Follow along with me as I build up this painting from sketch to finished piece!
The first step was to photograph the sketch, bring it into Photoshop, and blow it up to 300 dpi. I duplicated the sketch onto a new layer (to preserve the original, in case I need to reference it) and, with the paintbrush set to white, roughed in the highlights.
Now the full range of values are represented – lights and darks. From there, I moved onto Red’s riding hood, since it’s the focal point of the image and my first goal is to rough in the values and colors of the entire painting so I can get a glimpse of how the finished piece might look.
Good enough for me, let’s paint her face! I’m using this brush:
Choosing colors has always been kind of a crapshoot for me, but a few things seem to help get a painting off on the right foot:
- Use a middle-tone fleshy color (if in doubt, go darker)
- Choose a color to represent the lighting (blue, in this case) to smear into that fleshy tone
It’s blocky, but it’s a foundation to build on:
Eh, I don’t know how I feel about the wall-o-bangs yet. Her eyes are pretty dark and flat (and too mature looking), so I’ll hit those first as soon as I get a reference…
Time to hit Google Image Search for some good face references to land this thing. I used a couple of photos of the very lovely Olsen twins for Red’s late-teens facial features.
But I think she ended up looking more like Katniss Everdeen. S’all good, I’m happy enough with the face to move onto the rest now.
The next thing I did was start laying in values throughout the rest of the painting. The greys are slightly blueish and greyish. I never stay too long in one part of the painting – I want all of it to arrive at the same level of “done” simultaneously. Her face is the exception, I always like to develop the faces further than the rest of the canvas to motivate and excite me through the rest of the painting. 🙂
This concludes the first session – I’m about 90 minutes into the painting (the sketch itself was another 60 or so minutes).
By building on the existing sketch, I hit the ground running and build up paint on top of it. I used to reach a point where I’d turn off the sketch and then the painting would start to mutate without its influence. Keeping it embedded is critical to my current workflow.