Monday, January 25, 2010

Art Materials and Process!

Hello again, is everyone else looking forward to spring like me? The little bit of upper 50's today gave me a bit of spring fever today!

Anyways, I thought I'd make a post about what materials I use. I've written emails to plenty of illustrators asking what they use and am always checking the copyright section of books for the same info. So, here's a list of my own materials, plus a list of what I typically do with them.

1. When I have an idea of what subject I want to draw I start with tiny thumbnail sketches (small sketches barely an inch or two big) to figure out composition and test ideas quickly. Then after I do a few (or lots depending how difficult the image is) I choose which one I like best and use that as I guide.

2. I sketch a larger version of that chosen thumbnail complete with full details and really flesh it out. If I'm still unhappy I either manipulate parts of the sketch with Photoshop, or completely start over.

3. If I have the time, I let the drawing sit on my desk for an hour or so (sometimes I can't wait though and dive right in lol). That way I get a fresh look at it and I can see mistakes easier. OR you can use the 'transform/horizontal' feature in photoshop which gives you an immediate mirror view--or just look at it in the mirror. All those ways will bring out most of what is wrong with the drawing. Then I correct the problems.

4. I bring out a light box, cut a piece of 140lb hot press (or cold if I have to do a lot of large washes) Arches watercolor paper and tape my sketch under it. Then I place the whole thing on my light box so the sketch shows through the watercolor paper and I trace the sketch.

5. Then I take scotch tape and tape the watercolor paper to my desk along all four edges. I don't really have a set rule in terms of painting the background first or the characters first, it just depends on what I feel like, or what would be best for that particular illustration. Anyways I usually do a lot of layering with Windsor & Newton Artist's watercolors, and red sable brushes (mid-range expense-wise).

6. Sometimes I speed up drying with a hairdryer. When I'm done I let it stay taped overnight so it dries nice and flat.

Anyways, to recap, or for those who are just interested in the materials:

1. Windsor & Newton Artist's series watercolors (tube)
2. Various red sable/half synthetic brushes
3. Artograph Lightracer Light box (by far the most comfortable light box I've found so far.)
4. Arches cold press or hot press 140lb watercolor paper
5. I buy most of my stuff from - excellent art site with good prices, and even if you choose the lowest costing shipping, they surprise you with fast shipping anyway. I've used them for years.

Quick comment on art materials: if you can afford it, don't skimp on paints, or paper - because you really do get what you pay for. The difference between painting on student grade paper with cheap watercolors and on artist grade paper with quality watercolors is night and day. Watercolors do last quite a while though, at least for me (and I paint a lot!).

Have fun :0)


storyqueen said...

This is very interesting...I'd love to see pix of each stage (visual learner that I am.)

What's the difference between the hot press and the cold press paper. (Truly, I am paper incompetent.)


Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

This is a great post Paige! I love knowing and seeing other artist's process too. I like to look closely at books and try to guess what medium the artist used. Sometimes is kind of tricky to tell.

I agree with what you said about using professional watercolor and watercolor paper. There are some mediums where the difference is not so much between student grade and professional but with watercolors it is a big difference in my opinion.

I use Arches too but only for hot press. Cold press I like Lanaquarelle. It's got the perfect grain size for me, not too bumpy but holds water really well. The down side is that it's hard to find sometimes.

Have you ever tried pans? I always paint with pans. I like that the color is right there ready for me to use. Yes, I am THAT lazy... haha!

Awesome post Paige. I'll redirect people here so they can once again learn from your experience. xo

Jess said...

Thanks Paige for sharing this, I'm fascinated by other artist's methods too! I use pans myself, maybe I'm being lazy (nothing to clean up later, unless I've mixed colours together),but they're my preference. I also get annoyed with tube lids that get stuck!

Ginger*:) said...

Thank you for this! I used to use a lot of the same materials before I went over to the"DARK SIDE" and became a digital artist. I still do use watercolors, colored pencils, and acrylics for enjoyment and often for preview of what I might eventually transfer to the computer.

I have seen your videos and noticed the little hair dryer... what a neat invention that is, and it can also be used for drying hair!

Your paintings have a soul and life of their own. It is easy to see that you love what you do. Thanks for sharing your techniques, materials and thoughts.

It is true that you get what you pay for. The same goes for digital artists who need to print their work. Only the best paper and the finest ink will provide you with quality prints that last.

Goomie said...

Thanks for sharing your process!

plumbelieve said...

I stumbled into your blog and am grateful for this. Your work is super and I can learn a great deal from your experience.

I see why you are successful. I thought I should experiment with a wacom but am having difficulties since I am new to Photoshop as well. I guess it will come with time.

Thanks again.

Patty said...

Hi Paige, love your work! Awhile back, you were using fabrio uno soft press paper--what made you switch to arches? Sometimes I use arches 300# hot press because it seems to work a bit better for larger wash areas than the 140# hot press.

anne sara said...

Really nice to read! I always wonder how illustration are made (what methods, materials, actually the whole process) so your post was very interesting! :)

Paula Deuber said...

Paige, that is a great post. Thank you so much for sharing...I'm a perpetual beginner and just love to learn the techniques that other artists use!

Whimsical Nature said...

Great Blog. Thanks for listing what supplies you use. I was wondering what light box would be best to get.