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Old 04-12-2007, 02:44 PM
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Work Progression, Aries

A number of people were curious about the technique I was using on the Zodiac series, so I took progress shots as I made this one.

First the final product;



The progress shots I'm attaching directly rather than uploading to my photobucket account so I'll have to post this in several parts.

Because I wanted this to be symmetrical, I used an old trick of sketching half of it on tracing paper, then folding the paper over and tracing the other half. Then I transfered that to a piece of Bristol paper. After selecting the colors I want to use, I begin outlining the ram with the darkest color I will use for the underpainting. I have chosen cool greens for the underpainting because I want to use warm yellow/orange colors on top.

Because I want to make it look like the ram is glowing from within, I use the darker colors towards the outside and the brightest colors towards the middle (except in this case I also used the brighter colors in the nostril and eye cavities where I think light would peer through).

After outlining with the dark color, I highlight with the lightest color, then I fill in and blend them together with the middle tone. I press fairly hard and end up breaking a lot of colored pencils.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:49 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

After blending the colors together, I start on the background. First I outline the ram in black to keep the background colors seperated from the main subject- I find that this gives me a cleaner porduct after doing the sgraffito later on.

Then working my way out from the center, I use gradually darker shades of blue to fill in the background. Again, I press hard and usually end up breaking a lot of colored pencils. I also use a color stick here, which is basically a colored pencil but without the wood.

Once the underpainting is complete (I know, there's no paint used on the underpainting but I don't know what else you'd call it) I protect it with a thin coat of oil pastel blending medium. This is a colorless, clear oil pastel. No I'm not left-handed, but I was holding the camera with the right hand!

Then I begin applying the oil pastels just like I did the colored pencils. I start with the darkest color first, using it primarily towards the outside areas and where I think the skull would be the thickest.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:55 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

Thanks so much for this thread. It is an interesting technique and produces wonderful results.

Pat
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:53 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

By now you can almost see it starting to glow- this is because of the contrast between the light and dark colors.

Then I add the next color, a medium yellow/orange. After than I put in the highlight color, bright yellow. The next picture shows them blended with a paint shaping tool (soft silicone rubber tip).

Then I tape the paper to the desk because it gets messy if I try to hold it still at this point. I color the background roughly with a black pastel. Then I use the same paint shaping tool to blend the black color evenly.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:58 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

Then I draw in a few more details with oil pastel (the Aries symbol) and begin scraping in the sgraffito. You can see the wooden chip I use (it's one of those wooden wedges used to spread a canvas). Sometimes I'll use a stylus, but I like the rough look that the wood gives me here. I scrape away anyplace I want to let the underpainting peak through- the eyes, nostril, and little movement lines around the background to give it some interest. The color is not too great on the photographs, but I couldn't very well put the oil pastel on the scanner until it was done. I use a water based acrylic varnish to seal it all. When it's dry I set it with a hair drier and then pop it in the freezer for a couple of minute to let the oil pastels firm up before I place it on the scanner.

That's it!
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:59 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

You're welcome, Pat!
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Old 04-12-2007, 03:26 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

What a marvellous WIP thread. The sgraffito at the end really brings it all to life with the underpainting showing thru. like that.

I love it! And so tiny. Incredible. Have you tried this out on larger works?
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Old 04-12-2007, 03:50 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

K.L. Thanks so much for sharing this WIP with us. Your work is so special. I really enjoy it. Well except for the creepy stuff.........................LOL
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Old 04-12-2007, 04:36 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

Thanks, June.

Shoshana, yes I have used this sort of thing on larger works, not with colored pencil though. It works great especially for details. Here's one that I did with sgraffito, this is just a section so you can see the details. If you look at the bulbous back of the caterpillar you can see the green glow of light peering through seams in its translucent flesh. I used this same sort of technique to achieve that effect.

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Old 04-12-2007, 04:47 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

Awesome! I just love your imagery. That is a good thing to know, that you can do it for smaller areas on a larger work.

Pat
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Old 04-12-2007, 04:53 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

Fascinating! Adding my thanks!
-RB
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Old 04-12-2007, 05:36 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

Thanks for showing us how you get these great effects. And thanks for reminding me of how you can get a symmetrical image by drawing one half and then tracing the other. I love your green caterpillar monster, creepy or not. Jane
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Old 04-12-2007, 10:34 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

Great WIP. I have to get back to s'graffito sometime. It was actually the first technique I tried in OPs. Thanks for reminding me of how it can be used effectively.

~Rain
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Old 04-12-2007, 10:55 PM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

wow, i was curious about your technique, but such a detailed progression was too much to hope for! thanks so much!

i must say, though, that i'm still not convinced that there's not some sort of magic involved in making your images flouresce like they do :-)
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Old 04-13-2007, 04:32 AM
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Re: Work Progression, Aries

All I asked for was one photo of the underpainting and you've given us a complete WIP, and very well and thoroughly explained too--thanks! Also, the photo where you're holding an OP stick above the ACEO really demonstrates just how small these things are, so it's even more of an accomplishment. And the result is simply stunning, just like the others. Thanks again! I'm bookmarking it for sure.
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