A Painting Story

I did a painting for my baby shower. This image is a culmination of sorts of the work I have done over the past few years. The introduction of traditional painting (watercolor specifically) came into my work with a project called “feast of legend”.





with this project I started using white highlights heavily. Painting in white highlights is a very classic technique but not used as much with watercolor. In the image above I used a Photoshop brush. It isn’t paint, but it did give me the idea to start using water color and try the same white highlight layering technique.

For some reason I find white paint easier to control and the technique of painting in whites after laying down swaths of color and painting the highlights back in is a better way of controlling light in the image. After messing around with some traditionally painted versions of the “feast of legend” image(not pictured). I moved on to some practical applications of my new painting style. This lead to a “phase two” stage where I mixed my line heavy graphic novel style with water color painting.





Mixing my previous style with watercolor introduced a few issues. Usually I would do the line work on an illustration, then paint it digitally. Adding color to a drawing. Simple. However, doing the color traditionally, with watercolor made things less simple. Water color could smear my line work which would cause the color to become muddy and the lines to lose their potency. Even if I lucked up and their was little to no smearing, I would likely need to go over the line-work again. The innovation I introduced at this point was to paint over a print of the pencil drawing. A print doesn’t smudge, and moving the inking stage to the end meant my lines wouldn’t need to be painted over. The above image resulted.

I next wanted to break out of my reliance on line work, so I did a few tests of painting over a full value illustration. Essentially turning my drawings into a grisaille underpainting. examples below.







At this point I was ready. The baby shower painting provided the perfect opportunity to fully ‘stretch my legs’ with the new painting style. A baby shower is an occasions that requires delicacy and elegance and reverence. Not the place for heavy line work. The occasion required a classic approach and look. This is the imagery to which I arrived:




I feel it served the purpose well, and certainly better than any of the previous line heavy styles that I typically worked in. The line from “Feast of Legend” to this image was interesting to me, and led me to discover many new things about myself as an artist.

I have also created a step-by-step video showing the process from drawing to finished painting:


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