Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mandarin Duck

I wanted to try and paint one of these ducks.  I found the colors and the textures very interesting so I had a lot of fun painting it.  This painting is mostly transparent paint.  There is a lot of opaques on the beak, eye, as well as the feathers around the neck and breast area.  As far as color is concerned, I used a lot of muted colors.  There are some intense saturated oranges on the ducks neck feathers and some intense turquoise colors on his head and eye.

Overall I am satisfied with the painting.  The only mistake I feel I made was that I forgot to lighten the line art on the duck itself.  After scanning the finished painting, I had to get rid of the visible lines around his eye and near his beak using photoshop.

As many of you know - I am an after school art teacher.  I also teach full-time during the summer.  Teaching takes up most of my time but I do my best to work on my own artwork when I can.  Ideally I would like to create at least one new painting every month.  I might set up a patreon account as well (I will notify everyone if I do).  I am not satisfied with my production as an artist.  It is hard to find a balance between my job as a teacher and my desire to create.  As my career as a teacher progresses, I hope to learn to manage my time better so I may also create more paintings for everyone to enjoy.  I genuinely love teaching, it is very rewarding but I also want to make more time to paint.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hawk Acrylic Painting

I thought I'd post a day by day process for this newest painting I did.  I really wanted to create a successful piece dominated by green and this time I figured it out.  None of the transparent colors in this painting are pure - all of them are mixed with something else to neutralize them.  I even toned down the payne's grey because I got sick of adjusting it after scanning it.  I mixed payne's grey with some burnt sienna to get a warmer and more neutral grey.  Acrylic payne's grey is just too blue and like I said, it is an annoyance to adjust it in photoshop.  The greens in the background are a mixture of permanent green light, green gold and alizarin crimson hue.  The reds on the bird are a mixture of alizarin crimson hue and permanent green light.  Any yellows on the bird have a little bit of dioxazine purple mixed into them.  The only pure color is the yellow opaque color in the hawk's eye.

I decided to take a photo after each day of painting just to see my thought process.  I generally like to get all the dark, hard edges before putting on thin veils of color.  I used two brushes - one small flexible round and a soft neptune brush for any light washes.  What you see below is about six days of painting, maybe 3 to 5 hours total for each day.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Process for Rabbit Ambush and Rocket Raccoon

For this painting, it was crucial that the planning was carefully thought out because there were many elements in the composition that needed to be separated from each other.  To separate all the elements, maximum contrast is very important.  The areas in the composition that needed separation were the rabbits, the wolf, the large tree, the grass, the trees behind the wolf and the treeline in the distance.

You can see my initial idea in the thumbnail.  I changed the pose of the wolf character because I thought it felt stiff and awkward.  By changing the pose I altered the story from a protagonist searching for a rabbit assassin, to a protagonist being aware of one rabbit but oblivious to the danger behind him.

This is the reference I looked at when I created the line art and when I started my painting.  I liked the otter sitting in grass because it shows what long grass looks like when something is sitting in it.  The trees, weapons and rabbits I drew from my imagination.

My initial drawing was somewhat of a disappointment - the turns/angles on the armor did not look right and the wolf's head was way too low.

Here in the inks you can see I altered the armor some and I raised the wolf's head a little more.

As I mentioned before, contrast is very important especially when there are a lot of elements in the composition that need to be separated from each other.  Black, white and grey comps are crucial for this part of the planning.  I knew that I wanted the large tree with the rabbit as well as the wolf to register as black.  The other two trees and the grass I wanted as a dark grey.  All other elements in the distance needed to be light grey or white.

After I had a good understanding of the overall values in the composition, I began thinking about color.  This color theory is similar to the one I used on my phoenix painting except I have used pure blue on the subject (wolf's eye) instead of turquoise.  I like to use color theories like this a lot because with yellow-orange, I can get maximum contrast and it looks good against neutral blue-violets.

