For today’s post I’d like to share with you an animatic process video of a monster I illustrated for my October Series, “Monsters and Maidens of Halloween!”

This particular monster/maiden is of “Princess” the Werewolf.  She stayed just a *little* too long at the party, and well, now the moon is out and I’m afraid she is going to ruin her elegantly embroidered, hand-made gown… and maim several guests, rip a couch in half and absolutely destroy the kitchen. (Everyone’s been to at least one Halloween party that has ended this way. It’s not just me, right?)

Anyway, For today’s post I thought I would share the painting process for her and talk a bit about how it was made.

The image was created by first drawing the figure traditionally in graphite on bristol, and then colorizing her in Adobe Photoshop. As ever, I consider the drawing to be the heart and soul of the image.

Traditional Drawing using 2H and 4B pencils on bristol paper


Close-in Detail of Drawing

Establishing a clean shape with well-defined shadows is one of my primary goals when drawing for something that will eventually have color added to it. When a drawing is meant to be the final product on its own I tend to take a bit more care of my mid-tones and shading, but for something like this all that extra information just gets in the way. I try to keep it clean and don’t smudge things or worry about getting in there with super light 6H pencil shading or anything.  I probably should take care to erase out to clean things up a bit more (as you can see in her teeth, which are just not looking hygienic.) But at the same time I like the energy of having a few stray lines here and there showing other ideas and possibilities.  I also don’t like to be preoccupied with cleaning up every little thing with drawings that are meant for color. These are the bones of the illustration, not the skin.

Now that most of the actual work is done, I scan it into Photoshop and begin to add color.  The video really tells the rest, so I won’t belabor what is going on, but there is one thing that I did different in this illustration that I think bears mentioning:  While most of my color work is done in very transparent layers, this image was done primarily with semi-transparent layering to slowly work up the overall figure. As I do this you can see me pushing and pulling the lights and shadows to try and slowly work up details.  I like to think of it as adding spot lights to areas to slowly crystalize the forms.

The trouble with this is that I do eventually obliterate those nice lines that were so important to me early on. This used to terrify me, but now I’ve come to believe that it is important to let each medium be its own thing. If you try to hard to hang on to the pencil when you are coloring it, you lose the chance at a lot of amazing possibilities that turn up later on. You are locked into one roadmap with no possibility of other experiences along the way. So working with semi-opaque layering as I am here, there are a lot of moments where I get to change things or add little moments of detail here and there.  If I allow myself to be locked down by the pencil I would miss out on some truly great opportunities.

Final Color 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this one! For more of the Monsters and Maidens series, check out my Instagram.  I am slowly making my way through a long list of them!