View Full Version : WIP - Dragon book cover

09-10-2005, 11:53 AM
Hello :wave:
after long time I am back to show you what canceled work on my " Merry Alechemist". This is cover for book Fantasy legends. Editor wished to have something like medieval/fantasy book cover but not with skin background, their wish was to have blue velvet and on it logo with dragon from gold. O.ki ... there it is and I will try to post it step by step. In last projects I try to use only watercolors, but there I was asked to use my old technique which
I dont do so often now. (lol.... wetcanvas influence)

Size is A4, 21x29cm on some unamed czech watercolor paper in block. I use DILO watercolor in mixture with old school watercolors for background. I use agresive work with sharp brush, so I dont wont to destroy my more expensive colors. Here is how I begin.

I do drawing which I transfer to wtc. paper and outline by ink or I found more useful light brown acryl as ink have troubles with watercolors than. THAN ... I do very light acrylic layer - light because I need work with watercolors on it and it means I need keep watercolor surface. And also I do it because I do what I call "tuping" Doting with flat round brush filled with dry color ... dot by dot. This technique is nice but agresive so I need to protect paper from demage and light layer of acryl works good for this.


Than ... I take cheap school watercolors and round sharp brush. I buy cheap oil brushes for this occasion and cut them so they are flat to create wheel of color. Take two or 3 diffrent shades of blue and dot by dot I put dry color so final effect looks like very intensive heavy color looking like airbrush or watercolor, but it's done with brush.


And here how it looks after this work. Most of backround is shaded and done.
You can see that old schoold colors and how brush is now flat and a bit deformated after battle.


lol.... it's time for dinner. I will try to continue at the evening or tomorrow.
Btw in this stage painting usually looks horible and I am always tempted to stop and start again, but one I go through this nightmare stage, it's going to be fine.

Have a nice evening.

09-10-2005, 02:44 PM
Woohooo - am first one here - got a great seat and I have chocolate. :)


09-10-2005, 03:07 PM
This is just beautiful. Can hardly wait to see it done. What is going to be the name of the book that this will be the cover for? Maybe we can buy it??? :clap:

09-10-2005, 03:20 PM
Watching!! :D


09-10-2005, 05:15 PM
Thanks so much for sharing. Especially the different techniques with the dotting and brush cutting. Can't wait to see more.

09-10-2005, 05:47 PM

I love your work so...
I am pulling a chair too!


Celeste McCall
09-10-2005, 06:51 PM
This is looking good. I'm here for the duration. :)

This reminds me of Alphonse Mucha's style already. Very Art Nouveau. :) I love this kind of work. ;) :) :) :)

Lynn Quinn
09-10-2005, 06:53 PM
This looks like its going to be really interesting!

09-10-2005, 07:00 PM
This is looking good. I'm here for the duration. :)

As always, Jana... Your work is just fantastic. Each one you show
reminds me again of the beautiful illuminated illustrations by the
monks of old... I am in awe of the detail you achieve, and all the
thought and planning that go into your works... :clap:

Jo in Georgia

09-10-2005, 07:23 PM

09-10-2005, 09:40 PM
Woot Jan I so love your wips. I am watching too..:)

09-11-2005, 12:25 AM
This will be interesting. Thanks for sharing!

09-11-2005, 01:45 AM
Count me in on the watching chair too. ;)

T Christensen
09-11-2005, 02:47 AM
The best class I've been to .........TerryC

09-11-2005, 05:56 AM
Good morning ... :wave:
lovely to see you there and thank you for your comments. I was painting most of the night which makes me sleepy a bit and lazy this morning, but I have more to show you.
Here I have finished background. Finaly I decieded that blue was to sharp and poisonous so I did another layer and changed that to more cold cobalt blue and decieded to do side columns in darker blue. Than I started to do background layers of gold. Here it is as it looks now. I will work more on this picture during day ... but at first I must wake up and take a really big coffe. Jupeeeee. I just found that parents invited me for my favorite food called "svickova" - very heavy milky/vegetable souce, beef and dumplings. From kitchen under my room are spreading so wanderfuls scents, that It's so hard to concentrate ... o.k. I am good girl. Coffe and run to work! :D


09-11-2005, 07:43 AM

I'm so glad I caught up with your WIP before it is finished. Watching your paintings emerge little by little is so much fun and so enlightening. This is looking very good so far. Interesting technique with the blunted brush. Here I think we call it stippling.

