The initial sketch is drawn in pencil and it really needs to have some 3D. It looks so flat. The way I accomplish this depth is to show where the light is in the painting.
Where is the light? I choose a light source coming down and hitting the objects from the top left corner of the painting down to the bottom right corner. As I apply light watercolor washes I look at each object in the drawing and decide where the light would hit first to find my highlighted area. I see parts of the object further from the light and that will be my medium tones. Last, I figure out where shadows will be cast from the object. Where is the light being blocked? This is where I put my darkest colors.
I like to paint from left to right if possible because I am right handed. If I start on the right side of the painting and move to the left, I will invariably drag my hand over wet areas and mess things up. I use a New Gamboge wash to give a golden yellow color to the ilima strand establishing it as a different subject so I don’t mistake it for leaves later on.
Systematically, I highlight the leading edge of each leaf, then quickly lay some sap green into the medium tone area letting the paint do its magical watercolor mix thing in between.
Now you can see how my desk is arranged so that I can see my reference materials as I work on this painting.
The first task is to apply mastik or watercolor resist wherever I want to reserve white paper. Doing this allows me to paint wet on wet without worrying about avoiding where I will need clean white to be. It makes my hands much more sure of themselves. You probably notice how confusing the darker color where the resist is, but you easily get used to it and are able to know it will look way different soon.
Sketching layout. My first step is layout of a basic figure similar to the other figures that I illustrated in her healing book. It will soon be published then I can tell you more about it.
Here is the first part of the layout sketch locating all seven symbols on the figure.
My concept is to treat each location as an extension of the proper color of glow eminating from the symbol across the corresponding body part in a curve.
I have to alternated the placement of symbols on both sides of the figure to fit them so they will fit in the book layout and still be readable. The glow sections also alternated from side to side being separated by white dotted curves to help divide.
This mission, should I choose to accept it, is about “the 7 major chakras”. A subject that I know very very little about. “Mission Impossible”, in my artist world…. hurrying to proceed before the message self-destructs!
Here is what my client requested.
Please paint an image of the chakras – they need to be coloured correctly ( 2 specific colours for each) and numbered starting at the bottom. I am open to your creative suggestions always.
1 – red and rose red
2 – orange and rose orange (salmon like colour)
3 – yellow and rose yellow (peach like colour)
4 – Green and Rose Pink
5 – Sky blue and Violet (sky blue with a touch of rose)
6 – Indigo and Purple (indigo with a touch of rose)
7 – white and white hued with rose colour
My first step is to find out information about what chakras are, and what they look like. Thank goodness for Google. I was able to sort through a ton of information on the subject and was totally amazed at what is involved. Seven glowing points partnered with different body parts are focused on for healing, colors, scents, foods, and of course the healing yoga positions.
I print out the most helpful info and lay it where I can see it, to help me see things as I start to sketch ideas from the info. Here are two examples of information I found.
There is the;
Crown chakra, Third Eye chakra, Throat chakra, Heart chakra, Solar Plexus chakra, Sacral chakra, and the Root chakra. Whew! Here is one of the sketches submitted to the client that was approved to go ahead with the chakra watercolor painting mission. Step-aside Tom Cruise!
After the creation of these roughs for John Dini I was able to get to work doing a more final pencil drawing for each scene. See the YouTube video below. Storytelling with a pencil… story board images for author John Dini, and his book entitled “Hunters in a Farmers World”. These images were part of his author’s tour slide show presentation for his book.
Chrome owned by Cornerstone Danes in Oroville WA. Absolutely beautiful dog. Please check out their website. I loved the position of one of the pictures used as a reference but got a lot of great detail in lighting from the seconde reference photo. Here is the beginning sketch with mastick (resist) applied to the paper to help reserve the important white areas.
I have been able to add tones of neutral brown to her body and face to read as gray to black fur and am now satisfied with Stella. The background is toned down and darkened enough to not compete with her face for attention. I do believe we are almost completed.
Note the crop lines around her that show the final 11×17 size.Here is how it looks after it is cropped.