Archives for posts with tag: Art Process

As you may be able to tell, I love the process of painting. I love seeing the process and having it explained to me. So, I wanted to include you all in “part way through” of my process. I am in the beginning of preparing for an upcoming show about Aruthurian Legend, so of course, my first subject is great Merlin. I especially love the T. H. White interpretation of the character, so this piece is somewhat inspired by his delicious descriptions.

When I complete the piece, I will post my initial sketches, photos, and studies as well, but here is the actual painting at each stage so far.

The Line drawing is by far the most important part. If you have a really good drawing, the rest will come so much more smoothly. Afterward, I did a brunaille “wipe out,” where I literally wiped out paint from the board after I painted it on.

Today I began the darker brunaille, working monochromatically with the colors iron oxide red and ultra marine blue. The entire piece is 18×27 inches and I have been working for about a week (although I’ve had the sketch for a good 3 months now.)

IMG_3394 IMG_3397 IMG_3402 IMG_3406 IMG_3407 IMG_3408 IMG_3410 IMG_3417 IMG_3420

Hope you enjoy seeing my process- can’t wait to update with the final! If you have any questions, or you found this post helpful, please leave me a comment- I’d love to take a look at your work!


I know it’s late, but I’ve prepared something special for this week…. My list to end all lists (with help from Calvin and Hobbes) There is a lot here, so feel free to take your time.

As we begin this new year, I think that everyone would appreciate a few helpful pushes to start creating artwork with your best foot forward. No matter if you are a professional or otherwise, we all need boosts to be inspired and get ourselves in gear! If you are just beginning in this art journey, I think these hints will be very helpful for those of you getting started.

I’ve compiled a list of 15 suggestions and resources to help some of you begin 2015 meeting your creative goals. Many of these are going to be most helpful for illustrators or hopeful illustrators, but I think they will be fun and interesting for all!


1. Draw Every Day 

This is something you probably hear a lot, or at least you should. When I was just starting to seriously pursue a career in art, this is the first piece of advice I took. My version was to fill a sketchbook page every day. After doing this for 8 months, I saw myself improve hugely. If you have a full work day, push yourself a little during a break or after work. Try to give it your full attention for as long as you have. You won’t be sorry.

Look up a few of these fantastic draughtsmen to get inspired: Alfonse Mucha, John Singer Sergeant, Rubens, Frank Frazetta, Petar Mesildzija, John Howe, Norman Rockwell, Jeff Watts – Those are a very small but great start.

2. Read These Blogs:

I’ve learned as much from these blogs as I did from two years at University. Amazing free resources!! – some of the most successful fantasy and scifi illustrators update this blog very regularly, and it’s never useless information, and it is often priceless. – James Gurney is a learner, so everything on his blog will help you learn more about the world and art as a whole. He also created the famous Dinotopia series, so he has some amazing work under his belt.

3. Listen to these podcasts

Chris Oatley’s ArtCast and The Paperwings Podcast – Chris has created a kind environment full of hope and AMAZING advice. He will encourage you through a many lonely drawing and he will always make you smile! But his podcasts are not fluff- hard work and consistancy are always his first suggestions. His website is great for illustrators, concept artists, comic artists, and all storytellers.

Sam Weber’s podcast Your Dreams My Nightmares – This podcast may not be as hopeful as Chis’ (in fact, it is actually pretty cynical) but it is very real and challenging and is a great place for a serious hopeful illustrator to start. I always find something to take away from each cast, but for advice, I listen most intently to the artists that produce similar work to myself and ALWAYS the art directors. Interviews with Dave Palumbo, Jon Klassen, Donato Giancola, and Irene Gallo are great ones to start with 🙂

This one also seems to look promising: – I’m looking forward to hearing more of this!

4. Read Books for Pleasure

I used to spend every spare, quiet moment I had sketching, and I felt guilty for doing anything else. I felt I was wasting my time or not being responsible if I wasn’t farthing my craft. How would I get the job if that omnipresent other kid was drawing all the time and I was sitting around reading??? However, this is not the right mentality. You need to sketch. You need to dream with your pencil. But if you have nothing to dream about, your sketches may not have far to wander. So pull out your Tolkien, Lewis, Austen, Steinbeck, Chesterton, Dickens, Dostoevsky, T. H. White, L’Engle, Lemmot, and O’Connor and READ!! Read the best and the classics. If you dislike reading, start with something you know you like. I just started LOTR again and I am adoring it all over again.

5. Read Books for Study

Here is a list of my very favorite art instruction books. I limited it to those I own so that I don’t get too carried away. Try to get these at the library if you can’t buy them, but eventually you’ll want them. This is really a post on it’s own, and will be another more extensive list in the future:

John Howe’s Fantasy Art Workshop – My single most favorite book in my art library. First: because I love John’s work, second: because seeing a master fantasy watercolorist’s process is rare and beautiful and mysterious.

James Gurney’s Color and Light  

James Gurney’s Imaginative Realism – Anything Gurney is a must have.

The Art of Animal Drawing

Artistic Anatomy of Trees – Hard to read, but very good.

