Painting the Rocketeer: Step 3

So, here we are for the continued explanation of the step-by-step creation of my recent Rocketeer painting. If you need to start back at Step 1, CLICK HERE! Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Step 3

Now that the background has been completed, it is time to remove the liquid frisket from the central characters. To do this, you use a rubber cement remover/eraser. It is a rubbery bumpy square usually found in art supply stores. You rub this gently at first on the edge of the liquid frisket, and if needed, more aggressively as you can without damaging the painted areas. The idea is to peel up the edge of the frisket. Sometimes when you peel up the edge, you can just grab it with your fingers and pull it off. Other times, you need to keep applying the eraser.


Here it is with all the liquid frisket removed.


Below is a close-up of the figures. You can see that there are specks of red paint all over them. I think this was caused by two things: 1. I shook up the liquid frisket before applying, and it had lots of bubbles in it. When the bubbles popped, it may have left tiny holes where the paint got in. 2. When I was using the rubber cement eraser, it picked up some of the red paint from off the frisket, and then smudged it on the paper where the frisket had been removed.


Paint specks made it onto my art which is a drag. This did not happen on a previous painting when I used this technique.


Since the paint is water based, the specks on the characters can be minimized before painting any further. Just wet a brush, dab it onto the affected areas, let it soak in for a moment, then dab it up with a clean paper towel. Repeat. It won’t remove all signs of a color as bright as this red, but it will minimize it enough to where it won’t be noticeable when you continue the rest of your painting.

Back when I was painting the background, there was time to mix up other colors while waiting for each layer of paint to dry. I buy these little Solo condiment cups and lids for paint. You can write on them with a Sharpie, and the paint stays wet inside for days.


Paint cups being guarded by the Rocketeer himself. By the way, that Mickey Mouse hand is my salt shaker. Every time the hand spills some salt, Mickey has seven years of bad luck.


The next step is creating an underpainting layer of shadows on the characters. I often use purple. When working with watercolor, the final color on top will allow this shadow layer to peek through. Paint these shadows darker in spots where a dark color will go on top of them.


Sometimes a sepia can work, but purple is often my choice, especially with that red BG screaming at you.


Once your underpainting has dried. You can lay on your top colors. Because that underpainting was done with watercolor, putting wet paint on top of it can cause the underpainting to run if you are not careful. The best way to prevent that is to paint your top colors on very quickly. The dry paint underneath won’t have a chance to get saturated with the liquid which is why it would start to slide and mix in with your top paint.


Here’s a nice close-up of the central figures all painted. You can see how that underpainting nicely provides colorful shadows on the figures.


I had a friend that would do a shadow underpainting with DW ink, which is acrylic based. Once that dries, it can’t move around with water put on it. They may make a purple DW ink, but so far I just used watercolor paint for my underpainting.


This is how the whole piece looks now that the painted portion of the piece has been completed. There can be other touch ups and additions added later as needed.


So, that is the end of the painted portion of the illustration! Next, the colored pencils come out to do their damage!