A couple of weeks ago I shared with you the fact that Paul Coker Jr. drew me into his story in the August 2016 issue of MAD Magazine. He later gifted me with the original art which I received two weeks ago. Since he poked fun of my Disney past (CLICK here to see Paul’s version of me), I thought I’d make him a thank you “card” that was Disney themed. So, it was time to draw the fellas again – Mickey, Donald and Goofy.
I liked how the finished piece turned out, so I thought I’d take you through four of the major steps in creating the painting.
STEP 1: Sketch the Image
I tend to sketch out all my illustrations on my Cintiq monitor. I draw with a stylus right on the screen using Photoshop. I am a sloppy sketcher. Lots of extraneous lines come out of my pen as I look for the right shapes. Quite frankly, when it is a piece just for me, I don’t need to be any neater. I know where I’m going with it. If I am working on something for a client, I would likely clean up the sketch by going over it one more time to make it less sketchy.
STEP 2: Underpainting
Well, before I start the underpainting, I need to transfer the art from the computer to actual watercolor paper. I print out the drawing in black so it is nice and dark, and I put it on a lightbox to trace it onto the final paper. It is at this time where I draw nice clean lines, and I finesse the drawing a little by making little tweaks to improve it.
Once the pencil drawing is on the paper, I did a purple underpainting of all the shadows. This is a little thing I picked up from Jack Davis who just passed away this week. (CLICK HERE to see the eulogy I wrote for the National Cartoonists Society’s website.) The idea is to let the purple do all the hard work of creating the shading when I lay down the colors in thin layers later.
STEP 3: Upperpainting
This is simply picking the final colors and painting them down quickly over the purple underpainting. I say “quickly” because A. you don’t want the paint to streak by drying before you can continue the color, and B. if you linger too long, you will start to smear the purple underpainting and get a muddy mess.
STEP 4: Final Details
This final step involved using colored pencils to give the characters an outline which tightens them up, and I added colored pencil here and there to accentuate the shadows and to create highlights. Very rarely did I use white. In most cases, the highlights were created with lighter shades of purple, pink, blue, etc.
So, there you have it – a super quick tutorial on how to create an appealing piece of art in a relatively short period of time. The more you do it, the less time it takes. Also, this fast technique creates a certain loose quality to the art which gives it more energy.