Scott Robertsons: How to Draw

Edgar Payne’s Guide to Outdoor Composition (Okay I’m borrowing it from the library but it is TOO great to leave behind.)

Framed Ink

Bridgman’s Life Drawing -Criptic and advanced, but helpful if you can get the shapes to start making sense.

6. Go Outside- PAINT Outside

The summer before my last year at University, I did about 10 outdoor paintings. Not a very impressive number, however I learned more about painting from doing those than I did but an entire 11 week still life class. This is NOT to say don’t still life- DO. However, I have a personal theory that outdoor painting causes much more anxiety, which sharpens the mind to make scary decisions that are either good or bad. I learn most from the bad ones and therefore I do better next time. Creation can always bring you to your weak point, so beware!

7. Support a Kickstarter or Patreon

It will help you to make more if you help others reach their dreams! One Fantastic Week has a patron that I will definitely be supporting sometime in the New Year.

8. Take fasts from the internet

Let your mind rest from every distraction. I’d challenge you to go as long as a day or a week without it if you can. No Facebook. No blogs. No youtube cat videos. No Pinterest. Try not to just fill that time up, either. Muscles need time to recover after they’ve been torn. If our brains have time to rest after the information we take in, our minds will be sharper and more ready for our challenges. This may be a good time to start some of those other routines like reading, writing, sketching, walking, talking, listening.

9. Meet up with other artists- make art friends 

“But how am I supposed to do that???” You ask?

Do a workshop: TCLWorkshop, IMC, and Watts Atelier Illustration bootcamp are a few amazing ones. I made friends at TCL workshop that I continue to spend time with and get advice from. Good Workshops are often little explosions of life changing learning. Let me know if you need help finding a good one in your area!

Go to life drawing class- Not always as amazing, but I have made good friends going to these and gotten in touch with my arts community. If anything, life drawing is always great!

Go to an actual art related Meetup

I’ve heard people say “I don’t need to have art friends or go to art meetings or go to anything because I can go anywhere and meet people.” This is fine and great, but the chances of you meeting a lot of people who want to be your friends and talk about art all the time and give you critiques and valid feedback… in a random coffee shop? It’s just not likely.

10. Take care of yourself

Little does the artist know, eating right and exercising are vital to your creative process. I walk every morning and will soon be training with weights. After hurting my back and hand while painting  this last summer, I’ve realized that I need to be in shape for what I do and so that I can do it for a long time. Giving up all your sleep and good eating and exercise habits amazingly will not help your work, but it will hurt it. Your mind and creativity will flourish with your healthy lifestyle. This also means spending time with friends and family

That way we’ll feel like this:

11. Set up a Schedule

Most artists (in fact most successful people) will tell you that having a regular, boring, predictable schedule where you come to your work every day is the most important way to become good at what you do. That and doing it a lot. Jeff Watts says that a 3 hour chunk of time is optimal. 1 hour to warm up, one hour to start getting it, and one hour to let your mind absorb and get super exhausted. This is where it gets the toughest, but if you really want to get good, this is your ticket. However, even 1 hour every day will be better than 6 once a week. It takes 30 days to start a habit. No breaks and no exceptions.

12. Follow these Youtube Channels and Almost Free Online Resources

New Masters Academy – Steve Hustons figure lessons, Joe Weatherly’s animal drawing videos, Everything by Glenn Vilppu, Gary Meyer’s Painting Demos, and Erik Olsen Perspective courses, are in my opinion the best places to start. one month of intense learning and copying EVERYTHING they draw will take you VERY far.

Watts Atelier Online – Jeff will speak for himself. Watch every intro video and try not to spend your money.

Stan Prokopenko’s Youtube Channel – some of the best figure instruction that is free online. this is a MUST.

This video by Draw Mix Paint has surprisingly been extremely helpful.

13. Be Obsessive

If you like something a lot, do not be afraid to extra  like it. As an artist, it’s important to get into the nitty gritty details of what you do. If you want to paint scenes of the civil war… buy books, buy figures, make costumes, collect old things, make your life more civil warish- Cook with cast iron, eat hard tac, method act your way into your painting. Okay, you don’t have to go that far, but if you’re an artist, people will expect strange things from you, so don’t be afraid to embrace your personal obsessions and thought processes. Soon you will speak that language and you can build a career on that.

14. Have a Hobby

Along that line, have something you love to do that is not simply drawing and painting. Drawing may be your top favorite thing to do (and if you want to be a professional, it should be. At least extremely close to it.) But if it is all you have, it will be too much pressure, and the love will become a chore. This can happen even with what you love, and that can mean you’re burned out and need a little break. Having something else can really help this. Play an instrument, go hiking, write a novel, do math problems, sword fight…. The point is to add variety and be balanced.

15. Be Nice

Finally, I wanted to add this because it is extremely important for life and work to have good character and treat others with respect. Almost all the work I get is through people I meet and interactions I have that follow. THEN I get the work. MY art may speak first, but I speak second, and THAT matters. Chris Oatley says “Be great and Be great to work with.” There is not much advice that is better than that. Stay positive. Don’t be defensive. Only speak well of others. And be nice.