Last week when I posted about starting a new project several of you asked for me details on my process, so I thought I'd walk you through some of the stages I go through when starting a painting. I'll post the rest next week (don't want to bore you with TOO many photos!) This painting, by the way, is for a book called Priscilla and the Hollyhocks, out in Spring 08!
Here is the original sketch I am working with. I make sure to print out the most recent version, since they often change during the course of creating a book dummy.
First I need to transfer this sketch to paper so I can paint it. Different artists do this different ways, but here is my method. I start by covering my sketch with tracing paper, then trace it lightly in pencil.
Next I flip the tracing paper over and trace the back side of the original tracing using a soft dark pencil, like a 4B, which smudges and transfers easily.
Then I get out the paper I'm going to paint on (in this case a heavy bristol board), flip the tracing paper over again and trace the image a third time. Here I used a hard pencil, like an HB, so I can get a good impression on the paper.
When I remove the tracing paper, I'm left with a faint outline of my sketch, which I then refine a little in pencil, enough so I can make out the general shapes.
Now the painting begins. First I lay in soft washes, so that I know generally what colors I will use for different parts of the painting.
Slowly I work up the color. Often I lay down one very dark shade (here the dark green grass) so that I can see what my darkest value will be. This gives me perspective on the dark/light relationships as I continue to work.
Stay tuned til next week, I'll post the rest of my progression on this painting!