Process Shots

Vincent Price in Acrylic Paint
May 2015

This is how my acrylic paintings are typically done. I like the free flow feeling of painting in acrylics and so I sort of do a bit of a free-handed style when I paint with them. I don't like to paint on a white canvas, so I always lay down a background color, just whatever color I am feeling when I start the painting. Then, I start using a darker color to do a rough sketch of what I want the painting to look like. I'll go over mistakes with the lighter background color and start to define what I want it to look like more and more. Sometimes, I will go over the final lines with an even darker color before I start.

Then, I normally start with the subject I am painting. I know a lot of people will start with the background first and maybe tape or mask off the subject. I haven't really done that with any of my paintings. I almost kind of like the way that the brush strokes are forced to go around the subject when you do the background afterword. I think it gives it an interesting look.

As I do each section of color, I like to lay down a medium tone color for the section. I prefer to wait as long as possible to make sure this layer is completely dry before I start to work on top of it. I don't have a heat gun, so I just sit around and wait. But, I've seen people use heat guns to speed up this process. So, the next layers I will do on top of my base layer are to make the base layer more of a solid color (for areas that will be that medium tone) and to kind of start to blend in any darker or lighter areas. I prefer to do at least 2 of these "blend" layers on top of each other. I think it helps the blend to look smoother and not show as many brush strokes. Although, I don't really mind for a bit of brush stroke to show. In fact, in certain pieces I will emphasize brush strokes. It really just all depends on what kind of look I am going for. In this piece, I tried to keep everything looking smooth. To smooth out edges between sections of color, I'll use a watered down color to kind of seal up edges and cover any of the (in this case pink) canvas color that is showing through along the edges.

When I was working on the background for this piece, I took some Halloween scrapbooking pages and used those in some of the squares to add a little extra detail. I didn't have any matte medium when I did this or I probably would've used that to do so. Instead I just used a texture paste. The pages where greyscale, so I painted thin layers of the purple color on top of them to make them more cohesive with the rest of the background. That's pretty much it!


Evil Dead Portrait in Colored Pencil
December 2014 - March 2015

Whenever I work on a portrait I like to work from a print out of the picture I am drawing. Even though the print out may not look 100% color accurate to the photo, this gives me a palette to work from that isn't going to change. Like, if I was working from a picture on a computer monitor or phone and then went from device to device and even from different angles, the colors will look different. Also, I think that print outs are a lot easier to travel with if needed.

I start out with drawing the photo and I will outline where different sections of color are going to be, so you can imagine when I was working on this one it took ages just to do that. Then, I will trace my drawing onto a fresh piece of paper using a light colored pencil and a light board. I try not to press hard with the pencil so as not to make indentations on the paper. That way, I start with a fresh undamaged peice of paper. Honestly, after doing this colored pencil drawing and learning more from other artists, I am going to try other types of paper for my next colored pencil work because the paper I did my colored pencil work on previously, including this one, is really thin and doesn't have a lot of tooth and ends up being difficult to work with after so much layering. I notice that the pencil will start to kind of look "curdled" and it's difficult to avoid that. It takes away from it looking completely realistic and I can tell that it's colored pencil at that point.

Anyway, so after I have transferred my drawing, I start to lay out some light layers of color where the different sections are going to be. I sort of build up the areas evenly as I go and try to remember what colored pencils I use for what, which is the most difficult part. Then, after so many layers, I will begin burnishing over areas. Once that is done, I will go back over lightly to adjust for variances in color and whatnot.

For areas that are extra light, I will burnish with a white or some kind of a creme color. For darker areas, I may choose a color near that range, or go with the Prismacolor blender pencil, which is just a clear wax that will blend whatever you already have down. The blender pencil doesn't work well if you use it on areas with only thin layers of color or if you are trying to blend a fade to nothing.

For the large background areas and the hair in this, I used Prismacolor Artstix, which are blocks of just the colored pencil wax shaped like pastels. I think these are especially useful for covering bigger areas a lot faster. The rest of the work was done with the Prismacolor Soft Core Colored Pencils.

I'm not sure how long this took me to finish. When I am trying to be color accurate, I prefer to work in daylight and the time of year that I was working on this there wasn't too much daylight for me to work with combined with my work schedule. So, I would mostly just work on it for a couple hours at a time. Which really isn't so bad, because I think it's better to work on realism with fresh eyes. If you are looking at something for too long, you can't really "see" what you are working on anymore. Another tip is to take photos of your drawing and the picture side by side (you would need a print out for this). For some reason, when you take a photo of your drawing (versus just looking at it with your eyes), you can more easily see any mistakes you made in your drawing.

Some of the other tools that I use are a piece of tissue to set my hand on top of so I don't smudge any of my work, a kneaded eraser, and an electric eraser. I've seen people use brushes to brush away pencil dust from their work, but I normally just lightly move my tissue across the paper to pick up any loose dust. After my tissue gets so much dust on it, I'll just get a new one.