Over the years I created quite a portfolio of illustrations. Not just for my series of Contemplations', but also 'loose' illustrations. Not part of a series, as can be seen in my illustrations gallery. Would you like to, as I call it, build an illustration yourself? Then read on, and see how I create all my illustrations.
Building an illustration, where to start?
I can give you a plain and clear answer to that: with an idea. Usually I first doodle my layout, to see what will make the best composition. What is the best position of the arms and hands? From what angle does this girl look? Only when I'm happy with my composition, I start building my illustration.
Earlier I didn't work like this. I just started on the real thing immediately. Resulting in an illustration or a painting I wasn't happy with. So here's my tip to you: start with creating some composition sketches.
The first layer of an illustration
I myself mainly work with toned Strathmore paper. It has a warmer feel than white paper, and I like how the colors of my Prismacolor pencils look on this type of paper. I start my sketch in light blue. It's very subtle on the toned paper, making it more easy to correct lines I'm not content with.
When I'm satisfied with my linework, I start adding highlights and shadows. I use white and ombre. I also use the ombre for my linework, which I first set up in blue.
Building an illustration using layers
Prismacolor pencils are a perfect medium for creating layers. The colors blend easily. After I added the shadows and highlights, I continue with the skintone. I use three tones of peach, which form a nice skintone on this paper, especially when blended with a nice red and a blue tone.
After the skin, I focus on the eyes, always the hero of my drawings and paintings. Each part of my drawing contains layers. It's a slow process, but it has a nice result.
For the background I usually use a color that is contrasting the main color in my drawing. This adds to achieving a stronger image.
When I'm done with my colored pencils, it's time to emphasize it all with black markers.
Popsurrealism with a hint of Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is one of my favorite art forms. I love the organic lines you encounter in Art Nouveau. And somehow it found its way into my artwork.
By using markers for my linework, the illustration really becomes a strong picture. I'm not afraid of black, but I do like to mix thin and thick lines.
I accentuate the hair by adding even more lines and shadows with the black markers.
The finishing touch
When I'm satisfied with my combo of color pencils and markers, I start with the finishing touch. And that is adding highlights using titanium white acrylic paint. This contrasts the black really nice, and adds to a great final result. (if I may say so myself)
Here's a list on how to build an illustration, if you want to test out the way I work:
- Make a first quick sketch. Check the best positions of the arms, hands and head
- Start your illustration by drawing using a light color, which can easily be corrected
- Add shadows and highlights
- Add colors, layer by layer
- Accentuate your linework by using black marker
- For the finishing touch add titanium white acrylic paint
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