Sitting quietly next to Pat. Brought a box of chocolates to share with her. ;)


09-11-2005, 07:53 AM
Oh!...It's glowing!....scooting in on the other side of Sylvia....(I love treats) :D


T Christensen
09-11-2005, 12:47 PM
Hi Jana .....I have some questions , are you using acrylics for the gold detail ? I see you paint on top of that heavy blue and wondering how you would do that with watercolors . Love the different tones of blue ......TC

09-11-2005, 03:31 PM
Hello TC ... today I try to do as much as I can only with watercolors but specialy this painting I do by my old way. I often used white acryl when I discovered that I need more light surface, to repair something or that I forgot to keep some white place or when I need some really sharp light and dont wont to scratch paper. Today I try substitute white acryl by heavy light watercolors as neapol yellow, lemon yellow, skin shades or light blue or violet which can sometimes cover darker area succesfuly too, but you have to know which, because some react with others and turn to gray mood, but some works nice, but results is not so sharp like when you use white acryl.

Here I post how it looks now at the evening after day of work. Dragon and and central golden wheel is painted only by watercolors. On other hand in darker column I decieded to add some decoration and I also decieded to change color of decorative stones in left corner. So I removed color there by water and cleared area, finaly it wasnt still right so I cleared area with white acryl and painted again over that.

Also found that I need extra another frame around main frame, because I need to add nails which will hold logicaly decoration on velevet background, so I also cleared area that way. :D


09-11-2005, 03:51 PM
So this is how it all looks now at the evening. I was working hard all evening. I have to give it to editor after next week and because I will be all week till long hours at work and will havent any chance to paint. I will take two days off from work to finish all works. So more will come on Friday.

Hmmm ... I got idea to left both columns only with star on the top and dont do any other decoration there ... It would be more nice to keep them empty. ... I dont know. What do you think? And if I will add any decoration but only lightly on the edge of visiblity like watermark painted on velvet.


Btw on this picture is visible how I add extra frame.

Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiirls! I am green of envy :D chocolate! Um! I love it. But I forbid to myself any sweet food now.

09-11-2005, 04:01 PM
Jana this is breath takingly lovely! i love the detail and your description of what you are doing and why.

Can't wait to see more.

09-11-2005, 04:44 PM
Beautiful - agree about just leaving the star - less is more sometimes.


09-11-2005, 07:27 PM
What are DILO watercolors? This is really stunning!! I love your work!


09-11-2005, 10:50 PM
Hi Jana... you always have the most interesting techniques! This is really beautiful... the colour is rich... Since you are using acrylic to do the nailheads, you could finish the left side and then decide if the right needs them...

09-12-2005, 02:52 AM
Char .. helloooooooo :) I love to se you. You are right. I will finish all central wheel and frame and than in final I will deciede if I left that nails there or remove them. But I have to say I am more close to remove them, because all inside frame is round and twisted and they are creating sharp X shape, so they have diffrent logic than rest of picture.

Cheryl: Dilo watercolors is old name for czech brand producer UMTON. I sometimes in the hurry forget that they renamed. But it's czech product. Btw than intensive cobalt blue is really old school watercolors. I have few of them and use only some colors, which work nice. It's because they have heavy structure and they are not so smooth as quality watercolors, so they work great during proces of making background by such a hard way.

09-19-2005, 05:49 PM
Jana, besides your awesome painting abilities your design talent is exceptional. Take it from one who knows -- I've been a graphic designer for over 20 years.

09-20-2005, 03:45 AM
Oh Jana this is so looking really beautiful.. Just love that blue!!!!!!!!!!!

09-20-2005, 05:39 AM

This is really beautiful already. I think your idea to have just the star at the top of the columns is a good one.

Ditto to what Tim said about your design abilities being top notch too!


09-20-2005, 07:08 PM
Wow. What about preparing a tutorial for the fantasy forum? Painting dragons, perhaps? Please? :)

I saw the book with the cover you painted, the Murdered Queen, in a bookshop in Prague. It's great.

How was svickova?

09-21-2005, 05:23 AM
THANK you Tim. :D

Hello Judy and Sylvia. I was working on picture during weekend so I have more to show, but .... that... "peeeeep"... digital camera isnt working now. Hope I will have soon to show you more.

Veronika ... jupeeeee! Lovely to see you. How you doing? Yes, I was very lucky to have chance to do this series of book because I like stainned glasses, so it's visible on results. As for WIP forum to fantasy channel. I worry that I am so busy in this days that I am even rarely here on WC. But I will try to priper something as I was asked to do some dragon for friend. But I havent any idea when I have chance to do that. ... but it reminds me. I still have to finish painting of Alechemist and there will be small dragon too ... but in Alchemist's aquarium :evil: I could do WIP from that.

Svickova was briliant. I loooooooove it and my mum do souce very diffent from what you can get in restaurants, more milky and spicy. "Mnam!" I persuaded myself to get only two dumplings, but I was still going for another and another ... until I found that I ate big army of dumplings, but I was in heaven.

