As I can't really draw much these days, I propose you a series of journals detailing my process when painting
II - Preparation
III - Execution
III - Execution
1. Indoor referencing
At this stage, I will usually direct my efforts toward refining the focal point of the painting first. If that part works, then most of the job is done as the rest of the painting is pretty much just here to support that area
So I started by doing a photoshoot with my husband. Usually, I model for my female characters, but at this time, I was heavily pregnant so I had to avoid jumping, and my silhouette wasn't really fit for the job anyway
thankfully I have the most supportive husband, and he agreed to be shot jumping around, wearing silly props and such
For privacy reasons, I won't be posting any full photograph, but here are some details of the photos we took :
So, my arms and his legs, basically
we used a nearby window as our main light source to mimic the painting's lighting scenario. I also own a set of studio lights that I use when I need to setup a more specific light setting. Shooting references always involves a good deal of imagination when it comes to which objects or clothes could serve as placeholders for the real things. I strongly encourage you to have a look at this excellent article on the blog Muddy Colors
for some amazing examples of reference setups !
With all this material, I made a more accurate sketch of Morgan on a new layer on top of my current painting layer. Here is the comparison with my original sketch from imagination :
I then lowered the opacity of the sketch at about 30% and started to paint the character below the sketch layer, using it as a guide. Then I deactivated that sketch layer to polish it. For this part, I was exceptionally working at 50% zoom
because this had to be the most detailed part of the entire painting. Here is a close-up of what she looked like at the previous step vs the finished result; hopefully you will see how the details from the shots above influenced many of the changes and details here !
2. Outdoor referencing
Sometimes the visual information you're looking for just can't be setup inside. I wasn't satisfied with how I initially painted the stream and the small waterfalls. It looked stiff and repetitive, something that tends to happen a lot to me when working from imagination. My brain has a strong tendency to come up with order and regular patterns. It struggles a lot with creating the randomness and unpredictability that characterizes natural and organic shapes.
So we went for a hike in a nearby natural park which featured, guess what, streams and waterfalls ! Thankfully it had rained a couple of days before our hike, so there was a ton
of water compared to the previous time I hiked there
I took a ton of photos and spend a lot of time observing the water flowing. Here are some samples :
And here is the comparison between my first attempt at painting the water vs the finished result. I just wanted to add that with the exception of the focal point, I did all the detailing and the polishing of the other areas of the painting at 33% zoom
, so including this one
I honestly don't really know what else I could be telling you about my process and my methods, but don't hesitate to ask me if you have any question !