My Inking and Painting Process
I recently finished a page template illustration for Halcyon Down: Book One by Royce Redelsperger. The following is a step-by-step description of my process:
The book required a template for its pages, inside of which a different illustration for each story would be placed. So I started with a preliminary sketch inspired by classical greek and byzantine art. After drawing the borders on smooth bristol vellum paper, I hired a model and took some photo reference shots for the figures.
Once the sketch was approved I finished the drawing, scanned it, and printed it out on 12″ x 19″ archival canson paper with an inkjet printer:
I then cut a 13″ x 20″ slab of 1/2 inch MDF (medium density fiber) board and lightly sanded the surface down. Over the board, I brushed some acrylic matte medium. I quickly pressed the printed drawing onto the board and smoothed it down with a brayer:
After the substrate thoroughly dried, I inked the borders with a 005 micron pigma pen. I used ink washes to finish the figures and the old man’s head in the center with a #4 princeton round watercolor brush. The final piece was scanned at 400 dpi:
When it comes to oil painting, I work with a similar but longer process…
1. Several tiny thumbnail sketches (this is the thumbnail I chose):
2. Thumbnail is scanned, enlarged, and printed out on cheap printer paper to be transferred onto bristol vellum.
3. The back of the thumbnail printout is covered with graphite, flipped, placed on top of the vellum paper, then transferred.
4. The final drawing usually looks like this:
5. Drawing is scanned, enlarged, and printed out on archival paper
6. Drawing is fixed to lightly sanded MDF board with acrylic matte medium, then smoothed down with a brayer
7. Once the drawing is dry and secured to the board, it is sealed with three coats of matte medium (For gilded pieces, this is typically where I leaf the first layer of gold. I also apply shell gold now, before painting with the oils. It is water-based)
8. The paint is applied in a series of thin glazes (oil paint mixed with walnut alkyd medium) so that the drawing shows through
9. The second layer of leaf is applied at this point if the painting requires gilding
10. The final few touches are painted opaquely. When they dry, the final painting is sealed with damar varnish spray: