Sunday, March 9, 2014

Behind the Scenes

I thought it would be fun to show a little bit about my process when I work on an art piece for those who might think it's interesting. I don't know about you, but I love behind the scenes and learning how things happen. I love watching special features on a movie, and my favorite part when I went to see a David Letterman show in NYC was not the actual show, but watching what went on behind the camera and between the commercials. 

I also wanted to show the process because I think a lot of people think artists just come up with everything in their heads and they can draw anything just like that, when usually it's the opposite. Yes, there are times I can draw something right out of my head but usually I have reference. I wished I had known this information at a younger age as an artist, I always wanted to draw stylized or "Disney-like" or "cartoon" but I never could make up stuff in my head so I thought I was just a realistic artist because I only could draw what I saw, little did I know I was like any other artist. 

Anyway, here is my process:

I was asked to illustrate a Peter Pan poster for a children's theater in Arizona and that it was to be a  10 foot painting and that they wanted a lot of the characters in the poster and that they didn't want the Disney version.

 First thing I do, I usually start sketching and flushing out ideas or look for reference, in this particular case I decided to look at reference, So I started pinning like crazy:

Then I started sketching, I did probably 10 thirty second to minute sketches, and asked Dustin his top three. After we discussed we picked the top three, after that, I cleaned them up a bit so they are little more readable then I send the sketches to my client and have them pick what they like, so here were the three samples I sent them:

 So a little trick us artist's do, if there is one sketch we like better than the others we usually work on that one just a little more because that usually persuades the client to pick that one because it looks just a little bit better!

After they pick a sketch I look at more reference and start cleaning up the drawing. A lot of the time artists ask people if they would model for them, but usually I just do it myself. Not the most flattering picture but it was late and I hurried and put my hair up so I could see my ears and neck:

So I take pictures for posing then I use pictures for reference to help create my characters:
For hook, I used a lot of Dustin Hoffman, and some famous baseball player that had the perfect mustache. 

Then I found this painting and fell in love with it, and it became my inspiration for Wendy:
Then I used Thomas and Oliver for John and Michael ( I like to tie my kids in my paintings sometimes). Then Shmee, I don't know how to spell his name, I mostly made him up with some inspiration. The crocodile is drawn by Dustin and I actually, so that one was a combined effort.
After I flush out the drawing I send it to my clients to get an ok before I start painting:

At this stage there is usually changes but this time they said it was perfect and to carry on. 

I'm not the best painter, I feel like drawing is what I'm pretty good at and that painting has always been my weakness, so a lot of the time I get reference for my painting as well. I try to find an awesome painting that inspires me. So The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe painting I used for color reference along with the 2nd painting, that also inspired my flowers. Then I used a Norman Rockwell painting because he is awesome at painting faces, so I was looking at these 3 paintings the whole time I was painting along with my other references:
Then after many hours of painting and watching movies, all that work turns into this:

Then I send it to my clients. I love when I do more than my client's expectations, I usually try to do more than what they ask because I want them to be happy and have them love my work so much they will use me again.  

This client has been one of my favorite clients I have worked with, I feel like we have a good relationship, they always have fun projects for me and they usually let me do whatever I want to do. This is my 4th painting I have done for them and I hope to do more!


West Family said...

Fascinating thanks for sharing

Neal and Becca Johnson said...

That was fun to read about. You are so talented!

Clarissa said...

Wow!! Jess you are SO talented! I have always loved your art. I just looked through your illustration blog again and LOVE your style. I love your princess and the pea!! This was cool to see the process. I have always wondered how it works.. painting with a computer??? Cool!!

Tiffany said...

Love it!!