Welcome back to another fun-filled moment in the birthing process of Frankie. For those of you who have been following along through the past five and a half reports, you will be glad to know that this post will wrap up the painting portion of our program. Lucy, there’s a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, so let’s get started!
Back in Part 5, we left Frankie with his hands done, and a purple underpainting for the skin of his torso. As you can see in the first image below, all I did was paint a flat (as flat as watercolor will go) layer of green paint on his skin. It looks a bit dimensional, but that is only because the purple underpainting is doing all the hard work of creating the shadows. I also decided to paint a reddish-brown tone over the shirt with the idea that it’ll be easier to bring it back with highlights later than to do so with shadows later. Kind of the same principle as with the skin. The reddish-brown is more in line with the actual Mona Lisa’s coloring, too.
Next, skin highlight time! Using just two shades of yellow, I laid down the darker of the two tones in areas first. Sometimes, while it was still a little damp, I added in the lighter of the yellows on top so they could blend a little on the page. You kind of have to work fast at this, and paint with a dabbing motion. Otherwise, the green you already put down can mix into the yellows too much creating a muddy mess. Paint a little too hard and a little too wet, and you’ll lift the green off the painting altogether. I did paint some light tones along various edges, too (under the chin, the under rim of the nose, etc.) to create some depth and separation.
At the time of doing the face, I decided to take those same yellow colors and do the highlights of the right shirt sleeve. You can see in some areas where I painted too wet and lifted the brown from underneath. That’s ok because I’ll be adding lighter highlights on top, and the colored pencil phase will be applied in here later, too.
That last phase worked rather nicely, so the yellow was added to the rest of Frankie’s shirt. Not only does it help define the shirt, but colorwise it compliments his skin. We must have our monster looking his best! A couple of other big additions now are the purple tone laid flat across his hair, and a really dark brown (almost black, but not quite) painted over the purple of his coat. It’s tough to tell in the scan, but I painted this tone a little lighter by the edges of his arms so that the underpainting of the purple shows through a bit, and it lets his arms have some subtle definition against the dark background.
It’s a little tough to see, but in the top right corner of the sky, I lightly penciled in with a white Prismacolor pencil the lightning streaking down towards the castle. This is just for placement at the moment, and will be fully realized shortly. Knowing that this backlight will exist, I wanted the right side (our right, not his) of Frankie to be aware of the presence of that light. So you can see there is some white that is being put on Frankie as a bit of a rim highlight. His head has it, as does his shoulder. On the other side of him are the beginnings of a similar highlight, but in yellow. Why? Because of the torches the angry mob below will have. This will be a much softer highlight, though. Torches don’t ignite the air quite like lightning.
The last major things here, too, are his dreamy eyes. I’ll mention more about them later in a close-up.
After the above was finished, little details like the lightning and the angry mob were finessed a bit. For the mob, I went in with a small brush and brown paint to punch up heads and shapes a bit. These folks will be left a little vague and out of focus to go with the rest of the background. I do want the torches to look bright, but really the background should be darker for that effect to look cooler. So we’ll make do. I hit the torch areas with a light airbrush spray of white for the glow. Then on top of that went the orange, and then yellow, then a harder white in the flames.
Also with the lightning, I hit the white pencil line with white paint from my airbrush for a glow. Then went in with a small brush and white gouache (an opaque water based paint that covers well) to paint the streak. Some areas I went over a few times to make really white which gave the lightning “hotter” spots. Hopefully it looks natural.
Jeepers, creepers! Where’d he get those peepers?! I wanted Frankie’s eyes to have a slightly bloodshot look to them. You know that’s always creepy. First a yellow ochre was painted in them. A red rim was added to the bottom, after which a light white was added on top, and as a rim under the red. Later, in the final stage, some white highlights will be added.
Also in this stage, you can see that there are paint flicks on Frankie’s skin. Using a toothbrush (NOT one I use in my mouth anymore, mind you), I spritzed his skin with yellow, dark green, and purple. This can be fun, but you have to be careful to not get carried away. And if you don’t want the flicks going everywhere else, you have to mask off the rest of your painting!
Below is a photo of my paint flick mask. Using a big sheet of tracing paper, I traced out the areas I wanted to expose. Then I put the tracing paper on a piece of cardboard and cut out the holes with my X-acto knife. I also used airbrush frisket to mask off the eyeballs and teeth. Taping the paper back down onto the painting, I can now spritz away without fear of ruining the rest of the piece. The extra texture of the spritz was only necessary for Frankie’s skin – not the rest of the scene.
Lastly, you can see below the addition of the hair (see how that purple was used for a highlight?), and some lighter highlights on portions of the shirt. Yessir, Frankie is starting to come together.
Next in Part 7, I’ll be showing you some of the finishing touches utilizing colored pencils!