Watch Me Paint: Red Riding Hood wips

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:

  1. Use a middle-tone fleshy color (if in doubt, go darker)
  2. 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.

Tower of Terror in Soft Pastels

This week I bought myself a $5 box of soft pastels to play with to play with. They’re cheap (as is the paper I’m using), but the feeling of working in real media remains irreplaceable.  My hand is fully healed (at last!), so I anticipate a flurry of art to arrive any minute now.

I’m still riding high on Tower of Terror inspiration, so my first two soft pastel artworks are a couple of ~30 minute sketches of the DCA Tower of Terror and the Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror. The perspective’s a mess, but I don’t care. 🙂 dca_tower_of_terror_soft_pastels hs_tower_of_terror_soft_pastelsIf you like the Tower of Terror, you might enjoy my side-project,, which (joyfully) consumed the better part of last month. 🙂