Wednesday 28 November 2012

Tonal Study For Brave New World

I used to do tonal studies in charcoal but recently I've been experimenting in photoshop to get the same results, sometimes better.

First off I work up a detailed rough in pencil as normal and then scan it in. Once I have the image in Photoshop I turn up the levels and ghost the pencil layer. Ghost is a filter effect I found on flaming pear and it has been so useful over the years that I don't know how I managed without it. The Ghost filter means I can paint underneath the pencil image as if it is on a piece of tracing paper. This makes it incredibly easy to fill the image with a mid grey and then add highlights and shadows just like a charcoal drawing on toned paper and as an extra bonus the original line-work is always available on a separate layer.

The end result is so useful when it comes to keeping control of values on the final painting. However I can't take all the credit because I got the idea for this process after viewing this post by Dan Dos Santos.

Monday 19 November 2012

The Alchemist

 The Alchemist
Watercolour & Gouache
31 x 24cm

Completed this morning, and I'm reasonably happy with the final product, especially the lighting. To help me along I created a very simple set with elaborate lighting (a lamp minus the shade) in my living room, put the camera on a timer, threw a blanket over my shoulders and posed inside ten seconds. Going the extra mile for reference can make a huge difference and save time in the long run because you can be confident throughout the painting process.

Friday 16 November 2012

The Alchemist (Progress)

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four
I plan to finish this on Monday. Wish me luck!

Friday 9 November 2012

Brave New World Roughs

The Folio Society is running a competition to illustrate 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley. Click here for more details.

Above you can see the roughs, drawn without reference, for the three scenes I have chosen to illustrate. Previously I had worked up a number of thumbnails before selecting which composition I would like to take forward. Now I have to take photo reference based on these roughs and then develop detailed roughs for each.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

RWS Call For Entries 2013

The deadline for this year's RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition is the 9th January. Click here for more details

I hope to enter again this year. I have a large painting in the works at this very moment. You can see my rough sketch below.

I'd say it's about time I did a watercolour of Whitby. The tall ship is the Endeavour replica being tugged from the harbour which will probably be the first of a few fanciful additions to the scene.

I shall post more as I progress.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Autumn Scribe Part. 2

Below you can see more progress photos of 'Autumn Scribe'. As I gradually worked up the local colours I began to give everything more form by working out the light sources and cast shadows.

The lighting is surprisingly complicated in this painting. There is a cool natural back-light, warm candlelight that creates interesting shadows that is not very far reaching and a weak warm light source on the front so that you can see the details in the main character. The last light source probably wouldn't exist in real life but this is fantasy... so there!  

Autumn Scribe 
31 x 23cm 

Above is the final painting finished in watercolour with slight highlights in gouache. Below you can see the items that are meaningful to Suzanne I mentioned in my previous post. It was a lot of fun putting these in and it all adds to the narrative of the image.