Monday, July 15, 2013

Kitchen process

I've been trying to approach my painting in a more structured way, so I'm usually adding layers for each step, to force myself to be concious of what I'm trying to achieve at what stage. I was pretty happy that I kept it fairly minimal and just worried about the larger shapes of color. The steps below can be found in most painting books, and I've read them a hundred times before, but I feel like it's finally starting to sink in for me.

Step 1
I normally don't tone my "canvas", but in this case the yellow of the light was so strong that it was a quick way to get me in the ballpark. Then a real quick drawing. The hardest thing for me is to ignore detail, so I go out of my way to keep it extra loose and stick to the biggest possible shapes.

Step 2
It's taken me forever to understand the importance of this step. Block in you darkest darks and lightest light. I'm kind of dense when it comes to understanding stuff, but this really is an important step. I may add in the second darkest note or second lightest note, it just depends if I feel it's relationship close enough to either the darkest dark or lightest light, so that it's  not a guess, and more of an observation. Also, if there's a color that I feel I can nail right away, I'll put that in too. Basically I'm trying to line up as many points of reference to get the relationships of colors and values to look believable.

Step 3
Now I'm blocking in the rest of the painting. Basically, the dialogue in my head goes something like this:
"Is this color lighter or darker compared to my darkest dark, lightest light, and color I felt was easiest to get right? Is it warmer or cooler?"
That's basically it. With every color note I put down, I have another point of reference, so the next color   I put down will have more notes to be compared to, (lighter, darker, warmer, cooler) so it becomes more about filling in the blanks than just guessing. Think of it like a crossword puzzle. You go for the easiest answers first so that you hopefully fill in enough blank boxes to have help figuring out the more difficult words. BTW, I'm horrible with crossword puzzles. At the same time all this is going on, I'm adjusting the drawing, meaning, refining shapes so that the proportions and relationships are a little more accurate.

Step 4
Finally, when I'm happy with all the major notes, I'll add detail. Again, I'm always asking how a certain color compares to the colors around it, or to colors that I think are similar to it in other areas of the painting. Big shapes to small shapes. Add a little bit of a noise filter at the end (because I'm cheap like that, and I like the way it looks), and done. Thanks for looking.


Steven Knudsen said...

This might be one of the clearest painting tutorials I've ever read, this is incredibly helpful.
Thanks for taking the time to write this!

Wendell Dalit said...

Hey Ryan, I've always had a hard time understanding how to use your darkest darks and lightest lights as an anchor for the painting, but you've explained it in a way that I think I can understand haha. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Casey Crowe said...

Really great tutorial!

Eli Harris said...

And that's how magic happens ladies and gentlemen. This is an awesome view into the thought process and planning of an amazing designer and illustrator. Wonderful Ryan!

Eli Harris said...

And that's how magic happens ladies and gentlemen.
So great Ryan!

Unknown said...