Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Update 6: Above The Timberline

Greg Manchess

Still at it, Muddies! Counting down from 60.

I've been drawing like crazy for the past two weeks, preparing multiple spreads for the novel. This is where most of the time for each painting is spent. The painting goes relatively quickly once I know where I'm going, and that usually depends on visualizing the lighting and value.

Most of the painting time is spent making decisions about balancing values. I have the color and light worked out already before starting a piece. This saves time, but also agony. To do that demands much planning.

Altogether, I have about 20 pieces going at once, working to get a new one established during the day, and continuing or finishing a couple in the evening. This doesn't always work so smoothly.

I find that my energy lags when I'm conceptualizing as there are so many decisions to be made. I pick up energy when the drawing goes down and enthusiasm builds to see the finish. But sometimes there are things unforeseen that tend to take time to manage or correct. 

All of the shifts and changes are based on my own desire to showcase something or capture a mood, a motion, a condition. And I've only myself to answer to. Sometimes I can be a brutal taskmaster.

The finished shots of the work are starting to come in now and I'm ready to feed more to my photographer.  Many of these images are professionally shot, and I can get that crisp, white background.

More in 2 weeks!

An example of the sketch to canvas...the is figure a combination of projection and freehand; 
the bear is freehand to canvas with blue pencil, then redrawn with graphite


  1. You must have a mountain of reference photos and sketches. How do you keep it all organized for so many paintings?

  2. wouldn't believe how many files I have to wade through. I've been building them for years. The worst part of the whole endeavor is remembering a picture of something I saw and need for a painting, i.e. an airship angle, a shot of snow, (a friend sends me shots when he's out hiking in Montana!)...and then tearing my hair out for a half hour trying to find it.

    Each day, I try to reorganize a little to keep things straight. I have reference shots of me and my models separated into folders based on the spread I'm working on. But lately I've decided to just duplicate stuff like crazy, so it's easier to find what I'm looking for since it's in several places instead of just one. (I leave the "copy" word in the file name so when this is over I'll know what I can easily delete. Although I can't imagine how much purging I will need to do!) Maybe I'll just buy an external hard drive devoted to the book and pile everything in there!

    I've also been buying stock photos to avoid copyright problems. But even then, I'm only using them to refer to as they don't work very well verbatim. I bought a beautiful mountain shot the other day only to change it so much you can barely see the original source. Seems like a waste, but is necessary...


    1. Wow, thanks for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to answer my question. I've been building up my reference library on Pinterest. My desktop used to be a mess with references images (actually it still is) now I just organize them all on Pintrest.

      Thanks again!

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  4. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. It helps us fledgling illustrators better our craft.

  5. Good to hear, Kyle. I wish I could've had a site like this when I was coming up through the field. It would've given me so much experience and inspiration, just to know that I could indeed 'make it.' Mostly I just wanted to be an excellent painter.

    A place like MC would've put a LOT in perspective that I had to learn on my own. So I very much want to share anything I can with the readers here.

    When there's more art in the world, there's more appreciation for it, and the quality goes up. And people will seek out and want more good work.

  6. Can't wait to flip through the final book, Greg. Looks wonderful!

  7. There will be a LOT to flip through, Dominick! LOL!