Indulgence W.I.P Stages/Tutorial


step 1

I usually don't like to reveal my pieces until they are complete. For the painting I just started, I would like to share different stages as I work on it rather than put them all together at the end to maybe give a better idea how I approach my artwork. 

The pencil sketch was drawn from a photo reference I found online. I already have a pretty good idea where I want to go with this piece and have made several outfit changes from the reference. With acrylics, it is best not getting into a lot of detail with the pencil sketch. Most details excluding my major lines will be lost when I start applying paint. I don't have to make all my decisions with the pencil sketch. The great thing about acrylic paints for me is they give you the freedom to easily change your mind if you have a better idea or become inspired to go another direction once the piece is started.

The next step is to outline all my major lines in black paint before I start adding base coats of color. This is so my major lines don't get lost under the painting. If I keep the base coats light enough to start off, I'll be able to see the black lines underneath. I can go over the major lines again with black paint as needed as long as I can still see them.

step 2

For this piece I am going with black and white to start off. I will add washes of selective color later on when the painting is almost finished. Once I have the base coats of paint down, I usually will start working on the face first. Everything is roughed in at the moment, but it at least resembles a face now. The face is usually the most important part of any piece of artwork to me because it can convey so much emotion. If the rest of the piece is perfect, but the face is off or blank it doesn't have the same effect. 

For the skin I started out with a medium tone and added the shadows next. I blended the two together before applying the highlights. I won't go as bright with highlighting as I want to until the painting is almost finished and I can fully determine just how bright I want to go. Since you work dark to light with acrylic paints, everything is on the dark side at the moment except for the skin. It might look like I have gotten a lot done since the sketch, but with everything I am planning on doing there is much more painting that needs to be done.

step 3

I started refining the face a little more and roughed in the details of her dress. Normally I would be working on the background more at this point as well. For this painting, I am going with a fairly simple one compared to most of my pieces. 

The hair I always put off until I have most of the main subject complete. I still need to work on skin blends and the details of her gloves which could overlap the hair loosing work if I start it now. Especially if the hair overlaps the background a lot, it's best to wait. The dress so far is a basic idea of where I want to go with it. I usually will just make things up as I go when designing clothes loosely based on several references. I might completely change my mind about different aspects of the roughed in design while working on it.

step 4

I worked on the face and skin blends quite a bit since the last photo I posted. Small touchups still remain, but they are for the most part finished. I started to refine the details of the outfit. They are still rather rough and the outfit will need much more work before it is finished. The next step for me will be to begin on the hair. Once I have the hair laid out, I will go back to working on the gloves and the dress.

step 5

I started working on the hair. I still need to go in and finish adding highlights and loose stands. I also started detailing. There is still a lot more refining that needs done, but at this point most of the aspects I want to include are well established. The next step will be working on the background more. From there, I will go back into detailing. Detailing takes up a lot of time, but is one of the most important parts of a painting. I'm almost to the point where I can start adding the selective washes of color I have in mind.

step 6

Since the last post I went in and refined the details. I also added more highlights. Both of these aspects can made a huge difference in a piece. Detailing is the stage of the painting that takes the longest, but it is also one of the most important.

I will still go back in and work on small touch ups before I consider it finished. The background has been worked on as well making the next step of the painting adding washers of color. To apply washes, I water the acrylic down to a watercolor consistency and add light layers. You still want to be able to see the details of the black and white underneath the color. The painting is about 90% done here. The next photo I post will be the finished piece.



Ravenous W.I.P Stages/Tutorial


Step 1

When beginning with acrylics, it is best to start out copying references. Once you know how to work with them, you can alter the image however you like. I start out with a basic pencil sketch. It does not have to be all that detailed when using acrylic paint as your medium. If you were to do anything too elaborate, most details would be lost with base coating. I use photo reference for most aspects of the painting, especially for people. You want to have a basic idea of what you want to accomplish with the overall painting at this point, but not all decisions need to be made just yet.

Step 2

Next, I take some black paint and go over all the pencil lines with a liner brush. This is so you will be able to see your major lines underneath once you begin base coating. It does not have to be perfect. When working with acrylics, any mistakes can be fixed or adjusted at a later stage. At the current stage, you can go straight to either base coating or do a light/dark study. A light and dark study is a good step for beginners working on original paintings. If I was uncertain whether I wanted the wall in the background to be lighter or darker than the girl or if I wanted to go with warms or darks, the light/dark study would be an opportunity to experiment with values without fully committing. In order to achieve a wash, add water to the acrylics making them much like a watercolor and apply them to the painting. For this particular painting, I went with a darker wall, lighter floor, and warm values. If I were doing a light/dark study since I’m going with warms, I would use burnt sienna paint adding only a little water to it for the wall to keep it more on the dark side.  Then, I would add a bit more water to it to go over the girl and really water the paint down to keep the floor the lightest aspect of the painting. If I was using cool colors I would use a watered down ultramarine blue paint or you could go with just black.

Step 3

I have done enough light/dark studies I can skip that tool and just go into base coating. This is the stage where you start to work on getting colors down and getting rid of the white of the board. Even if they are not the colors you decide to go with it helps you to begin seeing the painting as a whole. Since it is an early stage, you do not have to worry about keeping it neat. All acrylic paintings look bad in the beginning stages. I like to keep the paint a little on the watery side for the first coat. That way, I know I’m not going to lose my major lines under the paint. Usually after each layer of paint I put down, I go back over these lines again with the black paint to reinforce them. When working with acrylic paint, you work dark to light, so you want to keep everything on the darker side. I did not go dark enough with my basecoats, so I went back in and with a watered down black wash over the wall and the floor.

Step 4

This stage is when I start to focus on making the painting more refined. I do not want my paints to be watery anymore. I want to add at least a little bit of white to any color I’m mixing. The white paint has more pigment in it than any of the other colors making the white paint more opaque as well as any paint it is mixed with. I also like to add some neutral grey to dull down the colors since acrylics tend to be on the vibrant side. I can still use washes to quickly darken sections or adjust the color. It’s much faster to add a purplish color wash to the window than completely repaint over the blue. I like to start focusing on the main subject first, especially the face. Once the face is starting to look like something it really helps draw me more into working on the painting. After I have it to a point where it is decently established, I start to get some background elements in. For skin blending, I like to use the cheap bristle brushes. You want to take most the paint off on a paper towel and make sure your paint is not watery. If the paint is too watery the blend is not going to work. You want to take the darker tones out further than desired in order to give your room to blend the lighter tones into the darker ones.

Step 5

Detailing is the step of the painting that takes the longest. This is when you go back in to do things such as add highlights, do touchups, or fix any mistakes. I like to wait until this stage to begin adding things such as the blood and the dress details. That way I did not have to worry about painting around them before when I was still roughing things in. I will usually save the hair until this stage also.

Step 6

It might not look like a lot of difference between the previous step and the finished piece other than the bats, but I actually did a good amount of touch ups and finalized all the details. One of the most difficult parts of painting is trying to decide when it’s finished. Sometimes I like to take a day or two away from it before I make that decision. I might look at it and see something obvious that needs fixed that I did not notice before. At some point though, you have to be able to call it done. If anyone has any questions, please contact me at my email address