I do not often read any specific blogs on a regular basis, but as I grow continuously more interested in learning how to make a career from my art, I find myself time and again returning to one site in particular: ChrisOatley.com . Chris’ blog and podcasts provides practical, forward-thinking insight into the creative industry, which has helped me greatly in realizing the possibilities for me as an illustrator. Most recently, Chris has been working on a series of articles on personal projects — the different kinds of personal projects creative folk can undertake and the various rewards to be gained from them. Though he gives advice on how to earn an income from one’s personal projects, Chris emphasizes that money does not drive success, passion does. Passion.
I look forward to the next few articles, which will complete the series. But in the meantime, I’ve been inspired to start my own project, and I strongly feel the advice given by Chris Oatley and his guest writers will provide the framework needed to help me see the project through. I plan to update this blog as my personal project progresses, but in the meantime, you can check-out Chris Oatley’s series at the following links:
I also suggest listening to his artcast #58:
Enjoy and keep moving forward!
I’ve found several interesting examples of painting processes in which values are first established with tonal washes and then color is carefully glazed over top.
The approach helps to ensure a composition reads well by prioritizing value over color (if your values read well, you can do nearly anything you’d like with color). It might also appeal to those who, like myself, still struggle with balancing an awareness of color and value patterns at the same time (especially when working from the imagination). Finally, I personally like the look of paintings that have been unified with a monochromatic underpainting.
I’ll probably try my tones in raw umber first, as William Stout’s technique does, to give a bit more warmth and “ground” my painting in a nice earth tone. Laying tones in with black is something I might try later, but I hesitate to try it in a transparent watercolor painting as black will quickly desaturate any colors laid over top of it. Perhaps this is why JAW Cooper glazes over her black washes with gouache (opaque watercolor) instead, as the pigments depend less on the white of the paper for their vibrancy.
Check-out the following links for examples and more in-depth information on this approach, and feel free to share your opinions. I’d love to see links to similar techniques!
Oberon and Titania by Arthur Rackam
William Stout’s Rackham/Dulac technique is based on the techniques used by Golden Age Illustrators Arthur Rackham and Edmond Dulac. In this very thorough explanation, he first establishes his values with a quick wash of raw umber watercolor. Watercolor is again used to add color to his illustrations. Stout also offers advice on how to keep your inked lines dark if you use this method on an inked drawing.
St. George and the Dragon by Justin Gerard
Over at Muddy Colors, Justin Gerard demonstrates Stout’s technique in his painting “St. George and the Dragon”. He also shows a little of his process in creating a digital version of the work following a similar method.
Sacrifice by JAW Cooper
Both Stout’s and Gerard’s examples reminded me of a few demonstrations by JAW Cooper, which follow a similar process (don’t let the titles fool you; Cooper’s older tutorial is a bit more in-depth in her explaination than the second one, but I find both to be valuable demonstrations). Cooper’s process begins with thin washes of india ink (black and sepia in one example; only black in another). Thin layers of gouache are then built-up to give color to her paintings.