So, I did this interview with IGN, and some doofuses in the comments were like, “they’re not real paintings, they’re just Photoshop.” So here is some stuff about process.
This Eric Roberts painting began as a series of sketches, which I refined and then transferred onto the painting the surface. I basically trace my own drawing using layout or tracing paper, cover the back of that transfer drawing with colored pencil, tape it tightly to the canvas or board, and then retrace each line, pressing the image onto the surface. When you peel the tracing paper off, you find a light ghostly image of your drawing, which you can then re-fine or rework. In the top image, you can see the faint pink of the colored pencil, which I then went over with a normal (grey) mechanical pencil. You don’t actually have to do that part, but in most cases I like the pencil drawing there to give “structure” to the finished piece. (I will say, looking at it two years on, I’m surprised at how bad that pencil underdrawing looks, especially compared to the finished painting).
The next step is to spray-fix the drawing so it won’t smudge, and then I do a thin, transparent color wash to “unify” the painting. This is alizarin red mixed with a bunch of Liquin.
The surface itself is an 14” x 11” cradled hardbord from Ampersand that was gessoed and sanded a million times. This was actually the first painting on hardbord I finished after deciding to make the switch from canvas; I basically got tired of fighting the canvas texture when trying to do underdrawings or thin coats.
The middle image shows the painting after a few of the basic midtone colors have been laid in. I work from the midtones out, waiting for the base layers to dry before adding the shadows and the brightest highlights on top. Color adjustments (such as the lips) are made by thin, transparent glazes that are just barely rubbed on. The overall painting process is let it dry, adjust, let it dry, adjust as you slowly build up layers of paint.
There are a ton more steps between the middle image and the last, but you usually reach a stage of the process where you’re like, “Fuck fuck gotta get this done” and forget to take scans. Oh, and the first two images where made on a flatbed scanner, and the last is a professionally-exposed photograph, if you were wondering about some of the color discrepancies.
On final thing: some of those commentators were like, “He totally uses photo reference.” Of course I do! I mean, duh.
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