by Justin Gerard

 Lately I’ve been getting back into working digitally over monochromatic oil again.  In a previous post I claimed that I would someday return to this Silmarillion-inspired image and finish it. So to prove that I only break most of my promises to our readers, I am finally getting down to finishing it!

Color Comp

I will be adding the colors over the underpainting digitally because I am a wizard and this is the sort of thing that wizards do.


Pencil and watercolor is excellent for showing personality, but there is nothing like oil for drama.
The following image is one I finished recently using this method of digital color over a monochrome oil.

“The Last of His Kind”

One of the great difficulties in working in this method is preserving the wonderful, distinctive brush-strokes that are so characteristic of oil.

To overcome this difficulty, after I have scanned in the image, I work in transparent layers set to either multiply, soft light or color. The object is to enhance the original, not alter it or interfere with the brushwork in any way. I work very transparently to slowly work the image up to the right tone.

Lastly there are some opaque normal layers and a color dodge layer or two. Remember: If you get stuck you can always add rim-light and that will probably save it.