Monday, March 31, 2008

Time to add color!

Today I begin the second phase of illustrating Ron, a picture book for Dutton. In the first phase, I worked completely monochromatic, using Payne's Gray watercolor. The second phase will involve overlaying transparent oil colors, and then topping off with opaque highlights.

Actually, I began the second phase last week, but realized I wasn't ready. My images were too heavy on the middle tones, with not enough contrast. So I sealed the watercolor base and worked out the contrast issues with Titanium White and Mars Black acrylic paint.

I spent the weekend adding subtle details, correcting some inconsistencies, and then, with a clothes iron, I ironed the paintings flat. Even with the heavier paper, my paintings were warped. I had planned to take a few more days to refine the underpaintings but, honestly, I'd only be procrastinating. As I said before, this is a new technique for me, so I'm very nervous. At this point, there's no turning back. There's not enough time to start over and return to my more familiar technique, where I create a very loose Burnt Sienna underpainting (to use as a guide only), and then paint over it with opaque acrylics.

Today I take the plunge. I'll be buried for the next month, or so. I'll try to post some in-progress shots later.

Side note: The book, on my table, peeking in from the left, it's Probuditi by Chris Van Allsburg. Inspiration. Chris is a master at creating monochromatic images.

In other news: My baby daughter graduates this month. She'll have a degree in medical assisting. And she's already found a job with a medical clinic! I was upset with her when she graduated from high school, and took out a loan for a brand new car. But she worked full-time, paid for her car, and studied hard for her classes. And she likes giving people shots.

My son received his report card. Straight A's!


susanwrites said...

Oh Don, I haven't been much lately but want to tell you how beautiful I think these look. The color will just add another level.

And yeah for graduating daughters!

rbaird said...

These are wonderful even at this stage. I look forward to seeing the next step!
Ironing them? I didn't know that could be done. I'm going to try it. I have that problem occasionally too. Is there a process?

Congrats to you and your daughter. I have one that age.

gail said...

Love seeing this! Can't wait to see you add color.

I find it so interesting that you did all the underpaintings before moving on to color. I work in a similar way, full value study underpainting, then add color. But since I haven't done a whole book yet, I hadn't considered how this would work when I do a number of illos at once. Now that I see all your painting laid out it makes sense. Now you can move on to color and keep it consist throughout.

Let us know how you like this compared to the Burnt Sienna underpainting.

Nice work and good luck!

rindawriter said...

Congratulations to your son and daughter!

I LOVE the unusual use of an iron. Actually, my husband has borrowed mine for...well...ah...heat gluing veneers in woodworking...but I iron paper patterns when I'm sewing also.

I will be very interested to see the color on these paintings...should be good!