Monday, November 17, 2008

Building The House Of Dracula Part 5

After giving myself a day away from the painting, I came back to it with a fresh perspective - a new set of eyes, if you will. I noticed a couple of small changes I wanted to make and took care of them. You'll notice these if you compare the two images. I am now satisfied with the painting and have signed it.

In the end, I am much happier with this version than I was with the first attempt at this same image. This one is moodier, richer in atmosphere than the previous painting. I want to thank Kirsten Perez for giving me the opportunity to reimagine this iconic image, one of my favorites from all the Universal horror classics.

There is one more step involved, but isn't worth posting here. Once the paint is thoroughly dry, a thin coat of retouching varnish will be applied, which will enhance the paintings luster in the tones and colors.

Now, back to the drawing board!

"I believe you're in the house of Dracula right now!" - Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) from ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Building The House Of Dracula Part 4

Now I begin to really breathe life into the painting. I start with the larger areas and work my way down to the more detailed parts. I try to use thicker paint on in the "foreground" areas, thinner paint in the background. This adds to the illusion of depth.

For those interested, these are the colors I used: Ultramarine and Prussian Blues, Veridian Green, Sap Green, Cadmium Orange and Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Sienna and Titanium White. I did not use black of any kind, and the fact is that I never do. I don't even own a tube of the stuff. I always prefer to "create" my own blacks, which are never really true black but a mix of colors that have a similar effect. Pure black from the tube always looks "flat" to me. It's a personal choice that I have stayed with since I started oil painting.

So this piece is just about finished. I don't want to over-work it, I want to keep it "painterly" - meaning a little loose and not quite so illustrative. I am actually liking this new painting much better than the first piece I did of the same subject.

The next step: The Final Step!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monsters In Progress

Here's a sneak peek at two other oil paintings that are "in the works." The CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON piece is an image I had previously rendered in Prismacolor markers, but I am so taken with that moment from the film that I wanted to capture it in oils as well. The CURSE OF THE DEMON is such a startling character, I've wanted to paint him for quite a while. Both of these I'm doing without a rough sketch, just jumping in with tones and color. It's a little more challenging this way, but a bit faster and really fun!

Building The House Of Dracula Part 3

Now I've begun to apply thicker paint to each area of the painting. The colors are stronger and more defined, but I'm still holding on to the tones I created in the previous step. I work my way around the entire piece, never spending too much time on a particular area. This keeps the painting consistant, and keeps me from "finishing" one area while the others are ignored. I finished this session by taking a fan brush and lightly softening everything.

Fanning sets up the next step, which is to dig into the more detailed areas. I'll be using smaller brushes from this point on.

The next step: Finessing!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Building The House Of Dracula Part 2

After the sketch has been sprayed with fixative (an important step, otherwise the sketch will be destroyed by this phase!), I begin painting in the tones - light, middle and dark values - which will help me keep the depth of the painting throughout the process. Again, no details required at this point, they'll come later.

I've added just a hint of dulled-down color here, but the real goal of this step is getting those tones in. As I progress, the paint will be applied thicker and the true colors will be introduced.

The next step: Thicker paint!

Building The House Of Dracula Part 1

I've been commissioned to recreate an oil painting I did several years ago, the castle from ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. This is a perfect opportunity to show you the process, step by step. So first up is the charcoal sketch, done on the canvas. I use vine charcoal, which is very easy to correct - that is to say that it erases easily. It also smudges easily, so one has to be careful not to rub an elbow or palm against it until it is sprayed.

You'll notice that the sketch is rather rough. Details are unnecessary at this point, because later I'll be covering all of this with paint. The sketch is just the foundation on which to build. It's important, however, to get the proportions correct at this stage. They're easier to fix now rather than later.

The next step: Painting in the tones...

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Ink Of The Bride Of Frankenstein

While watching THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN with my daughter Tabitha this past Halloween, I was reminded of how much I enjoyed doing simple pen-and-ink drawings of the wonderful characters that inhabit James Whale's film. These are all from around 1999, and most appeared in the very first Sketchy Things volume. Is it me, or does my Bride look a bit like Scarlett Johansson? Attention, Universal Studios casting...