miércoles, 13 de agosto de 2008

The private life of a (Marvel Comics ®) masterpiece - The art of painting a Wolverine Pin-up...

OK. The materials I used for rendering this image were charcoal, acrylics, Illustration board, masking tape, a wooden surface and some fine brushes. The colors were Ivory black, Titanium white, Naples yellow, Venice yellow, Yellow ochre, Oxide yellow (in pigment), Indian red, Ultramarine blue and Burnt Sienna, and I used a matte colorless acrylic gel as a medium. It's important to know that water is not used to disolve the acrylic colors. For that, you'll have to use gel or any other liquid medium. Water is only used to clean your brushes.
First, I prepared the Illustration board with a mixture of Indian red and a liquid acrylic medium (a colorless acrylic primer, indeed). It dried and then I applied a diluted gray layer which is a mixture of Ivory black, Titanium white and Oxide yellow pigment.
I taped the cardboard to the wooden surface and finally I masked the edges just for a fine presentation purpose only. Your Illustration board should be ready for drawing on it...

Here are the references I used for rendering an accurate drawing. I used the face of the guy in the cover of Flex® magazine, the disguise of the Wolverine in the cover of this really old Comics Scene® magazine, the body of the gruesome dude in blue shorts and one hand of the less freaky, good looking buddy in the black and white photo...

There you can see the taped and masked Illustration board with the red ground layer, the second grey layer and a first charcoal sketch drawing. I work as far from the surface as I can. I tape the charcoal bar to a long stick so I can draw at long distance.
The next thing to do is to establish a semi-definitive drawing, painting it black and having in mind that you will only depict the shadows in your figure.
Nature has no contours, no
silhouettes, so your black masses should be delimitated by the lenght of the shadows to create the illusion of volume. If you're afraid of losing your first sketch, you can "glue" the charcoal dust lines to the surface by covering them with acrylic gel. This technique is useful not only for preserving the drawing, but also for starting to create those long, soft shadow masses I described previously.

There it is: the basis for your definitive paintwork. Black shadows and yellow lights. You may be able to change it or depict in it new elements later, but not too significant or too big. I use a goofy "yellow sauce" to create those lighting effects. It's goofy because, in a way, it's not really necessary. By regulating the viscosity of the Yellow ochre, adding acrylic gel and liquid acrylic mediums, and fusing it with your gray and black surface, you should be able to get a really neat volume effect but I really find it hard to perceive the most shining sections, so I "cheat" with the help of this secret sauce whose ingredientes are transcribed below:
- In a shallow plate, drip some Venice Yellow. As far as I know, this is not a popular color. I found it in a French brand called Pebeo®. It's really poorly saturated and when using it direct from the tube to the surface, you will always be able to see the background through it. The reason I keep buying it is because I use it as a "yellow gel", really useful for creating ochre layers.
- Because its poor saturation, add Oxide Yellow pigment to it.
- Then add Yellow ochre or Naples yellow (or both of them) to the sauce, depending on how much bright light you want to achieve.

- Finally, regulate the viscosity of your sauce with the acrylic mediums (as if you were using water to make it more fluid), depending on how much of the dark background you want to cover. Be aware that this sauce doesn't include white in it. At this moment, only black and yellow should be used. You're still depicting your drawing! You'll see it's a long, hard road out of the drawing process...

As you can see, you have to start taking important decisions by now. Maybe you'll think you have finished drawing your figure, but it really depends on how much focus you want to achieve. Keep painting your lights with yellow, blurring the black masses and re-focusing them again using black. Repeat this as many times as necessary. Remember that you can control the viscosity of your materials using mediums.

I decided to sharpen the gesture and the expressive lines of the face by making them really dark, using a fine brush. Also, I decided it'll be the last time I re-draw my figure. The deep cavities of the body, like the interior of the mouth and the armpits, are the darkest. The shallow parts of the body, like the nose and the forehead, should be the most shiny.

This is the final drawing. It should look like it's made out of gold. No white was used on the rendering of it. If the eyes glow bright it's just because the contrast between the shiny zones and the dark parts surrounding them. The same effect was archieved in the shoulder, but I insist that I used no white. In fact, Titanium white will be called only at the very end of your painting process.
Now the drawing is ready (about a day of work, about a total of 8 hours), colours should be applied. I really believe this layering technique was brilliantly designed by the Old Masters because of the little amount of material required. So, splash down a big spoon of liquid medium in a dish and create a flow, cellophane textured Indian red gravy.
I apply red colour right after yellow for one simple reason: it lingers out well with the most brownish parts of both ochre and black colours, as if they were cousins, born from the same family tree. Actually, if you look carefully, you can see there are some red "imaginary" hues in the intersections between the ochre layers and the black background, so painting with red is the logical next phase, but you can proceed with Ultramarine blue if you want to. I will use Ultramarine blue later and I will describe the reason why I used it as a final colour layer, right after this Indian red coating.

