Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Process of "Basking in Egypt's Gold"

WARNING: Long Post is Long! D:

Hello everyone! A bit late this week with the blog update, but with reason. I was painting in turbo-mode to get this commission done. I took the time to photograph my progress frequently, since I hear people really love seeing an artist's process (and I for one, like seeing the process of others a lot myself). Feel free to ask questions. Chances are I'll forget to mention something. Anyhow, this is how I work, and is certainly not the only way. I just figured I'd share. This piece had a lot of VERY NEW things for me, that I never painted before so it was challenging. I learned a lot, and had fun :3

First thing's first!


For this painting I used 140LB Arches Satin Finish Watercolor Paper. 
Kraft Watercolor Tape.
Holbein Watercolors.
Winsor Newton Ox Gall Liquid.
Winsor Newton Colored Masking Fluid.
Winsor Newton Designers Gouache (BleedProof White).
Faber-Castell Polychromos colored Pencils.

A Bit About Supplies: (Feel free to move on if you already know this!)

I choose a hot press watercolor paper because it is not too textured. Not that texture is bad, but my technique is watercolor as a base, colored pencil on top to bring everything out. So if my paper was too textured, the image would look really grainy (personal preference,really. If you like grain go for it- but it sticks out like a sore thumb when scanned). 140 lb is great, because it can still take enough abuse(many layers of pigment), but at the same time you can still easily see through it when transfering your sketch with a light box. I transfer with polychromos faber-castell colored pencils, because they stay put when laying down washes.

The paper has been pre-stretched on a masonite board with kraft tape. This prevents buckling of the paper and keeps it flat. Its important to add some water to the masonite board with a sponge, and completely wet your paper (under cold water). Make sure your masonite board and sponge are clean, because you don't want any ugly acidy spots appearing on your paper later on.  Be sure to not soak the kraft tape, orelse it wont stick. Gently dab with a sponge. You have to wait until it is bone dry before continuing.


Approved sketch. The final product is indeed traditional, I just sometimes like sketching digitally to save time. Makes fixes for clients much more simple and fast too.

This is my main set up. I've got references for palm trees, and water here. Started the washes on the sky. Added a bit of oxgall fluid to my water to help the wash flow. The trick for the clouds is to twist up a piece of paper towel and press it against the paper before the wash dries. You will also notice I have my original sketch close by. As we add shading (especially on a dark colored character), there is a chance we will lose the main lines of the transfer: so the sketch is kept nearby as a reference.

The general idea is to start blocking in the shadows, so I use a payne's gray to indicate where I want them. Then I add the final color ontop. Example: the palm tree was initially shaded in payne's gray. Then I added ochre's and brown pigments ontop.  I like doing it first as often as I can remember to, because it maps out how I shade the color ontop. 

Same process. shading and adding color. I also get into more detail with the background. I always hear were "supposed" to start with the background first in illustrations. In  this case, I'm alternating between background and foreground while waiting for certain parts to dry. I think it really depends on the piece and the medium.

Background complete, and time to add shade to the character. I did a quick approximate mock up of how I wanted the shading.  Doing tree leaf shading was new to me.

More washes of color on the character and background. I discovered that the more pigment/work you do on the watercolor piece, the less grainy and the bolder it will look as an end result(with the colored pencils). The bottom pannel shows me starting to add colored pencil on that wing. I use a piece of paper to shield my hand as I work(orelse it will smudge, and you dont want your hand grease on your drawing).

I continue rendering in colored pencil. You may have noticed here that I do not go over the background in colored pencil. This is in order to help create more depth, since the background is less crisp. It will push it back by leaving it. I smoothen out the shading under the hammock by using ochre and naple colors. I go back to the date palm tree leaves to sharpen them a bit more.

Last but not least, I add highlights with designer's gouache (for the jewelry and water). I also have some very nifty iridescent gold watercolor paint. I added a thin film ontop of the jewelry and spear, so it has a golden sheen to it in real life.

