Posts Tagged ‘oil painting’


Here’s the much awaited walkthrough of my Nautilus painting I did for the boyfriend. I was hoping to have a better documentation of the final product, but it’s gonna be a while until I get my hands on a decent camera. Note: my way is NOT the only way. Read up as much as you can and pick out what works for you best.



Studying how to draw the subject from its shape, gesture, and lighting. Also, brainstorming potential narratives  for the character. I would typically have 2-3 pages of ideas, but in this case, I knew exactly what I wanted the nautilus to do since I was revisiting an old concept.


Thumbnails studies of the composition. Some artists create elaborate sketches at this stage, but I like to keep it simple. Creating a detailed drawing and trying to copy it with paint never worked for me. The repetitiveness not only makes the final product look so “empty” and “soulless”, but also makes to process very boring for me . Leaving space for invention keeps me interested in the project.



This stage is almost like fleshing out the thumbnail sketch with paint onto the canvas paper. For the underpainting, I’ve decided to do monochromatic “cool” blue. Monochromatic to get an idea of light and shade; “cool” blue to contrast the “warm” oranges I was planning to use on the Nautilus.



Again, I keep the study small, quick, and simple, so I can get enough info without overwhelming myself. I usually do these in acrylics since they’re fast-drying. On a small palette, I dab primary colors with a side of black and white. When I say “primary”, it doesn’t necessarily have to be basic red, blue, and yellow. Here, I used alizirin crimson, ultramarine, and lemon yellow. Then, I spend time mixing colors until I come up with combos I like. The colored dots on the left are colors I’ve decided to use; the study on the right shows how I applied those colors.


After the color study sketches, I recreate the palette as much as I can with oils. I started off with these colors above, but mixed and made more and more along the way. Some colors I ended up not using at all! It’s always good to leave some room for play in-between formulas. Otherwise, it’d be like paint-by-numbers. When I finish a painting, my palette ends up looking like this mess (this one was for another painting).



There’s not much to say but apply colors and mix more if necessary. However, don’t just fill in the underpainting with paint. With something as fluid as oils, use its materiality to your advantage (although it’s easier to show it on a large-scale painting). For example, playing with the brushstrokes like I did on the Nautilus’s shell and the bubbles.



The key is to have fun and don’t be afraid to make mistakes—even if it means starting it all over. Personally, I’d much rather redo an entire project than keep going with a piece I’ve lost interest in.

Here’s what I’ve made with the left over paints. Happy painting!



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It’s been a month since my last update, so here’s a low-res image of the Nautilus painting to prove to you all that this painting exists. I promise there will be a better photo and a process post for this painting! Also, my sketchbook blog will be filled with sketches again soon. Follow me on Twitter to see what I’ve been up to.

Have faith in me!


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If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw this WIP shot of my birthday/christmas project for the boyfriend. Why am I making a big deal about this silly little painting? It’s the first painting I actually feel in control in! During my art school years, painting has been a love-hate relationship. Since I’ve been drawing more than I painted, it was hard to think about lights and darks in terms of color as opposed to tones. A conversation between one of my professors and me: 

“When I see this object, I see some warm yellow ocres in the lights, but over in the shadows I can see some cool yellows combined with cobalt and alizarin red… What does this object look like to you?”

“Um… orange?”

“… Really? That’s weird.

I was as good as a colorblind circus monkey. Almost all my paintings ended up muddy looking from mixing and blending on the canvas instead of actually studying and making the right colors on my palette. In the end, I relearned a lot about color and optical blending by going digital. Did you know you could still muddy digital paintings? That’s when I realized choosing the right color and its placement was key NOT physical blending (although it occasionally helps).

Anyways, before I ramble off, I’ll have walkthrough post coming up where I’ll reflect on what I’ve  relearned with this silly little painting.


P.S. For those of you more interested in my “Hair Monster” series, don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned her. Though I have to admit, she’s a little difficult to blog about since I want people to see her as more than an image and other “fine art” lah-tee-daas.


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