-By Dan dos Santos

Here is a piece I recently finished for Dark Horse Comic’s ‘Serenity: Leaves on the Wind’ #3.

MTV News was awesome enough to do an exclusive walkthrough last week of the piece’s creation. The write up was pretty cool, but since their audience is not as concerned with the more intricate aspects of picture making like we are here, MTV didn’t use all of the progress shots I sent them. I figured I would post those shots here, as a sort of supplemental post, for those who are interested.

For the complete low-down on the painting’s creation, be sure to first read the MTV article HERE.

This was a bit of an unusual piece for me, starting with the board. Rather than use my usual smooth white surface, I created a grey surface with some interesting texture to work on top of.

I did my underdrawing in 2B pencil, and a red colored pencil. From there, I alternated between numerous washes of acrylic, some airbrushing, and lots of colored pencil. This approach is very similar to Drew Struzan’s method, from whom I got the idea. (It’s an amazingly fast working method, btw!)

This last stage shown above is about as far as I took the acrylic and colored pencil. From this point on, I finished the piece off in oils. I wanted to add some subtlety to the piece, and I was having a really difficult time color matching with the acrylics (something which is relatively easy to do in oils). I also used the oils to glaze a lot of vibrancy into the lights, darken large areas like the hair, and tint the face a slightly warmer hue.

Here is a candid shot of my studio during the painting process. You can still see my drawing for Serenity #1 tacked to the board. Lastly, below, is the finished painting with the final layer of oils completed.

‘River’s Dream’, by Dan dos Santos  (16×24 inches) Acrylic, colored pencil, and oils on board.