Scanned, levels fixed, and were done :)

Thanks for reading my long post :P
I hope you enjoyed

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sneak Peak

Here is a crop of the sketch for Duamutef's commission. It is currently being rendered, and should be finished soon. I am documenting my progress as I go so I will be making a larger post with all combined elements when I'm done :)

Thank you for looking!


Monday, 14 November 2011

Testing Watercolor Mediums

A quick doodle of a snowy owl on a scrap piece of 140 lb Arches Satin finish paper I had. Based off of Francois Boucher's photographs (with permission) on flicker - purely for practice. I don't quite have "the eye" for avians yet, even if I used reference, so feel free to redline :)  I did have trouble with that wing that is on an angle.

In order to make the clouds here, I lifted the wash with a wet paper towl that was twisted up. You need to have your paper still wet with color in order to achieve this.

I used Holbein watercolor paints. Not many colors, just cerulean blue, ultramarine, paynes gray, permanent violet and a teeny bit of cadmium yellow. 

I decided to test a few of the mediums I recently bought: Gum Arabic and Oxgall Liquid. I also have blending medium, but this takes wayyy too long to dry and I was rather impatient.

Gum Arabic tends to saturate color really nicely. Allows for some nice washes, and easy blending of color. If there is too much applied and used alone, it tends to leave a bit of a semi-gloss finish. It needs to be completely bone dry (and no longer sticky) before you can apply any other dry media on top, orelse it doesnt want to adhere to the paper. Gum arabic can also be added to acrylics and inks--it is not exclusively for watercolor.

Oxgall Liquid  is awesome because it simply helps you make seamless washes. Improves overall flow of washes when added to water :) --Dries just like water onto the paper. Application of dry media on top (such as the colored pencil on top of watercolor technique) afterwards poses no problem.

Both mediums work fine on hotpress or coldpress papers. I found that gum arabic was less obvious on my satin finish arches paper, compared to when I tested it on illustration board.

I came across an excellent book at work recently, called  "The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Notebook: A treasury of watercolor secrets discovered through decades of painting and experimentation".
It is a breath taking book: beautifully organized layout, cute illustrations along with explanations, stunning examples, and cram-packed with tips on how to paint better with watercolors.

Another book I've enjoyed over the years was "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Watercolor" . Really worth the purchase if you want to continue to explore with this medium.

Thank you for reading :)

Totally unrelated, but I will have auctions up on furbuy very soon!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Netherfaris Commission Process

Hello everyone!
I had meant to post an update yesterday, but it was a horribly busy day. The following is my process for Anbessa's other commission, of his Jackal character Netherfaris. The process is very similar to my last update, so I will not post elaborate explanations. Feel free to comment if you have any questions though :))

Here are some tiny scribblies for the pose. At first I liked the leaping pose, but realized I had a work in progress that is very similar to that pose. I asked around and the bottom left one got the best positive feedback.

Next, I do a sketch based on the selected doodle. Take note, even if there is clothing present on the character that will hide the underlaying anatomy--I draw the entire body anyways to help give it it's appropriate shape.

Now I clean up the sketch and give some detail:

At this time, I wanted to experiment a bit with digital textures. So I play with textures, light and shade and get this result: 

The commissioner wishes to have some final color added, so I'll be rendering this guy completely soon :)

Thank you for looking,

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Hamamelis & Kornblume Commission Process

Decided to find the bits and pieces of my process for another image.

This was a commission I did for Anbessa of his two characters, Hamamelis and Kornblume.

I started off with a series of tiny (ugly XD) drawings of my ideas for the poses and composition:

I decide to go with the doodle on the top left in the  first drawing.  Next, I scan it and load it into photoshop.  I like sketching in photoshop now, since it saves me a lot of time (and paper & printer ink (no need to print references this way)).  On top of the doodle, I start sketching my final lines:

This is what the sketch looked like more cleaned up. The composition was readjusted, as were the poses. Put everything more on a diagonal to make it more dynamic than what was roughed out above.

