Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pia and the Dragon

Just finished this new painting yesterday. I spent a lot of prep time on this one, first working on the characters, then several reiterations of the composition, and finally a value study.  It was a lot of work, but I think it was worth it!

This is based on my own ideas and characters.

Lately, blog-watching has really expanded my artistic horizons. Justin Gerard's blog recently switched on a light-bulb in my head about composition.  I did not employ the triangle technique, but I did consider the sizing, spacing and flow more carefully than I have in the past.  I was also inspired to try a value study because of process photos that were on illustrophile (RIP... apparently the site is gone forever).  I used Copic markers on a late draft, working from light to dark.  Then I tacked it up on my wall while painting, and voilĂ ! It was an invaluable resource.

Here's my original sketch, so you can see how the composition changed.  I made really good use of my light box through this process... I love that thing!

This seems to be the process I am settling on:

1. Read or dream up a little story and choose a scene
2. Study (e.g., practice drawing dragons, sketch kids playing at the park)
3. Draw the first draft (using my eraser like mad)
4. Do thumbnails to help improve the composition
5. Draw a second draft (hello light board!)
6. Final, cleaned up draft on tracing paper
7. Value study
8. Color swatches on a piece of scratch watercolor paper
9. Paint!

I think I am going to do some lighter, faster illustrations after this to loosen up.  Illustration Friday, here I come...

And just for fun...


  1. Love this, Sarah! Thank you for us showing your process. The figures against the wall of dark rock really stand out.

  2. Ahhh This is so amazing D: <3 LIKE HOLY CRAP. The composition change is so awesome, I really love how it came out *__* Stop making me want to paint so badly hahaha~ I don't have time to do such a thing.

  3. This is so great! Love hearing about your process and the colors of this piece are just fabulous!

  4. Wow, Sarah! This is fabulous!!! I really mean it. I love that you've shown your original composition, and then the final comp. The value study is very interesting and I think your final piece really turned out beautifully. Your characters have warmth and oh, your dragon has an approachable quality to him that I am not worried about Pia. Well done!! Thanks for the great process post!!

  5. Thanks for all your wonderful comments! <3 Happiness :)