This is how it should look after you apply the Indian red thin layer. You'll find that there are some really deep red areas that may require more than only two or three of these colour coatings. You can paint with pure, direct from the tube Indian red over those selected parts of the figure, but keep in mind that you have to preserve the greatest amount of work you have already done in the background as possible, so try not to cover too much with it!

Now, do the same thing you did with Indian red, but using Ultramarine blue instead. Your figure should start looking round and bold immediately right after you apply this Ultramarine blue thin layer. The reason I delay the use of Ultramarine blue this much is because it really looks and acts like pure Ivory black when surrounded by other colours. It's even more glossy and more shiny that Ivory black indeed, because it not absorbs light: it reflects it. So, use pure, not diluted Ultramarine blue to delineate and shadow your darkest areas. Just keep in mind you have to preserve your background or you will have to start your paintwork right from the begining again!...

... Well, in fact, you'll have to start all over again. The yellow areas you worked so hard should be all messed up and blotted by now :(
Repeat all the procedure and start making decisions again on which will be your most focused areas. And also start thinking where will be your darkest areas before you start painting again with black.
Check the viscosity of it. Do you really need it to be that opaque? Do you really need to brush again those big shadows? And it's the same thing for the yellow areas. Please observe that ochre is far much more obscure that Naples Yellow. Use Naples yellow as if you were about to paint the white areas of your rendered model, pretty much like when you used Ultramarine blue instead of black before.

Once the basic colours (yellow, blue and red) are ready and once the dark and bright areas are accurately depicted using Naples Yellow and tiny little quantities of black, you should be able to add any other colour you want because it will blend correctly with that firmly attached solid base you have achieved by now. If you add a non-basic colour before this step, it will be horribly disfigurated into a grayish blot eventually. For example, think what would happen if you add violet right in the middle of the yellow and red layers. When you apply the blue layer, it will become a deep, undesired purple colour. But if you add violet at the end of the coating phase, it will preserve its natural look, because it will not be covered by any other colour that could transform it into another one not really required.
Here, I only added a thin layer of Burnt Sienna right into the flesh exposed around the mouth and over the gloves to differentiate the skin from the red areas of the costume.
We're about to finish this Wolverine guy. It's time to use Titanium white on the brightest, shiniest areas of the figure.
Titanium white is really opaque and it has a very powerful capacity of covering what lingers below it, so use it carefully.
Maybe you would preffer to use Zinc white instead, because it's pretty much like a "white gel", but then again you won't be able to make your figure shine really bright.
Use white direct from the tube and also use it diluted with medium, just as if you were applying one very last colour layer.
And try not to cover too much of the Naples yellow parts because white painting can look really "cold", and that was the true reason why you worked with yellow at first: to keep your highlights warm.

That's it.
Take one last decision. Do you like those thick brushstrokes to be visible over the surface of your cardboard or would you like better to blur them a little?
I sprayed them with white using a toothbrush. Of course, you can use an airbrush.
Untape your provisional framing...

TA - DA! As you can see, I painted the edges black and shortly thereafter, I took one last sip of my coffee mug as I relaxed and leaned back to enjoy my silly Wolverine Pin-up.
It really surprised me how fast and how little time it took from me to finish this particular paintwork.
It took me a day for rendering the drawing (8 hours), a whole day working over the colour layers (+8 hours) and maybe a couple of extra hours for picking up the details.
I'm used to work on a canvas for about a month! So this was pretty fun and relaxing to do.
Do you like it? Wolverine was one of my favorite characters as a child. Same as Ghost Rider and the Fantastic Four.
Maybe one day I will paint a Silver Surfer Pin-up too.
I'm working on a Black Cat Pin-up right now, so stay tuned for more Marvel Fan Art Masterpieces done by me, your friendly neighbor, Jacob Jimenez Lechuga, from Mexico City!

1 comentario:

Nani du Cartier Latin dijo...

Nice "storyboard" of ur painting!! I'm gonna come here more often. I'm sorry to say that but in the final one that u show here there's too much white over the muscles (just my opinion)