 I transfered the sketch onto paper and started shading it with a variety of graphite pencils.I felt the image needed an old story feel, so it would greatly benefit from visible pencil strokes.

Next, I decide to add a bit of colour since that tends to catch the eye more. For that "old" feel, I decide to add a yellowish sepia texture to the background to enhance that. This was a texture I made awhile back with watercolour, tea, salt, and alcohol:

But now it appears flat again. So it was time to reintroduce some light. I'm a fan of Royo's fantasy art, so pardon my god rays and mega sword shine X3

Levels are adjusted and now I consider it complete! :)
A rather simple process. Thank you for looking.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Personal Art: Icons work in progress

Here are a few doodles I did for myself as a "warm up" before working on commissions. I've been in desperate need of a new icon/avatar for myself, so I started a few.

Heres a more relaxed look to my character: Her flowy hair is made of flame.  The line work is a bit bold here cuz I was working on a transparent layer, but as I added a white BG everything darkened, X3--Its also still in a bit of a rough stage.

Heres one that is actually part of a larger reference I've been working on on and off. She's got a bit of a snarl going on here :) --I'm thinking i'd like her to have some sort of symbol on her forehead, I used to have the sun symbol there but it looked like a bullseye target XD --I'd have to design something, like another symbol- or a lovely head dress.

I think its important for artists to try and draw for themselves from time to time. I absolutely enjoy drawing for others, it is extremely fun. However, it is still important to express your own creations from your brain on paper whenever it is possible. I often feel "refereshed" to go back to work on commissions whenever I do this for myself.

Thank you for looking!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Various Doodles

Practice with sepia fabercastell pitt pens. Ink doodle of a young tiger done a little whiles ago. Based on google imagesfor study purposes.

The next one is a doodle of Ammut. Tried to get a cool design for her.

The last one is from the beginning of summer. I tried to draw myself  XD, and underneath is your typical lioness sketch.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Sareena's Commission Process

Hello everyone! I figured I ought to kick off this blog /somehow/ , so I  decided to start off by posting a few of my older commission step by steps. What is posted here is what I remembered to save to show people at the time, haha. So some might not have exactly each step I went through to create the drawing. When something is missing I will mention it.  Bear with me, I hope to have more complete step by steps with my next paintings.

In the future, I intend on also posting studies, tutorials, concept art, etc.

Sareena's Feline Form: The Creation of "Moon Gaze"

I first start off by doing tons of mini drawings of the character called "thumbnails". I  do this proportional to the final format of the drawing as much as possible. It gives me a sense of direction and composition for the final. These drawings should not take you too long, and are not meant to look pretty at all!

This was the selected thumbnail:

Its also a good idea to add tonal values to indicate depth...i didnt do it so well here X3 (im bad, i dont follow my own rules. What a great example I am! X3)

From the Thumbnail, a rough sketch is created: 

I notice a few things are off (and fix them the best I can) and decide to refine the background even more (I fix the moon and clouds so it works better in a composition). Once I refine the sketch and I'm satisfied, I transfer it with a sepia  faber castell brand colored pencil onto arches satin finish watercolor paper. *These pencilsare waterproof (they will not wash away when you do your washes).

This is what the transfer looks like before being painted:

Before painting, I highly recommend scanning your sketch or transfer, and doing some tonal and color studies in photoshop (sadly this was the step I forgot to save to show). This way, you decide on how you want the colors and lighting to look like in advance, rather than "going in blind" on the final painting. You will see that you will have more confidence, make less mistakes and avoid having to restart your painting.

 With my color and lighting studies as a guide, I lay down my watercolor washes gradually ( I can do a more detailed tutorial on this seperately sometime, if there is enough demand.):

Once I'm satisfied with the base I decided to add some colored pencil details in the fur. I follow the form as much as possible with my strokes. I refine my edges, lighting and add whiskers with white acrylic paint (or gouache).


Again, forgive my lack of extremely detailed explanations for now. I can make a tutorial should anyone be interested. Feel free to ask questions if you have any!