Well here we go! Another week…another blog! Look at me go!
So sometimes people literally ask me what I do all day…and then ask if I just sit around and paint all day! It is a valid question, and I wish “sitting around and painting all day” were the answer! For me a day in the studio and a day on a project look different depending on a variety of factors….what time I get to the studio, how I’m feeling, if I just want to play and not work, etc etc!
For some people who have no concept of an artist’s process (which can be anywhere from
A-Z!) people sometimes assume you just stand in front of a blank canvas and get out your paints and make magic happen! While that sounds wonderful, and I know artists that can do that…I am not one of them! I have a pretty methodical way I work, and if I follow certain steps and maintain a certain workflow, my projects turn out successfully every time. If I try to skip steps and run ahead and think I know how to do something before completely working it out on paper first…usually I run into problems and the project takes me 3 times as long because I’m fixing mistakes or painting over wrong colors!
BUT a day in the studio working on my current project looks like the following….
Step 1- always create thumbnails. Before I start any project, it starts out as a small pencil or ink sketch. In college I remember in my illustration class we had to do 10 or 15 thumbnails for a book project. That was maybe 2-4 thumbnails per design I think. Now I usually push myself beyond that, just to dig deeper into the better ideas. While some designs come very easy, or are taken from a photo I am referencing, some take me much longer and require a lot more thumbnails. Just the other day I did a sheet of 15 just deciding how I wanted to arrange a particular landscape for the creation series. (Don’t worry, I ended up needing a lot more than 15!) I’ve found that especially if it’s a scene I’m composing or a subject I’m not as familiar with, I need more thumbnails!
Step 2- I usually create a larger sketch from the thumbnail I choose. Sometimes, as has been the case this week, I explore multiple options and choose my top 2-3 thumbnails and see what happens when I flesh them out with more details. At this stage I really look closer at my reference photos, and find more if necessary.
Step 3- I do a color study. This looks different depending on the project! Right now I’m doing multiple sizes of acrylic studies on illustration board. Typically though, I do watercolor studies. There’s something about a study that’s so fresh and a moment of discovery- and I always keep my small studies. It helps when I have to sell or deliver a large painting knowing I have the small study in my studio to remind me of the project!
Step 4- for really complicated pieces I do a value study in charcoal or sometimes a wash of water soluble pencil. This will help me to get that values I need and paint with confidence when it comes time to paint.
Step 5- I finalllllly start working on the actual piece! I usually reference all stages of my color notes and thumbnails to help guide the final piece!
Here is a look at some recent sketches! Enjoy :)