View Full Version : Jaffa - WIP

08-27-2003, 01:56 PM
This is a wip that I want share.

insert jaffaref.jpg

This is the subject of my painting ......... Jaffa the cat! Jaffa was found in the reference library courtesy of his owner Hugh Hill. Thank you very much Hugh!!
I used a 12” x 16” gessoed canvas and then I loosely freehand Jaffa’s image very lightly and only reference marks with a 5h graphite pencil so that I can easily erase them.
Next, I need to protect the integrity of the canvas wher Jaffa will be so I lay single sided drafting film down on the canvas and tape into place. I then trace the outlined image of Jaffa onto the frosted side. I always work from the background forward. I find it easier.
I then cut out the outlined image of Jaffa from the drafting film using a stencil burner.
Some may attach the stencil to the canvas by hole punching it and using drafting dots. Here is how I do it. I use the stencil burner and cut elongated holes in the film.........
............ then I use 3M painters tape over the openings.
Now I begin to shoot in the background using an airbrush. I start at the top and work my way down. As I said earlier, I choose to work from the farthest object to the closest.
Working closely with my reference, I continue. I like the airbrush for realistic backgrounds. I can achieve the soft gradated tones that I don’t have the patients to do with a brush.
I’m done with the background here. It only took me about 35 minuets to complete. Now I set the painting where I can stare at it for awhile. When I’m satisfied ..............
............. I remove the stencil. Now it's time for the hard part!

More to come.........


08-27-2003, 02:06 PM
aww, from the title i thought someone was drawing my parrot:D ;)

its looking fantastic so far, the background is amasing. ive always wondered how you did airbrish, its something ive always wanted to try. i shall follow this thread closely!


08-27-2003, 05:28 PM
Cool! I've never thought of using airbrush to do backgrounds first. Looks great, Sam! Can't wait to see more!!

08-27-2003, 05:41 PM
Oh yeah !!! I'm going on this ride !!!!!! Looking very groovy so far !!


08-27-2003, 07:06 PM
what a novel start - got me hooked already

08-27-2003, 08:59 PM
I love the background....will be looking forward to more of this! Thanks for sharing your methods with the stencils and airbrush...what a timesaver!

08-28-2003, 12:22 AM
Thanks guys for you replys.
Katy, maybe your parrot needs to be my next subject!
I'm working hard on Jaffa, and this is what I have done since the last post.
Here I have have again used the airbrush to establish the darker areas. I want to work Jaffa’s fur up with a brush and since he has lighter colored fur, for me, I like to give the fur (brushstrokes) a contrasting background.
Before I go any further, I decide to protect the canvas where Jaffa’s eyes are. I have found it interesting how other artist’s prefer starting with the eyes. I do them last! I have found that for me, I don’t have to worry about “mussing” them up if I do them last. Anyway, I again use the one sided drafting film, tape it to Jaffa’s head, and trace the outline of his eye’s. I use the stencil burner to cut out the eye shapes, with corresponding elongated hole in the center of the cutout, and tape them into place. I use drafting film instead of frisk film because I don’t like hard edges, they are to hard to work out, it’s much easier to go back a create a harder edge than it is to soften one. The thinner the drafting film the softer the edge.
And this is what it looks like. A friend came by while I was making this WIP and she asked why I chose to do the eye’s last.....I told her “I don’t want him starring at me the whole time!”
After protecting the eyes, I finish the contrasting background with the airbrush. By the way, I tend to just reproduce the colors I see, so if your wondering why I have not mentioned colors it’s because I use too many colors and mixed variations that I would go crazy trying to keep track of them all!
Now I start with the fur farthest away from the foreground. I want to build several layers and work my way to the closest, or most focused point. Here I’m using a No 2 round bristle and I “dab” in the fuzzy, out of focus fur on Jaffa’s body.
A closer shot.
Well.......................for some reason I managed to forget to take photo’s of the progress, I suffer from a form “Dain Bramage”! I work on several projects at a time, so I tend to forget if I have taken new pics! Here I have worked up the fur on Jaffa’s body and have moved to his neck and face.
I use the combination of the Num# 1 liner and the airbrush to build the fur up. I brush in a few thousand light color hairs, and then lay a thin layer of a darker color on top with the airbrush.
Some close-up detail. A little “standard” brush work..................
.........................a little airbrush work.
He’s shaping up now. And I have begun to work in a circular motion around his head. You can see that I have one ear started.

How’s it going so far? Am I boring you to death!

More to come...........


08-28-2003, 12:42 AM
Boring? Hardly. This is one of the most interesting WIPs! I love seeing it come to a fantastic finish! Can hardly wait for the next.


08-28-2003, 04:08 AM
I just came in on this one.
This is unbelievable!! It so beautiful!!! I can't remember the last time I saw a WIP like this.
I don't know the first thing about airbrushing. It sure is interesting to watch.

08-28-2003, 06:25 AM
No way is this boring!! More, please!! It's coming along wonderfully and I'm learning so much! Thankyou!

08-28-2003, 03:21 PM
Thanks Shirl, She-She, and Lorna.

