Early Bird Coffee Sketch Wip

As I’m working on the painting, I thought to share with you how I made the sketch for it.

20170707_111638Everything starts with my sketchbooks. In the last year, I found it useful to work on 2 or 3 sketchbooks in the same time instead of turning pages. My sketch books are like my encyclopedia. Each time I do research or I’m looking for new ideas, I put everything in there. I take notes, translations of words, quick doodle of ideas or symbols. A small doodle of yesterday can become a painting in a couple of months. I always work with a 4H graphite pencil so sorry for the lack of contrast.

 

So this is a typical way I start brainstorming for an idea. I didn’t want to work on my quack medicine yet, I just wanted something simple. I found this page where I wrote a few notes a couple month ago. I felt inspired by doing something about coffee. So I start finding inspiration on Pinterest.

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On another sketchbook I’ve started writing texts I could write on it and doodling some ideas. I quickly drew them with borders until I find something I like. Then I sketch the small border and refine it until it looks good.


Since I now have a good idea where I’m going, it’s time to make the final sketch. I start with characters because they are the heart of my paintings so they must be good.

Then I work on the borders with typos. While doing it, I keep looking in my image bank for inspiration and I try to not forget sizes of wood panel I have here. If it doesn’t fit exactly a wood panel, I’ll make some resizing later. I usually make the big typos by hand but the small ones are made with computer.

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Now that I have everything I need, time to scan the sketches and to go in Illustrator and Photoshop! First I redo the borders and typos in Illustrator. This is easier to make a symmetrical border and I can find a perfect wood panel size and adjust it if needed. I prefer to work typos here because I can vectorise existing typos and play with them.

early-outline

Now I import the lines in Photoshop and put the leaves and characters on it. These are the outlines I’ll use for my paintings. Sometimes when I’m not sure about what color palette to use, I make some color tests in Photoshop with this document and keep it as a guide.

So, this is how I always prepare my paintings. Unless if it’s a very small canvas I can trace on it, I always proceed like that. It may look tedious but when I start putting paint on a canvas, I need that everything is decided. I really hate the feeling of hating a work you’ve just done because it’s not centered or the proportions are wrong. Sometimes I would love to be like those artists who can start directly on canvas and just let things happen. I guess I’m too cartesian for it!

Early Bird CoffeeAnd here’s the results! You can see how much the painting looks like the color tests. Only the background have a blue tint in it. For the painting execution, the process is basically the same than the last post. I hope this post was helpful in any way and let me know if there’s some subjects you want me to post about! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Freunde fur Immer wip

Since I was young, I have been exploring many mediums. It is natural to me to mix medias together and I did it a lot when I did my first paintings. Because I had a lot of troubles doing great gradients with paint (especially with acrylics), I chose to use gouache and add layers of colored pencils on it. I eventually switched for acrylics years later. I worried about the longevity of the gouache and had interaction problems between mediums and varnishes.

Anyway I thought of sharing my process for a piece I did last year. For most of my paintings, I make a study I use as a guide. I made a lot of research about strawberry and its leaves and flowers. It helps me to place lights and choose colors. Actually I do a lot of research on everything and I keep the reference pictures in a personal image bank divided in a lot of folders. It mostly made of photos but sometimes I add pictures of other artists works.

 

Photoshop is very helpful to create the perfect layout for the painting. I have scanned the sketch outlines of my characters. I made the typo and scanned it too. Then I try different layout fitting with a size of wood panel I have in stock. In this case, a 18×12 in panel was the best. When the composition is looking good, I print the outline and transfer it on my panel. For this one, I wanted to color the background and keep the wood grain. Some artists would make washes of acrylics but I felt more comfortable using dry pastels. I used a cloth to smooth the pastel and remove the excess and then I put a layer of workable vanish.

I love putting gold o my artwork. And I always prefer doing the background before the characters. It helps to adjust colors and sometimes I feel intimidated by acrylics. I have this little fear that I may not be able to complete my work. This is a strange feeling which will disappear with time and experience. This is why doing background before helps me to approach slowly the work.

* for the borders, I used a gold ink because it is more opaque. The only problem with is I have to spray varnish on it because it is not permanent and it will dissolve when I’ll add acrylic varnish at the end. Now I use gold acrylic. I have to paint more layers to achieve the same opacity but it is stable.

Now the typo. There is no real trick for doing crisp typo. You need to have tight outlines, a tiny brush and a lot of patience. I love doing this part, I can let my mind to wander.

Now the characters. I always keep the hard work for the end. I put flat layers of colors on each part before building with lights and shadows. I work with hi flow acrylics so it feels like ink. That’s why I put flat layers of color before.


Then 2 or 3 layers of acrylics varnish and tada! I did a painting! So this is mostly how I do my paintings. Next post I’ll try to share my process for the step before painting, how I make my sketch ready for a painting.

Where I come from

Before posting about art, I think I should start with the beginning, presenting myself and a bit of my experience.

Like most children, I enjoyed drawing and crafting with everything I get my hands on. My father told that all I wanted as gift is colored pencils. As I grew up, I was the one who draw in my bunch of friends, it became my identity and never stop. But I didn’t wanted to do art as a profession later, I imagined I’ll get bored of it eventually. I finally took a graphic design class at college. I liked the logical way to work of it but illustration was the only matter I was good. (This is where I felt in love with Illustrator and vectors. It wasn’t easy at first but I loved how illustration was very crisp and sharp. And the gradient was perfect.) I thought maybe I just need to study design more to feel confident so I went at university and did a degree in design. Of course I took every single illustration classes I could.

 

(some examples of what I did during those years)

I always had a cartoonish style and one of my teachers told me if I want to succeed, I have to let down this style and try something else. I was a shock to me, especially because I had to start over and create something different. It is very hard to stop drawing in a way to draw in another way. Where do you start? What direction you choose? Did I chose well? Should I doing this instead of that? All these questions going on and on forever. I let it go vector illustration and I tried a couple of things but nothing feels right. Unfortunately, it was at the end of my degree so I quickly had to say goodbye to my teacher and had to figure it out by myself. I entered in a limbo for at least a year and a half, producing a piece once in a while.

 

(works made during limbo episode, it’s not bad, it’s just not me.)

Someday I start to shaking off myself by making a plush. Long ago I did a vector character that I love and I decided to make him live! It feels so good when you are starting to create again! I made more plushes based on the first one and thought that I could start selling these. This is how I open my Etsy shop in late 2009 with the help of a friend. At this point, I say to myself, fuck it I’m doing my characters even if it’s too cartoonish for the market or whatever! I liked my teacher and I appreciated what she tried to tell me but sometime you have to follow your heart.

 

From the moment I chose and accepted my work, I did more plushes and I started to draw again, mostly in vectors. With years, I explored a lot of themes, introduced a lot of new characters and I especially refined my lines and my work. But these years wasn’t really quiet. I got a lot of questions and doubts in my head. I even let down vector art for good and started to paint in acrylics (one of my worst enemy before). Like I said, I’m a person who questioning everything every time. Now I feel that I finally found my body of work after all these years. I resumed the last part very briefly, I don’t want to flood you because I could talk about this way too long. Anyway I’ll go deeper on some dark periods when it feels appropriate.