Illustration Process: Android (Part 1 of 2)

This week’s post explores painting… human/robot things. The process is kicking me in the butt, BUT with hard work and perseverance, I will kick ITS butt in due time.

As you probably figured out already (no getting past such smart readers), I haven’t completed this illustration yet. Hence the Part 2 for laters. Well, how to begin…

Things were going great in the thumbnails.

We got a female android trying to put on some makeup. Maybe she came across it when the humans were gone or something. Does she want to be human? Was she a human in the past and is trying to rediscover that lost part of herself? So many thing to interpret, so little time!

Went with the fourth p.o.v. Onto the value study.

I spent waaaay more time than I usually do on this drawing, but it was looking so cool, I had to keep going.

Onto the color study! This was a bit tricky, but I started pulling from other artists for ideas. Two significant influences became N.C. Wyeth and Vanessa Lemen. I want those simple shapes and a mood conveying something strange yet beautiful, innocent yet also mysterious.

All that prep work, and now to start the painting. Here are some step by step shots for how I currently get a drawing onto a board.

First, I go to FedEx and blow up the value sketch to a size I’ll be painting. In this case, it’s 16 x 20 in.

Taping that sucker to the board, I take my time and re-draw all the essential parts of the image I’ll need as a guide towards keeping the final accurate.

Ta da.

This…was where things began to go downhill. First of all, I didn’t tint the board, which is what I should’ve done in the first place. When I began trying to “glaze” over the pencilled underdrawing, I accidentally lost some of my lines.

Okay, most of the lines. Lazily, I thought, ‘Hey, it’s all right. I’ve lost lines before and was able to reconstruct most of the image later. No biggie, right?’ DEAD WRONG.

Hahaha!…hehe…oh man.

As I began trying to block the image in, I soon realized…I didn’t know what I was painting anymore. This robot lady was turning into something from the Swamp Thing. No, she WAS the Swamp Thing. I turned in for the night, too tired to work on it anymore, too tired to go on.

My rational brain: “Guess I’ll have to start over.”

Not-so-rational feels: “Ugh so much work, whyyy.”

The next day, I pulled out another board, already tinted with a raw umber base, and re-drew everything.

I’m keeping the edges clean. No blending just yet. I NEED THOSE LINES.

And this is where I’m currently at. Never knew doing an android could be so time consuming. She needs to be more shiny and chrome (well maybe not that shiny), but I need to gather more research about reflective materials. All in all, this process is teaching me that painting a robot/human/android thing requires more accuracy and precision than painting a muscly horse or regular human being. It’s a bit more restrictive (found out the hard way), but now I know it’ll require more time and patience.

Hope my process, transparency and mistakes have helped you. Here’s to the future finished piece!