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Prismacolor: Warm,

Grey 90 per cent,

Cool Grey 10 per cent,

French Grey 10 per

cent, White, Pea­cock

Blue, Deco Aqua, Light

Aqua, Mediter­ranean

Blue, Dark Um­ber,

Pump­kin Orange, Deco

Yel­low, Salmon Pink,

Poppy Red, Rasp­berry


NAM Gesso Primer

Derivan Matisse

Acrylics: Payne’s Grey,

Ver­mil­lion, Skin Tone

Mid, Cobalt Teal, Cobalt

Turquoise, Yel­low Deep,

Ti­ta­nium White

Liq­ui­tex Heavy Body

Acrylics: Un­bleached

Ti­ta­nium, Bril­liant

Orange, Cadmium

Orange Hue


Cres­cent 310 Cold


Trac­ing pa­per


Air­brush: Paasche

60mm heavy medium

flat brush

NAM Ruby Red

round Syn­thetic #4

NAM 7010 syn­thetic

9mm flat brush

NAM 7000 syn­thetic

1 De­sign­ing in dig­i­tal

Af­ter com­pil­ing in­ter­net ref­er­ence ma­te­ri­als I de­sign the mon­tage in black and white. The main fo­cal point will be the char­ac­ter’s face, with the lines of Rey’s cos­tume pulling the eye down­ward, to­ward the vi­gnette with the speeder ve­hi­cle and out to the base of the de­sign.

2 De­ter­min­ing a colour pal­ette

I use Corel Painter to tint the mono­chrome de­sign and de­vise a blue/orange com­ple­men­tary pal­ette, tak­ing cues from the prom­i­nent orange of BB-8’s mark­ings and the blue sky of Jakku, the new desert planet in the film.

3 Ren­der­ing a sur­face tex­ture

I ap­ply undi­luted Gesso primer with a wide brush to Cres­cent illustration board. The gesso tex­ture will be­come more prom­i­nent as paint and pen­cils are pro­gres­sively laid down on to the board.

4 De­velop the un­der­draw­ing

I loosely draft the de­sign on to the sur­face us­ing an opaque pro­jec­tor. I then ren­der the dark­est val­ues in Warm Grey Prismacolor, striv­ing for fidelity to the ref­er­ence ma­te­rial. Th­ese shadow de­tails will an­chor the pic­ture and keep im­por­tant struc­tures from drift­ing too much.

5 Ap­ply­ing mid-range val­ues with acrylic wash

Now I ap­ply di­luted Payne’s Grey to fill out the mid-val­ues. Then, to sug­gest the grit and dust of a desert en­vi­ron­ment, I use a tooth­brush to cre­ate a spat­ter­ing of Payne’s Grey and White ink.

6 Mak­ing an air­brush mask

I spray trac­ing pa­per with ad­he­sive and leave it to dry un­til it’s tacky to the touch. Then I af­fix it to the art­work and use a hobby knife to cut a mask for the sky.

7 Air­brush­ing a sky gra­di­ent

For air­brush work I use tube acrylics that are di­luted with wa­ter. In this case I choose Cobalt Teal for the blue sky and then, for the sandy at­mos­phere, a con­coc­tion of Un­bleached Ti­ta­nium, Ti­ta­nium White and a spot of Ver­mil­lion.

8 Air­brush­ing Rey’s skin

Rey’s base skin tone is a com­bi­na­tion of Ver­mil­lion and Skin Tone Mid. I favour washes when ap­ply­ing colour over the ini­tial draw­ing, but here I use the air­brush to avoid dark pen­cils bleed­ing into the wash and mud­dy­ing the colour.

9 Adding the tints

The blue/day­light tem­per­a­ture in­forms the choice of Cool Grey for the lighter tones of Rey’s skin. I bol­ster the opac­ity with acrylic, mixed from Teal, Ver­mil­lion and White. If I spot too much con­trast creep­ing in, I flat­ten it back with an­other wash. Then I ap­ply bright white gesso high­lights.

10 Mov­ing around the paint­ing

I mi­grate to other ar­eas, du­pli­cat­ing the process: colour is ap­plied in washes, de­tails then tight­ened with pen­cil, con­trast is mod­u­lated with washes and tints are grad­u­ally worked up in thicker acrylics and fin­ished in gesso where they are bright­est.

11 Re­vis­ing my art

I re­turn to pre­vi­ously worked sec­tions with fresh eyes, tak­ing par­tic­u­lar care in fi­ness­ing Rey’s like­ness. Her face will be the fo­cal point for the de­sign and so I spend more time here than any­where else in the paint­ing.

12 Ren­der­ing the back­ground

I’m un­happy with the sky colour so I re­spray it us­ing a light­ened teal and reap­ply the haze gra­di­ent with the tooth­brush. Next I sketch shadow de­tail in with a Pea­cock Blue prisma. I avoid dark shad­ows be­cause the sun would pre­vent such val­ues from show­ing through here.

13 Paint­ing the harsh Jakku sun

The air­brush is the ideal tool to sim­u­late the outer glow of the sun. Gesso de­scribes the sun’s hot cen­tre and is di­luted where nec­es­sary to cre­ate a soft tran­si­tion from yel­low to white. I air­brush ti­ta­nium white and yel­low Prismacolor to com­plete the ef­fect.

14 Fi­nal pol­ish

With the piece nearly com­plete I tidy things up and make cor­rec­tions. I tighten the shad­ows with Dark Um­ber pen­cil, and white high­lights are ges­soed for op­ti­mal bright­ness to make eyes shine and hard sur­faces gleam. Then I add high­lights on Rey’s hair and staff, while more spat­ter­ing with the tooth­brush helps to sim­u­late dust.

15 Seal­ing the sur­face

I fin­ish key­lines and bor­ders in Prismacolor, sign the paint­ing and spray with sev­eral coats of work­able matte fix­a­tive in case any more cor­rec­tions are needed.

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