Mar 19, 2007

The Leap - WIP (work in progress)

I am SO excited about this commission because its a major break from what I have been doing! Wow, they are just going so well its beautiful! Anyhoo, every now and then you get a request that allows you to just paint what your heart desires. How do they stay happy? Well I asked her for a list of her favorite things and if there was anything specific she wanted. So I added some elements (poppies, birds, fairy, movement, silver/blonde hair, and there will be a thunderstorm behind her with light shining through) that reflected the client and from there just had fun.

Again I'm going to try and record my process. I'm not very good at keeping up to date with it, but I get so many questions as to how I go about my work. So I keep trying. Maybe someday I'll actually get from start to finish. :P

Be sure to click the images to see a larger and clearer view!
**NOTE** The images you see here have been reversed to their final direction. I work on tracing paper in reverse so that I may transfer the image easily to watercolor paper. More about this with the inking stage below.


So first I have the initial sketch. Its loose, quick, and really its just to get all the elements together and to get the feel. The reason I leave it loose is if the client doesn't like something or wants something to move. This makes it very easy, as if I spent hours cleaning and touching it up before consulting with them first...all of that time would be lost.




Then here's the new step in my work which is VERY recent. I bought a light board for tracing (some commissions need that) and thought "Well...why not really clean up the sketch before I get it to watercolor paper...which is where I regularly clean it up?". So I did....and boy oh boy, how exciting. Even though its tracing and rendering one more time, the inking process should go so smoothly I'm actually looking forward to it! (inking is kind of a mundane step T_T)




Inking is next. I ink my pieces with MICRON pens in the brown/sepia color. It doesn't scan so well tho. :\ Before I ink I flip my tracing paper over (thus its the reverse than what I initially draw) with the pencil facing down onto the watercolor paper. After taping it down I go over the entire piece several times with a silver spoon. I have found this works the best and its safe. Quite the arm work out too! Within this process a few things change, but not much. Maybe a few more lines in the hair, I thinned out the stems of the poppies, added more folding and rugged tips to the poppy petals, decided to change how the swirls were gonna look, etc. Once the inking process is done, then comes the second most exciting part of the piece....the painting!!



Finally some paint! Whoo hoo! :P
Now, there are a few things I could have done...but didn't. Those were 1) tape the edges to keep the paper flatter and to have crisp edges; 2) mask everything but the background so that I could be sure not to get bkgr colors all over my foreground. Heh, but I didn't. Why? Well because for one I don't enjoy masking very much and I like the watercolor to have its own life. Also I didn't tape it down because with this kind of background I wanted to be able to have complete freedom in moving the paper around without an pain in the butt board.
I tried to give the background a stormy feel where the clouds are moving, there's a feel of depth, and the feel that it's still day time...around afternoon? Its very loose and slightly different in how I work with my backgrounds, but I think in the end it will have just what the piece needs.


Once I have that down I then go back in and add more color. This time I added lemon and ochre yellows. Having a suggestion of sun behind in the clouds is important to me and I think to this piece. At the end more highlights will be added to the clouds (that silver lining of the sun type thing). I'm very interested in seeing how the foreground interacts and stands out from this background. :D


The Leap finished!



Please help me keep up with this by providing feedback (its always a great motivator) and give me your thoughts on the process, the piece, or if you see anything off! Thanks! :)

7 comments:

Mirtika said...

Oh, it looks wonderful. I can FEEL the breeze. The whimsical touch of the lil hearts in the mouth of the birds is just delightful. And I adore poppies. They're gonna look really righteous when they're colored in. Although, honestly, this looks really nice in the sepia inktones.

Mir

Meredith said...

There's always so much movement in your drawings ! :)

Sara M Butcher said...

Thanks you guys! :D I'm really in love with the movement in this piece too Mere....now that I have that storm behind it! I ADORE poppies....I think they're so innocent like daisies. hehe I'm such a sappy soap when it comes to romantic symbols and girlie notions. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sara,

Wow, this is so GORGEOUS! I really need to commission you sometime for something, anything O-O!


Sonia =} who commissioned the zodiac ACEOs from you awhile back!

April said...

Beautiful! :)

I'm curious about this:
"Even though its tracing and rendering one more time, the inking process should go so smoothly I'm actually looking forward to it!"

Was it worth the time and effort to trace and render one more time with the light table?

Sara May said...

Sonia! Hi! :D Thank you very much and yes, I would enjoy working a piece for you! :)

April, I think for this piece in particular, yes. Because I adored the first sketch so much and wanted to keep as much as I could with it, but with it being so loose hard to transfer and ink, the cleaning up made it VERY clear for me. Also I was able to make choices I usually make in the inking stage before hand which was very nice. :)

I don't think the retracing and rendering will happen with every piece, but for those kinds of sketches, its nice to know I have that available.

Meredith said...

turned out gorgeous!