Posts Tagged ‘technique’


This is the tracing stage of this as yet untitled Longhorn panoramic. It currently measures 20×40 inches

I love doing these panoramics. I think because there are no rules. I allow myself to just do whatever the heck I want to without getting too hung up on reality. So I am kinda jazzed to be doing another one. These “pan” pieces may just become a regular thing with me. The only downside (if there is one) is they are process heavy. In fact I can actually spend more time working the steps than actually coloring the artwork.

A Basic Rundown Of The Creation Of My Panoramic Critter Jumbles

I apply a masking film whenever I want to leave the open negative spaces as the substrate color. Without covering it, it’d be a real muddy mess. If I was applying a background I still might cover it, depending on what colors I planned working with.

  • It begins with pulling photos from my personal reference library. Dozens upon dozens of photos. I select my favorites and begin drawing.
  • I usually draw at least 30% more animals than I use. I start with the same sized papers and draw out my favorite angles and shapes. I then cut them out like paper dolls and lay them over each other in a myriad of way until I get a composition that I like. I then tape them to a board that is the size I want the painting to be.
  • I tape tracing paper over my paper doll panoramic (see above photo) and trace all of the animals. I do this step because the substrate I’m using doesn’t allow for erasing do the drawing must be done elsewhere.
  • I then tape the tracing paper to my actual substrate in this case suede board. and once again trace over all the lines pushing firmly so an indentation is created in the suede.
  • Then, remove tracing paper and lightly draw over all the indentations so I can actually see them.
  • Cover the entire surface with masking film. I looked at professional stuffs which were pricey and tried using a cheap book covering vinyl with works quite well.
  • Lastly cut out the area I wish to work on. In this case one cow at a time. I must start on the left and work right so I don’t track color. I’m not a fan of working from left to right but it really is the only option as I am quite a messy artist. Heck if I was neat I wouldn’t have to do all this in the first place.

If you’d like a more picture filled version of this process I have a squidoo page tutorial on how I work with watercolor pencils on suede.

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Zebra Painting in progress

Maybe just maybe I will finish it up this weekend. It’s not like there’s any hurry but I seem to like to set myself some form of deadline. All that’s left is the foal and the tweaking (of which shall be extensive.)

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Moving right along. I still need to finish the belly, ears and mane.

I’m hoping to finish this up this weekend and am already plotting my next piece. I know right? Apparently all my painting juju is flowing freely now.


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So here’s my second zebra. It appears I am totally embracing blue. Now considering blue is like most people’s favorite color it really should be something that I incorporate into more of my art. But I’ve never really liked working in blue. I can really think of but a couple of exceptions where blue played a dominant role in any creation of mine.

Purple oh yes. I love purple. And in truth my favorite color is somewhere in between blue and purple … periwinkle.

At any rate, here I am.

For those of you not familiar with my process the background color is covered in a film so the edges won”t get refined or tweaked until the very end when I remove the film. That’s one of the reasons the zebra’s manes look just a little off.


Looking for name ideas ….

The working title is Wild Ones but I’m not quite sure that’s how I want to go. Anyone have any suggestions? I realize the piece isn’t finished yet but I thought I’d ask the question anyway.

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Why a zebra of course.
Since it has been a long time coming (as in I started drawing these zebras in June) I am in the process of finding myself. I want it punch drunk with color but it will most likely take me at least one zebra (maybe two) before I settle into my color palette and embrace the courage to push my color comfort zone.

But I think I’m off to a good start. I

The finished size will be 18×40 inches. This is a mixed media of water-soluble ink and water-soluble wax pastel done on suede. I cover the suede with a masking film to protect the surface that will not have pigment, and cut away the film as I progress from left to right.

For more information on how I do this process you can check out my art tutorial on the subject.

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Okay so know this photo kinda sucks. Part of the problem is that it is 20 x 42 inches and another is it is drawn on tissue paper.

This is a piece I started in the early part of last year and set aside not to touch again for 7 months or so. That sort of happening usually spells burn pile for a concept. But oddly enough I pulled this out and thought, “Huh, this has potential.”

For those who have been following my blog for awhile, know how I do what I do. But since I’ve moved I thought I’d briefly describe my process.

I’ve been enjoying these panoramic pieces where I cram a bunch of animals in a row. Sometimes they are all to scale with each other. And sometimes these are jam packed together like I went nuts in photoshop.

But here’s the thing. Even though the end result looks like I photoshopped the image in truth I don’t. I actually sketch each animal separately (and usually a few extras which never make it) cut them out and arrange and rearrange them until I get a composition I like. I like to think I take this labour intensive high road because, I am an artist dammit! I wasn’t clever enough to do it in photoshop it’s part of the process.

Once I get a layout I like, I trace the image onto tracing paper which I then move over onto my suede board and retrace the image onto the suede. The reason for all of this? I can’t erase on suede board. Once a mark is made it stays.

So my plans for this piece is to hit it hard with the magic juju stick. I intend to make it very colorful. I envision golds, purples and reds galore.

We shall see.

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So I really am up to the tweaking stage. You know that impossible to tell “exactly” when a painting is done so you keep playing with it and playing with it until you just sort of give up or ruin it.

I have often heard that artists will look at their work in progress pieces in the mirror or upside to sort of fool their conscious mind as to what its seeing and therefor allow you to see your work in a new way. This has never been something I’ve tried, mostly because I don’t have any mirrors big enough to accommodate my larger works.

What I do, do (do-do Ha!) is set my painting on the floor about 6 feet away from the couch and then put my feet up and flip through magazines or call someone to chat. (Yes this is seriously a great way to goof off and still call it work) This step allows me to look at the painting while focusing on something else. Letting my subconscious suck in all the details and make judgement calls on what to do next while I am blissfully unaware of making any real decision.

This has been my plan of action for years and has indeed worked pretty well. But lately my time has become more critical and sitting on the couch often is a bit of a luxury so I have amped up the process with the use of technology.

Essentially I just flip my image around in my photo processor. The smaller image also works in may ways like viewing the piece from a distance.

So what did I learn from this? Well I decided I needed a little more dark green a long the bottom portion of the painting Or perhaps lighten it a little around the nose area. I’ll post the finished painting soon as she has already been sold.


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