By Justin Gerard

So after some time away I am back! (Special thanks to Cory Godbey for holding down the fort for me while I went and got married and explored some sea caves in the Caribbean and was almost nearly kidnapped and eaten by bats.)  
But I am back and I am painting again. And for Christmas Eve this year I’d like to share a few preliminaries for my next painting with you. 

Rough Design GO!
This painting is a private commission and will be done 4’x6′ oil on canvas.  I’ve been having a lot of fun working larger and am looking forward to tackling something this size.  
Working large makes this early design stage really important for me.  Once I blow the drawing up and transfer it to the canvas I start to lose track of things fast.  Proportions start to slide off and perspective warps. 
So I like to nail down a really solid design here.  The little bits like leaves and individual bricks don’t matter, but faces and poses and characters relations to one another is extremely important. 
Color Comp GO!

 Figuring out the light source and shadows is really important. Ultimately its story though. And we need to figure out what is the story is here most of all.

Is it more interesting to have an ultimate-samurai-warrior-navy-seal-who looks like George Washington in a bear suit?
Or a lost pizza delivery guy?
Or a band of adventurers of dubious character who are trying for the big one?

I don’t know.  So we spend some time sketching to figure it out.

Next Week: George Washington in a bear suit