Once I knew the color theory I intended to employ, I was ready to colorize my lines.  I printed this one out and started painting but after five hours of work, I realized that the wolf's head was still too low so I went back to the line art for corrections.

When I draw wacky cartoon characters, it is still important that they have believable proportions.  I could not continue painting knowing that the wolf's head looked sunken into his shoulders.  You can see in this image that I raised his head about half an inch.  I also got rid of one the plates of armor on his left arm (axe arm).  That plate of armor is flat and should not curve around or be visible.  The change on the armor was a minor nitpick but I felt it had to be done.


When I started my painting, I first did an underpainting on the wolf, the grass, the large tree and the rabbit in the foreground.  I only used payne's gray on those areas.  I then used dioxazine purple on the same areas again.  I also used dioxazine purple to do an underpainting on the other two trees and the second rabbit.  Once I had the underpainting established, I began working background to foreground using light transparent veils of paint and steadily the values in the foreground became darker.  Opaques were of course the final step in the painting and ninety percent of them are on the wolf character.  I used a little bit of opaque paint on the rabbits' eyes to make them appear to glow some.  I glazed pure phthalo blue over titanium white for the wolf's eyes.

Here is the least successful of the two paintings but I figured I would discuss it anyway.  As far as contrast and value are concerned, the painting does well.  But the color theory falls apart in some places mostly because I chose red for my subject.  Red is a tricky color because it does not like going too light nor does it like going too dark.  On a scale of one to ten, red likes staying at a five.  It is difficult to get high contrast with a stubborn color but I gave it my best effort.

I love the character Rocket Raccoon.  I had to create an illustration of him after I saw the movie.  HAD too.  I sketched this thumbnail in my sketchbook.  I wanted to go a humorous and violent route with the theme.

Here is the reference that I looked at.  I wanted to look at real raccoons when drawing and painting Rocket's head and tail.  For the costume I looked at some concept art from the movie.  I looked at some machine guns and rifles, but I mostly designed them using my imagination.  I looked in the mirror and posed when I drew his arms.  The rest of the elements in the composition all came from my head.

Here is my pencil drawing followed by my inks.  Before I inked it, I did shrink Rocket's head since it looked a little too big.

Here is my comp, color theory and colorized line art for the painting.  I think having yellow green in the background was fine, it just needed to be desaturated a little more.  I also think that it would have been better to use another color like magenta or blue for the subject of the piece.

Overall I have learned a lot from creating both paintings.  Despite my disappointment with the rocket raccoon painting, I am still glad I took the leap and tried a more challenging color theory.  This does not mean I am going to avoid the color red in future paintings, it just means I need to plan more carefully if I wish to employ it in my subject.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Rabbit Ambush and Rocket Raccoon

Here is the latest painting I created.  It is approximately 12 by 21.5 inches and I painted on coldpress watercolor paper using fluid acrylics. This was a challenge to paint because of the overall composition - all the elements needed to be separate from each other using contrast.  The wolf has the darkest values and the most contrast around his head since he is the subject of the painting.  The wolf also has 95% of all the opaque paint as well as the most saturated color.  His eyes are a super-saturated phthalo blue.  The remaining opaque paint is in the rabbits' eyes to make them appear to glow.

Rocket Raccoon is the other painting I worked on and to me it is not as successful.  I did a lot of experimentation using color because I wanted to create an image dominated by green.  I think it got a little muddy is some places.  The saturated green in the trees competes for our attention when we should be focused solely on Rocket.  Despite my disappointment, it was still amusing to draw and paint such crazy subject matter.  One day in the near future, I hope to create an image dominated by green or red and be satisfied with the results.

I on occasion like to explore cartooning.  One day I hope to put together a story both written and illustrated by myself.  It is an ambitious project but I think it could be fun to self-publish a book in this illustrative style.  I may have to simplify the drawings for the interior pages, it is going to require more sketching to come up with a more solid design for these strange characters.

I will post again in the near future and go into detail for my process for these paintings.