In our last post I shared some drawings I’ve been doing recently for a personal project on monsters. Today I’d like to share with you some of the color work from the series!
The series is called Monster-of-the-Month, and each month I have a little sketch and a title that I work on. As I mentioned in the last post, I have about 2000 of these little sketch ideas (most of which were envisioned while watching my toddlers dismantle the living room). Eventually I’d like to paint them all to the level of finish here… sooooo if medical science could just overcome a few odd life expectancy hurdles for me that’d be great…
Since there are about 2,000 that I want to paint, I decided to tackle these figures by drawing them traditionally and coloring them digitally, as that is the fastest way I can work while still enjoying the look and feel of the final product. While the method I am using to color these monsters is digital, the general approach is rooted in something very much like my traditional watercolor method.
Basically: tone the lines and figure, lay in some transparent washes, and then add highlights over everything.
I started the series purely as a personal exercise as something to sharpen my skills against. And something that also serves as a nice break between client jobs. My initial goal was to keep the work time for each down to about 5 hours. This was a fun goal (like doing 2,000 of these), a little unrealistic perhaps…. The best I’ve gotten is around 7 hours on one of them. Most I am still spending more like 10 to 12 hours on. (In my defense I really love painting creatures! So I tend to get lost in the final few hours just noodling around and adding little bits here and there, totally forgetting about the clock. I still think I can hit this goal one day!)
I am not totally certain where I will go with all of these guys, but at the moment I’m not too worried about it. I am just really enjoying working on them and can feel improvement from when I began the series early on. I’ve always been a fan of artists undertaking personal projects for this reason. I personal projects sharpen you, and keep you sharp, and most importantly, still in love with your craft. One of the best bits of advice that was given to me early on was to approach painting like a full time job. If you don’t have work, make work up and paint for a certain number of hours every day. Eventually, you will improve, you will enjoy what you are doing, and paying work will find you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour! I hope to share more monsters with you all soon.
These are delightful…fingers crossed that your “life expectancy hurdles” (best phrasing I’ve heard ever) get resolved in a positive way. I’d love to see a whole book filled with these little monsters.
Haha thanks Carole! I do have a few ideas in mind for these little guys once I get a few dozen more…
Wow! This article is what I needed lately! I love drawing creature and there’s always at least a little monster in the counter of my brain trying to crawl out. I was feeling guilty to draw them between two jobs and instead take some class and draw my little monster during ”waiting time” like in the bus or car or waiting in the line somewhere. Ends up that there’s a flood of monster lately and I became mono idea: I MUST DRAW MONSTERS NOW!! I clearly suppress my need for lil monsters, and knowing more about your approche give me ideas to scratch that itch! Thanks a bunch!!
Do it!! And if you don’t have time to take them all the way to finished level right now, just keep all the scribbles in a sketchbook until you do have the time! (And then share them with us!)
These are wonderful!
Thank you Donna!
I hope we will see the next finished ones.
I will definitely be sharing them again as the series develops!
I LOVE THESE. <3 <3 <3
Thank you Camille!
Jeez. These are amazing, Justin!
😀 Thanks Dan!
So if there is a Common Miscreant one imagines there may also be an Uncommon subspecies and perhaps even a Splendid Miscreant. 🙂 Love these.
Ooooo I like the idea of a Splendid Miscreant…. Going to have to do some sketches for that one!
Wonderful work Justin. Three quick questions for ya: Do you scan your ref into Photoshop and then do some kind of cleanup? Is the flat color and line art all in one layer? What layer mode do you use for shadows?
Hi Poppe, yes I scan the drawing into Photoshop and then do clean-up. As for layers: The drawing is one layer, and the color is rendered on about 100 separate layers. Shadows are multiply!
Thanks Justin and thanks for sharing both your wonderful art as well as your process.