Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Aquanauts process detail #2 Drawing and Color Sketch

As seen on Stargate Atlantis...Which is not why I bought it
About 80% of the prep work I do for a digital or traditional painting starts digitally on a fully loaded tablet PC.  This is used to handle my concept work as well as all my client presentations.  I use the Toshiba 14” satellite R25-S3503. 
When it comes to drawing something that I will paint, I don’t bother with tonal rendering. Instead I try to block out the planes of the faces, establish my light and dark then move on. Working out my values and light/dark contrast can be done in the color study. 

 At this stage I’ve basically worked out what I want the image to look like.  If it had remained a digital painting this color study would have represented my first layer/ first wash of color.  The whole image could’ve been done in less than a week.  No concerns of drying time or clean up.  This color sketch took about 2 hours.  I drop the saturation to 0% to check my values as I go. 

The high resolution drawing is then taken to my local art store. The original drawing file was 13”x21.7” @ 300 dpi.  I had the printer nearly double that to 24”x40”on acid free vellum.  Since this was a personal piece I wanted something that hopefully would have presence from across the room instead of working at a smaller scale to save time. 
Before transferring the drawing, my panel was primed and sanded 3-4 times to make sure I had a strong smooth surface to work on.  The edges of the board were also sealed with gesso to make sure no moisture damaged the bond of the MDF (medium density fiberboard).  MDF doesn’t like water.  The drawing is transferred, primed and ready to go.


  1. Awesome tutorial Eric and I'm glad to see you finally got a Blog, can't wait to follow your updates.


  2. I'm loving everything E, besides the painting itself, just you taking the time to do a tutorial. Very motivational and informative. The only thing I would say, and this is just from a cheesy nerd perspective, is that your "lawman" wouldn't be in front of the prisoners. Doesn't seem safe.lol

  3. Hey JP, happy you're here. A true honor.

    Shawn- If you look closely, the creature alien is the deputy. It has a badge on its chest. Besides you never know where its other tendril arm is or what it's touching ;) Otherwise you'd be right. Never turn your back on a shackled alien with bone claws. I had a little back story I came up with. I'll add that to the original image posting.

  4. Do you drop out your line art in the final or do you incorporate it into the final? This really great tutorial. I look forward to more. I'm hoping it will help with my iffy drawing skills

  5. Thanks Amy,

    If I had done this painting digitally my line drawing would have been completely painted over just like when I paint in oils. Some areas of the drawing would show through the photoshop paint layer to strengthen a form or when the brush opacity is really thin for digital glazing. I treat painting in photoshop just like working in oils..but I guess that's a different tutorial.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Very cool Eric. Didn't know you started a blog. I just added a subscription to my Google Reader account.