Back to the Drawing Board

It seems that I never really know if I’m ready to start a painting until I actually start it. Only once paint is applied to canvas and things start to get messy do I ever realize there’s more preliminary work to be done. My current painting commission, “GLANCE,” (I just now gave it a title) is a rather complex scene in a cocktail bar at the top of a skyscraper. The piece focuses on a central female character whom is in deep in contemplation over a glass of cabernet. There are many elements present in the piece, some which I have done adequate reference research and sketching for… and some which I have not. Once I got my hands dirty, I came to the conclusion that the central character needed some more concrete definition. She just wasn’t looking right. I struck back to the drawing board, and voila! Much better results. Part of the issue was with her hairstyle. Tracy, the model and fellow illustrator who posed for me, has short hair. My client specifically asked for long hair, so at first I just slapped on a longer cut in the painting. No bueno. It looked fake and fairly wiggish. I did some proper research, found a good hairstyle and sketched Tracy as she appeared in the reference photo. Next, I traced my sketch with an overlay of the hairstyle and finally implemented it into a full body sketch. This back and forth between sketching and painting seems to be contrary to progress, but I think its just natural to the way I work. I lose all momentum if I try to sketch out every little detail in a drawing before going to paint. Of course, the final part of the formula is meeting my deadline…

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