without having to transfer. I get a very smooth look, and can blend easily, but it doesn't erase well. I basically do a full B&W drawing.

This is the final value study. I keep this as an original and print out a high resolution copy onto my final art paper (in this case Stonehenge) to then use as a grisaille or under painting. For this one I printed out a slightly lighter version. The color in then added with Prisma pencils.

For her hair, I start by deciding where I'll need lights and darks. So yellows and creams get layered in the highlights, and reds and browns in the shadows. For the skin tone I start with a light wash of cream, then peach. I layer color using a very sharp point and a very light touch. I'm working from left to right here, so you can see the initial colors on the right side.

Finals layers of color are added to the girl and fish. I used complimentary colors to create depth in her hair. Translation: There's lots of indigo blue in the shadows. The skin tone has probably 20 layers of color. Layering alternately between yellows, pinks, violets, and using darker colors with each layer until I get the depth I want. Time to move on to the fishbowl and tabletop, which are done in the same layering technique.

Final illustration.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gail,

I followed you from the BRG blog. This is beautiful! I'm a writer, not an artist, but next time around I'd like to be both.

So you start with graphite on this Duralar, which I gather is some sort of clear paper-like thing. But then you print out a copy of this before you add color. Is that just a matter of scanning? Do you have a special scanner and printer?

I need to watch the color process live; I can't wrap my pea head around the blue in the hair and the 20 layers on the face.

I'm in awe!


gail said...

Hi Jen,

I'm glad you followed me over here. Doing both is pretty cool, but it also makes it twice as hard!

The Duralar is a synthetic material, kind of like a frosted mylar or acetate. Yeah, I print out a copy onto to my traditional art paper. That is what I add the color pencil to. In this example I actually made a high quality B&W copy right on my copier. For the piece I'm woking on now I scanned, then printed.

My scanner/copier isn't anything special, but does the job. I will want to get a larger one eventually. I just got a new printer. I'll get more into that on my next post. (I bought the print out of a need to complete the piece that's on my drawing board right now.)

No calling yourself a pea head now! Most people don't understand the process. Maybe I can show some close-ups at some ponit that will explain it better.


Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Hey Gail! I saw your post on the blue boards and came to check it out. Wow! Love to see your process! Beautiful!

gail said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

This is beautiful, both in seeing the end result, and learning about the process.

gail said...

Thanks Nancy! I love seeing how others work too. I think because this is such a solitary business, we get a thrill out of seeing that others go through similar steps and processes. Or sometimes work totally differently then we do.

San Nakji said...

Wow, that's amazing. You are truly talented. I am in awe too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Gail,

I stumbled on your blog while researching illustrators for children's books. Your work is beautiful. Do you do freelance work for amateur writters? I live in Guatemala and have just finished my first book (content only) and would like to find an illustrator. Can you steer me in any helpful direction?

Thank you in advance for your advice.

Kind Regards,

Nikol Burton

Anonymous said...

I am a grandmother that began doing sketching when many people are going to nursing homes. Began winning art shows so I am looking into mixed medium and working also with colored pencils. Your picture is breath taking beautiful. I have a ways to go but glad for the demo. Ileen

Bev said...

Very informative, wonderful results. I am amazed at all the colors you use and get such a blended finish. Thanks for sharing your talent, so fun to see things evolve.

ugo capeto said...

nice work. what's the advantage of using a grisaille as an underpainting? why not work on the tones as you put down the layers of local colors? i can see that it helps keeping the values correct as you put down the local colors though.

Unknown said...

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