I'm almost done! Should have some more this afternoon.


08-28-2003, 06:34 PM
Now I’ve completed most of the fur brush work. I have stared at it for awhile and now I’m ready to do the eyes!
OOOOOooooooo spooooooky cat ................ no eyes! Poor Jaffa. He need’s his “peepers”!!! I have never been afraid of painting eyes. For me they are easy. OK, with that said I will tell you that I’m TERRIFIED of whiskers!!!!!! Yes, it’s true! I can’t do them! When I’m finished with Jaffa, I’m going to pack him up and send him to someone, anyone, to paint the whiskers!!!! I’m getting nervous just thinking about it! Maybe I need to seek some professional help! What would Dr. Phill say?
I make a new stencil for his pupils. I could hand paint these but I want soft edges and I’m not nearly as talented as most artists so I use what works best for me.
As you can clearly see ............I have spared no expense for masking material on this painting! I do not want over spray!!! So I protect the entire painting except for the area I intend to work on. I wont throw away anything that still has usefulness!!!!!
I shoot in the pupils while holding the stencil loosely. I don’t want it to raise too much under the air stream of the airbrush, otherwise, you will get underspray. By the way, I run my airbrushes at around 18 psi.
The pupils are done! Jaffa looks a little funny though!
“Crud”, I’ve done it again! Sorry guys! Using Comart Transparent acrylics, I sprayed a light coat of Ultramarine Blue as an under painting and topped it with May Green to get the eye color. I then darkened them with Smoke Grey and added the shadows. White is almost impossible to spray through an airbrush with any amount of control. I have tried every trick that I’ve heard or read about. I have done extensive experimenting with white pigment through an airbrush. Here’s what I have found............for the best control and constant flow without clogging, Createx opaque white (airbrush colors) works great through my Iwata HP-B if you thin it about 3-4:1. In my airbrush terms that's about 3 or 4 drops of water to 1 drop of pigment. With this you have to build several layers before you can get it “bright” enough.
I step back and stare at Jaffa for a long while and compare the painting to the reference photo. I go back and forth and “tweak” the painting. OK, now it’s time to ship Jaffa to someone else to do the whiskers!!!!!!!!!!

I think I’m feeling a ..............little.................a little...............faint.....

08-28-2003, 07:11 PM
That is all.

08-28-2003, 07:19 PM
this is just amazing!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: i just cant get over this, pleeeeasssee show us some more wips like this!!!!!


08-28-2003, 07:48 PM



That's all I can say too.

No, there is something else. I should thank you as well for doing such a comprehensive WIP. It really is greatly appreciated when artists take the time to do WIPs for others to learn from.


08-28-2003, 08:11 PM
What an amazing W.I.P! One of the best I've seen at W/C. Thank you so much for sharing.
Now... those whiskers!!!!
Get cracking, what's a cat with out whiskers!!!!??? .
..and it's no good shipping it off to someone else, lol, gotta finish what you start. We have faith in you, you can do this :D:D:D And you know what Jaffa's saying about it don't you? he's asking whether you're a man or a mouse;):D

08-28-2003, 09:24 PM
fantastic painting! courage now, you can do those whiskers. it's all positive thinking...and a fair bit of luck!

08-28-2003, 11:30 PM
Great job!!! I'm sure you can paint some whiskers on this little guy, especially after what you managed to do.

Fort Meyer
08-29-2003, 12:29 AM
This WIP is wonderful! I have absolutely no idea how to work with airbrush. In my mind set, it isn't even possible. But then I am a control freak ... what can I say.

I believe, too, that if you can accomplish what you have up to the whiskers, then you can do them too.

Waiting to see ... or at least the post that tells us who you shipped the painting off to :D


08-29-2003, 03:52 AM
What an amazing WIP, I enjoyed every step of the way. I doubt if I'll use an air brush but what a lesson in painting we've been thru. Thank you so much.

Now, about those whiskers.....


08-29-2003, 04:18 AM
Just Fabulous!!!:clap: :clap: :clap:

After all that and now you say you can't do whiskers???? I don't believe it!!! Get cracking!

Thankyou so much for this WIP. I have learned a lot from it. I have played with the air brush in the past but didn't get good results. (gave up too easy) Thanks to you, I may get it out and try again.

08-29-2003, 04:55 AM

08-29-2003, 05:41 AM
*twitches* Holy Carp.

08-29-2003, 11:46 AM
OMG!!!! I don't even know what 2 say...thank u 4 sharing yer process and the cat is WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!So life like! Amazed by this whole technique.:clap: :clap: :clap:

08-29-2003, 12:34 PM
Holy cow!!! .... err... Holy Kitty!

What a cool WIP to follow. Amazing work!

08-29-2003, 09:49 PM
Thanks Gang!

I really do not want to do the whiskers! I know..........I wil just tell people that it's a "whiskerless" Cat, aaaaa yea, aaa new breed, yea...............thats it!

Ok, I will give it a try.

I will do some more WIPS.
Thanks again for your cudos. You guys are great!