Posts Tagged ‘oils’


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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The boyfriend has a birthday coming up, so I decided I’d make him some artwork. He asked for three cephalopods and a George Carlin portrait. Once I’m done, I’ll definitely upload little studies and thumbnails on the sketchbook blog as well as the finished pieces. I’ve officially taken over parts of his place (the wall in the living room and his desk in his bedroom) as my studio, haha!

It’s nice to have a desk facing the window. There’s lots of good natural lighting pouring in during the day. As of now, it’s only an underpainting, acrylic on canvas paper. I love starting paintings with blues. My fave is brilliant blue, but I used ultramarine for this one this I want to paint him in warm sandy colors later.

Close-up, ignore the bad cast shadow and enjoy the bubbles! I had a lot of fun painting them bubbles. I’m trying to take it slow with these paintings because whenever I try to rush in with colors, the surface ends up muddy.

I might haul my heavy-ass glass palette from my apartment to finish the painting in oils since I take forever to mix colors. Acrylics tend to dry on me while I struggle to decide what colors to use. Plus, oil pigments has a nice glow to them. It feels good to paint traditionally again after going digital for a while.


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