New Work: Tam Lin (traditional media)
Posted on 23 Sep 2014
I am a pathological recycler, especially when it comes to art. While it's always exciting to tackle a new idea, the amount of planning I like to put into the early stages of an image can make the process prohibitively time-consuming for personal work (which is always a struggle to squeeze in among the projects that pay the rent). Revisiting my older work strikes a nice balance - I get to apply new skills, knowledge, and media to a piece without the looming uncertainty that comes with planning a whole new concept from the ground up.
My latest painting is one such recycled idea. My original take on the Tam Lin legend was a digital piece, created back in February for the Month of Love blog. The pencil underdrawing was small - around 8x10" - and the painting was pretty rushed; at the time I created it, it was my favorite piece, but nonetheless it had a few problems, and I always intended to revisit it. Since I've been trying to get into doing more traditional media work, I ended up tackling the new version in acrylic and oils, and on a much larger scale (around 18x24".)
On the left: digital, February 2014. On the right, acrylic and oil, September 2014.
This was a pretty complete overhaul, since I knew I didn't want to create an exact replica (because really, who wants to paint the same thing twice?) so I played with the poses, the scale, and the decorative elements of the flowing cloak and the background. I started more or less from scratch - new pencil underdrawing and all.
After sinking 20-odd hours into the pencil underdrawing for this piece, wild horses couldn't have compelled me to put a brush to it. As usual, my local giclee printers came to the rescue, reproducing the sketch onto tinted paper which I then mounted on illustration board. I used white charcoal pencil to heighten the drawing and add fine details, then layered acrylic inks, colored pencil, and oil paint to build up the final image.
Working over a reproduction of my pencil sketch.
I was glad to have the recent traditional-media experience of working on my Cold Wind
and Colder Wind
paintings - I learned quite a bit over the course of both paintings, and things went a little more smoothly this time around. I documented the whole process pretty exhaustively, so a blow-by-blow breakdown of the piece (and maybe even a video!) will be coming in the near future.
I'll leave the final judgement on which version is the "better" one to the viewer; each piece has certain aspects I like, and certain other aspects that will continue to haunt me (although probably not enough to compel me to paint a third version). Either way, it was a fun project to take on and I don't regret the extra time I put in on this one.
My working process, my style, and the quality of work I'm able to produce has evolved considerably in the past year, and as a result I'm left with a number of pieces which, while I still love them dearly, are no longer relevant to where I'm headed with my art. It's left me wondering which piece I'll be revisiting next.Whispers,
I've got my eye on you...
New Work: Colder Wind
Posted on 16 Sep 2014
Here's something exciting that went onto my easel immediately upon my return from IMC - a (traditional media!) painting created for the newly-launched ArtOrder Artists Series. A limited-edition print run is in the works for this painting; I'll update with a link here as soon as it's available for purchase; in the meantime, you can visit The Artorder for some background on the project and what it's all about!
I put together a complete write-up of the process, including all the process pics your heart could desire - check it out (along with the finished piece!) HERE.
New Work: Bottle Quest
Posted on 12 Sep 2014
If this piece looks familiar, it's because it's based on one of my sketches from long ago. I like revisiting old ideas - having some of the kinks worked out in advance makes the process kind of like assembling an illustration from a do-it-yourself kit in an afternoon... especially now that the passage of time has granted me slightly better rendering skills, and a slightly better idea of how a face is assembled.
In other news, Illuxcon is upon us again! I'll be exhibiting my work in the showcase (the evenings of Friday, September 19th and Saturday, September 20th) - I've got a couple of new traditional paintings along with some of my original pencil art, a handful of tiny drawings, and my usual binder of digital fare. Come visit me if you're in Allentown!
Illustration Master Class 2014: Cold Wind
Posted on 07 Jul 2014
My finished painting from IMC! Acrylic ink and oil, 16x24."
It seems like only a few days ago that I returned home from IMC
- in actuality, it's been three weeks, but I'm still a bit numb from the excitement (and the sleep deprivation). Over the course of one very intense week at Amherst College I got to meet a slew of awesome artists, get direct art instruction from some of my illustration idols... oh, and I painted something!
At 16x24", this painting (an illustration for the short story "Cold Wind"
) is one of the larger pieces I've worked on so far; it's also my second serious foray into traditional media this year. I learned a lot from this
piece - mainly that my style doesn't translate well into direct oil painting. This time around, I wanted to let the pencil underdrawing show through in the finished piece to create a look more reminiscent of my digital work. This worked out reasonably well - I used my pencil drawing as the starting point for a transparent acrylic ink underpainting, then tinted it up with layers of oil glazes and a few touches of opaque paint towards the end.
Thumbnail (3x3") and rough sketch (7x10.")
I came to IMC with a fairly developed sketch (above right), since I knew time would be limited and I was pretty confident in my chosen thumbnail. The IMC faculty (I was in the group headed by Rebecca Guay, Greg Manchess, Scott Fischer, Mike Mignola, and Iain McCaig) had a few key suggestions that really strengthened the image - most notably rearranging the scattered animal skulls, and adjusting the angle of Deer Woman's head so that she's staring down her attacker.
Finished pencil/white charcoal drawing on toned paper (16x24.")
I originally planned to paint directly on top of my pencil art - but finally had some sense talked into me by artists who clearly knew better. So instead, I scanned the pencil art, printed a copy on white Bristol paper, and used that as the base for my painting.
Touching up the acrylic ink underpainting with pencil & white charcoal.
I saw the wisdom of this as soon as I started the acrylic underpainting - which ended up obscuring a good deal of the pencil art. The piece needed additional work in pencil and white charcoal before I moved on to the oil stage, which allayed my fears that working over a printed sketch would render the finished piece a Kinkadian "hand-embellished" print.
Working on my painting in the IMC studio on Day 6.
I documented the entire process in photos for an article in ImagineFX - so if you're interested in seeing a complete rundown of the (many!) steps I went through to replicate my digital process in paint, keep an eye on future issues of the magazine for more process pics, supply list, and of course an extra dose of my own ramblings about art.UPDATE: Issue #112 featuring my complete rundown of the process is now available over at the ImagineFX store!