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December 2009

December 2009 -- Jungle



  • EMG News:
    December News
  • Behind the Art:
    Walkthrough of Lost and Found
  • Wombat Droppings:
    Self Publishing
  • Artist Spotlight:
    Interview with Louisa Gaille
  • Part Time Painter:
    Taming the RSS


  • A Princess of His Own - Walkthrough


  • Fiction: Woman on the Moon
  • Fiction: Vegetable Jungle


  • Tomb of the King: Sceptor Part 5 and Epilogue

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  • A Princess of His Own - Walkthrough
    by Annie Rodrigue

    So step one, the sketch/idea.

    I wanted to do something different this year. I tried to draw something I've never drawn really before. A dragon. I'm also pushing myself to add more to my backgrounds, as I find that the fact I don't do as much perspective in my work is pure laziness from my part. So I added the castle in the back, though right now, it hasn't been drawn with vanishing points or anything, I just wanted to see what it could look like. I will fix this on the final pencil version.

    Step two is me trying make it all work together with a little bit of color. I pretty much always do a color test in photoshop before doing a painting. If it doesn't work in photoshop, I am more likely to give up on the idea or try another color scheme before moving on. Right now, I look at the colors, they work BUT, I know that the watercolour will never have colors as bright as this, so I might do a little bit of adjusting later on to fix this problem.

    And that's it for now! Next step is the penciling!

    Step 3 is one of the annoying steps… Perspective. For this step, I printed my sketch at final size and used that as an under layer to draw my castle. Took out another piece of paper and started sketching the castle using a 2 point perspective. Once I was done the castle looked something like this:

    Much better than our first sketch! But still needs some touch ups. At this point, I'm hoping I can fix them when I transfer the castle onto the final pencil drawing because I know I will lose a bit of quality from this drawing when I transfer it.

    Step 4 is transferring the sketch onto the watercolour paper. I will spare you the scan. It's never pretty! But basically, I use the printed sketch as a carbon. I pencil on the back than retrace everything. The reason why I try my best not to put too much time and effort on the thumbnail is usually because of the retracing part. It never looks great, so it's kind of like I have to redraw everything from scratch.

    For this drawing, I did a whole lot more than just a thumbnail. This is dangerous. But luckily, things turned out okay, except for the castle. Now it seems I even have more work to do on it than before. But still, here is the first version of the final pencils.

    The two lower towers are a little wonky, especially the one on our right and that balcony just isn't right. But hey! I think the snow princess is now much better than on the sketch and the dragon is really okay too! So next step will be to fix the castle and to ink to whole thing!

    Things are going well now! The painting slowly but surely getting done!

    We are at step 5 I think now. Well step 4.5 was fixing all the elements I picked up on the final pencils. I tried my best to adjust everything. I will spare you the scan, because there isn't much of a difference. So step 5 is the inking.

    For this painting, as you could notice in the photoshop color test, most of the lines need to be blue, especially for the snow. Snow with black lines…. just doesn't work for me (I'm guessing it doesn't work for most people too) The wonderful Meredith Dillman showed me these liquid inks a while ago and it saved me soooo much trouble! Before that, I would actually paint colored lines with a very tiny brush and acrylics. But liquid acrylics can be used with a pen and nib! I use the Liquitex brand.

    You can also see my new Tachikawa T-25 pen holder. My new baby! This is again a new wonderful discovery. I used to HATE inking. Never gave me good results. Always had to struggle with the pen and especially the nib. I never realised until a few months ago that maybe the tools were the problem. You'd figure that if it's the only brand they sell in art store than it must be good! But no. It's not. Tachikawa pen and especially the nibs make all the difference in the world. I can control my line the way I want to and the nibs are tough. I simply love them!

    So after a few hours of inking, the whole thing now looks something like this:

    Yup, doesn't look all that pretty huh? But it's important to remember that the inks will actually blend with the watercolour I will put over. I don't mean that the inking will bleed. No. It's actually closer to when you put one watercolour wash over the other. They multiply together to create a new shade. And somehow, it all works perfectly well. You will be able to see with the next step.

    Step 6, the first washes on the background. I've started layering a few colors: Holbein's Cobalt Green, Marine Blue and Peaccock Blue. And I also start to make the atmospheric perspective with the forest. Nothing fancy or definite yet. I let the watercolour do what it wants and I will work from there. I also added a bit of salt to get random light blobs that will also randomise the wash to get textures here and there.

    You can already see how the lines of the castle are “blending” with the background. Somehow, they don't look as blue anymore and mix well with the greenish forest.

    Step 7, I continue with the background and make the forest look more “forest-ish” but also work on the castle. I didn't want the castle to stand out all that much, so the lighting is still muted. I've also adding just one light wash of pink-ish red to the roofs. After everything is dry, I took out my acrylics and added highlights to the roof and the walls of the castle, just to make it pop a little.

    Step 8 is the snow. Snow is not really hard to shade. I keep it light, in blue-ish, green-ish colors. What is important with snow is to start with light washes and build up until it looks okay. It's easy to go too dark and then, it just doesn't look like snow anymore. I also try to keep the white of the paper and only add the color on the shading.

    Step 9, I continue to shade the snow a little bit, but also start the dirt/rock patch. Then I move on to the peacock feathers. From this scan, you can see roughly the steps. I start with the green, then add a little bit of burnt sienna around the “eye”. From then, I do the first light blue wash, and finish with the dark blue in the middle. Once the feather is all colored, I use my acrylics to do highlights to give it a little shine. If I feel the shine is too yellow or bright, I might add a small green watercolour wash to tone the acrylics down.

    Step 10, I finish the peacock feathers. Then I continue working on the rock/dirt patch. I added more green to it and also some grass.(somehow in my scan it looks like a bright green, but it's not really like that when I look at the real painting. I also do the little crown. I made it yellow and red to make sure it really stands out in the piece, because after all, this is the element of interaction between the dragon and the snow princess. It has to be one of the first things we see when we look at the painting.

    So step 11 is the dragon! I've actually scanned a few images to show the progression of the dragon, because this step is really all about painting scales and shading them until they feel right. No real secret here!

    And from there, I finished the full dragon and did a few highlights on the scales with acrylics. And that's it! Painting finished! =D

    Annie Rodrigue

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