Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Final Process

Hello, all.

Well, this is the part that usually goes pretty quick, although I have not had a lot of time to focus on the piece in the last few days.

What you see are layers of colored pencil. I try to limit my palette as much as possible, sticking with white, several cool grays, a few blues, flesh tones, sienna, and umber. I use these to build forms and value transitions, along with local colors when necessary.

I feel a need to also point out some product choices here. To the left, you see Rustoleum Clear Finish Spray Paint (matte), Liquitex Basics Gesso, and Koh-I Noor Woodless Color Pencils.

All of these 'discoveries' came from the necessity of being cheap. When I learned the original technique from Alex Bostic (an instructor at Virginia Commonwealth University), I went with the cheapest stuff I could find. I found that when I used the Rustoleum, it had a very grainy finish. A bit aggressive, but it can be lightly sanded back. As for the Basics Gesso, it is student grade (not as high quality as the artist's grade), but I like the tooth of it much better for graphite drawing.

Last but not least, I tried the Koh-I-Noor colored pencils because a set of 24 was only 13 bucks (and with my 40% off!!). I find that they are much richer than the industry standard, Prismacolor. There are only two drawbacks. First, the palette of the woodless pencils is only 24 colors. Prismacolor has them beat on that front, hands down. Second, because they are woodless (basically a big chunk of pencil coated with lacquer), they are fragile. I can't tell you how many I've ruined by being clumsy.

So, there you have it. Next, the final finished image.

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Step 3: The Underpainting

Hello, all.

So far, we have our drawing, in graphite, on gessoed board. We then sealed the drawing with clear matte spray paint (6 coats), and use a wash of Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, and a touch of Aliziran Crimson over the drawing, thinned with Turpenoid.

The drawing has now dried for about an hour, and I have sped up the drying process by using a hairdryer.

I am treating this as an underpainting. The oil wash is not completely dry yet. I then use several things to wipe away the paint, including bristle brushes, paper towels, cotton swabs, and kneadable erasers. Any and all of these tools work. Personally, I prefer using the kneadable erasers, dabbing at the paint, then a small bristle brush to make a smooth transition. Occasionally, I will use the paper towel.

You have about 24 hours or so before the paint becomes permanent. The longer the paint stays on, the harder it is to remove from the image. I will sometimes wait for several hours before beginning to model the image. The window of opportunity to do this does close, however, so be aware.

This monochromatic painting will provide unity for colors that will be applied on top, but that is to be discussed in the next step.

Have a great week!

Finally, The Next Step...

Hello, all.

I am finally getting around to showing you the next step in my technique. I started an image here, and wanted to show my next step. I have sprayed my image down with clear matte finish spray paint (a minimum of 6 light coats) so that the graphite is sealed. ****THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!*** Without it, your drawing will dissolve before your eyes.

Once sealed, I use Burnt Sienna oil paint, with touches of Ultramarine Blue and Aliziran Crimson, thinned with Turpenoid, and brushed on. You can brush it on evenly or be random and let the paint run, depending on what you like. I put the thinner in the bottom of a metal bowl, then blobs of paint along the rim. I then run the brush along the paint, then lightly dip into the thinner, then brush onto my image.
The great thing is, if you don't like the color, you can still wipe it off at this stage... no harm, no foul.

Once on, you have to let the Turpenoid evaporate some, until the sheen disappears. I sometimes use a hair dryer to speed the process along, which usually only takes an hour or so anyway. Be careful with the dryer, though... you definitely want to dry it just enough so that the sheen disappears, but not much more than that.
Next step soon.