Making of a Monster – Part 2

Welcome back to the second post of my step-by-step in creating the Illustration West 59 call for entries poster for the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.

Yesterday we ended with the creation of the color comp in Photoshop. Today we dive into beginning the traditional art on paper.

To start with, the line drawing needs to be printed out on the computer so it can be traced down on the final paper. I print such things out in a light color onto 11×14″ layout bond paper. It’s thin, and it takes my inkjet ink nicely. The art needs to be blown up to the final size, which means it gets printed onto two pieces of layout bond and then taped together.

Unfortunately, there are no photos of this next step – using graphite paper I made by rubbing a woodless pencil on a piece of tracing paper, I put that graphite side down onto Arches watercolor block paper, then I tape down the printed layout bond paper on top of it. Then just using a pencil, I trace over my printed drawing to transfer it in graphite to the painting surface. It is printed in a light color so that it’s obvious as to what I have traced with the pencil. Once I pull all that away, there are extra graphite smudges all over the place, which normally I’d carefully erase, but not this time…

This time I decided to trace my pencil lines with ink, then I vigorously erased all the extraneous pencil marks. Why? Because the media this time was going to involve heavy use of gouache paint, which is an opaque watercolor, which means it’s going to cover the lines. If I left it as pencil lines, I wouldn’t be able to see through the paint to bring out the details. Ink lines will show through better, but ultimately will get covered in paint and colored pencils by the time this piece is finished.


It’s all about the little people.


The next step comes from experience in using the various media that will be employed on this painting. Watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil will all be coming into the mix, and I usually start with things furthest away moving to the foreground. So, next is the application of liquid frisket.



Liquid frisket is a white milky liquid that is really a liquid rubber. It smells bad, but you apply it to areas that you want to mask off from getting painted. In this case, deep oranges and yellows will be applied to the background, but since I’m working with water soluble paints, I don’t want those to bleed through later when painting the characters. So, liquid frisket is applied right over those elements.



You need to let the frisket dry, which can take awhile, sometimes up to an hour. Once it does, it dries slightly yellow, and will have a little rubbery tack to it. Don’t worry, once you paint all the exposed layers, the frisket will peel up leaving those areas untouched.


Kind of a dramatic angle. “RUN! Run from the giant liquid frisketed monster!!”

Tomorrow we begin to paint the background!

Illustration West 59 wants your submissions! The deadline is October 31st! CLICK HERE!