09-21-2005, 04:34 PM
Hi Jana,

I am looking forward to an update of the painting. Good luck with your digital camera.

Of course there's no hurry with a tutorial, it's just that if ever you don't have anything better to do, I for one would be grateful for it. :)

It's good news that you will continue on the alchemist's daughter. I am really looking forward to seeing it. A fish-dragon? Wow.

Svickova, hmm. I love it too. We make it with soya meat at home, so it's not the traditional stuff but it's still excellent.

I've had a busy time too, so I was not much here. Now I've submitted my thesis <bragging> after 5 years of suffering ;) so I might have a bit more time in the future. Actually I've just discovered that a local class of figure drawing is starting in October, so I'll try to sign up for it.

09-25-2005, 09:34 AM
Hello so this is my final :wave: I did it ... I did it... It took me 3 weeks but real painting time was about 5 days. I think It looks good and exactly as editor wished. Lol! This is original painting finished and scanned


Than I did a bit of digital magic with original. Editor wished the same blue background on back side with similar frame logic, so I did a bit of cutting and
stamping and here it is with my idea of font.


He he and than I was a bit inspirated by Lord of the Rings. Editor asked me to draw the same wheel with dragon in ink and put it on first white page of book as part of entrance title. So I used that drawing like waterprint on back side. Here is original in ink


.... I am running again ... I will use my chance that I am in working mood and will try to paint a bit more :-) My Alechemist's picture calling me. :wave: :D

09-25-2005, 10:10 AM

Only one word will do me to describe your painting:


I am in awe of your design and artistic talent. :clap:


Lynn Quinn
09-25-2005, 10:59 AM
Brilliant, Jana! Especially love those coloured stones!

(Oops! Sylvia, didn't mean to swipe your word! Must have just caught it 'subliminally" while scrolling down to the quick reply window! Still totally true, though!)

T Christensen
09-25-2005, 11:27 AM
Man ..what a finish , knew it was coming tho . You're so kind to share your techniques , can't imagine you having the time .......Thank you.......TerryC

09-25-2005, 12:58 PM
Wonderful, wonderful work, Jana :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

I love your explanation of how you did it.

You're Soo talented!

BTW I loved your demo disc.


09-25-2005, 01:34 PM

Wonderful painting! I could not expect nothing less from you. :clap: :clap:

Thank you also for all the info, you are very generous.

Now I'll be waiting to see more updates to you Alchemist painting... :evil:


09-25-2005, 09:04 PM

Only one word will do me to describe your painting:


I am in awe of your design and artistic talent. :clap:


e Too.

Jana you are the BEST............. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

09-25-2005, 09:16 PM
Jana, I would love to see this in real life... Again, I would buy the book just for the cover....


09-26-2005, 04:05 PM
Great! I especially like the effects of light.

09-26-2005, 05:03 PM
This is truly amazing. The dragon so well designed and painted, and the blue background is soooooo beautiful! Wonderful work.


09-26-2005, 07:40 PM
just stunning, Yana

09-26-2005, 08:42 PM
I would buy the book just for the cover....

ME TOO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

09-27-2005, 04:24 AM
:-) THANK YOUUUUUUUUUU! I am so happy you like it. I am sometimes a bit critical to my results, but this time I think I am proud of myself and also happy for fact that I did exactly what I had in my head. Thank you again.

Btw. I wanted to explain a bit this strange technique and also would like to ask you. Do I mark it as watercolor or mixed media? I am still on the edge. It's not clear medium, but on other hand 90% is watercolor, so I am still a bit unsure. Or do I cross post it to other forums? :D

09-27-2005, 04:26 AM
I was always on the understading if it is 90% watercolour it IS watercolour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

09-27-2005, 04:29 AM
No reason why you shouldn't also cross post it in the Fantasy forum, Jana, they will appreciate it there.


09-27-2005, 12:03 PM
Jana you are the BEST............. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

I can only add "Magnifique!" ... Wish I knew how to say it to you
in your own language... Your Editor HAS to be blown away and
totally impressed... Congratulations and hope you get more
commissions like this...

Jo in Georgia

09-27-2005, 03:15 PM
In my opinion if it is not pure watercolour, it's mixed media by definition. But please keep posting it here! :)

10-04-2005, 05:45 PM
Hey Jana :wave: gosh you get better http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2005/6932-33616-11613-jawdrop.gif thanks for sharing,it was fascinating to watch it all unfold,beautiful work :clap: 's x 10
keeping your signature in a safe place :D
Every night when we sat down to eat at kettlewell we played your demo cd disc :clap: