Saturday, December 28, 2013

River's Dream

-By Dan dos Santos

Here is a piece I recently finished for Dark Horse Comic's 'Serenity: Leaves on the Wind' #3.

MTV News was awesome enough to do an exclusive walkthrough last week of the piece's creation. The write up was pretty cool, but since their audience is not as concerned with the more intricate aspects of picture making like we are here, MTV didn't use all of the progress shots I sent them. I figured I would post those shots here, as a sort of supplemental post, for those who are interested.

For the complete low-down on the painting's creation, be sure to first read the MTV article HERE.

This was a bit of an unusual piece for me, starting with the board. Rather than use my usual smooth white surface, I created a grey surface with some interesting texture to work on top of.


I did my underdrawing in 2B pencil, and a red colored pencil. From there, I alternated between numerous washes of acrylic, some airbrushing, and lots of colored pencil. This approach is very similar to Drew Struzan's method, from whom I got the idea. (It's an amazingly fast working method, btw!)


This last stage shown above is about as far as I took the acrylic and colored pencil. From this point on, I finished the piece off in oils. I wanted to add some subtlety to the piece, and I was having a really difficult time color matching with the acrylics (something which is relatively easy to do in oils). I also used the oils to glaze a lot of vibrancy into the lights, darken large areas like the hair, and tint the face a slightly warmer hue.


Here is a candid shot of my studio during the painting process. You can still see my drawing for Serenity #1 tacked to the board. Lastly, below, is the finished painting with the final layer of oils completed.

'River's Dream', by Dan dos Santos  (16x24 inches) Acrylic, colored pencil, and oils on board.

9 comments:

  1. There are leeches all over your drawing board Dan. Well done again and congrats on MTV. You're right about acrylic and color matching, that's why I don't do it. Just guess until it's right. Thanks again for all of this.

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    1. I really want to start using acrylics more, but that color matching issue drove me insane! Darks shift light, lights shift dark, it was so unpredictable I just couldn't handle it.

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  2. I loooove this technique, Dan. Though using an airbrush seems like quite an event! How did you seal the paper before you began painting, or did you? I always worry that oils will soak into it and degrade stuff. (Shows what I know, huh?)

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    1. I gessoed the board, as shown in the first picture, so oils wouldn't be an issue. But even so, the layers acrylic would have acted as a barrier against the solvents.

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  3. A small thing but I've always wondered how you sign your paintings in such a neat and consistent manner?

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    1. The signature you see here is a digital watermark. And although I do sign it the same in real life, it's not quite as perfect. I have pretty good penmanship due to years of drafting classes.

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  4. Thank you so much for doing this, what an interesting work method! It seems to overcome some of the issues I have with acrylics...I prefer them when starting but I do love the versatility oils offer in the finish. The final result is just gorgeous.

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  5. I really want to try this method, but is there a way to do it without airbrushing?

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  6. Thanks for the post, Dan. Did you have a issue with layering the color pencils on the acrylics, or vice versa?

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