Face study drawn in 2H graphite on heavyweight drawing paper.
Graphite Drawing with HB pencils on Heavyweight Drawing Paper
Before I arrived at the above drawing I had been chasing a separate idea that involved a castle burning. (Justin Gerard doesn’t always paint castles, but when he does, they are on fire.) As I got deep into the development of this drawing I found that I had started adding dozens of figures and banners and horses, a trebuchet, a pirate ship, Abraham Lincoln riding a gryphon… and really it just just got to be too much for the small size canvas I was planning. I decided to save that one for a possible future painting. For this one I really wanted it to be more focused on the face of the dragon and the city burning in the background.
In the following animatic you can see the various stages it went through as it developed. As with some of my previous oil paintings I painted the base layers of this image in fluid acrylics. I do this because I like the speed you can establish the shadows and forms when using acrylic. I also do this because I am still averse to using solvents when I paint in oil. For a medium I use Gamblin’s Solvent-free Fluid, which is a wonderful medium that allows for smooth brushwork and even light glazes, but is not recommended for heavier use in underpaintings because that may make the painting too “fat” early on.