Using an underdrawing
Wylie Beckert builds from pencil.
The Queen of Hearts is one of 12 face cards for my illustrated playing card deck, Wicked Kingdom. Before I started illustrating the card deck, I was almost exclusively a digital artist, but I loved the look of traditional media work. I subsequently decided that tackling the card deck illustrations in traditional media would be a fun challenge, and a great opportunity to experiment and – hopefully – custom-build a painting process that would fit my skill set.
I’ve always considered myself a draughtsman rather than a painter. That’s because my ideas always seem to flow more naturally in pencil on paper than in oils, and I find that I just can’t “think” on paper when working with brushes instead of drawing tools. Through trial and error, I stumbled upon a combination of traditional media that simulated the layered approach that I’d become accustomed to in my digital work, while also enabling the precision, energy and detail of my initial pencil sketch to come through in the finished piece of art.
So fellow draughtsmen, please take heart! A strong drawing will help carry a piece to final, even if your painting skills are still a bit shaky.
Transparent glazes I use transparent layers of oil paint to build the final colour scheme. A dark wash of colour has the advantage of toning down the contrast of whatever lies beneath it, making it easy to tweak the value structure.
charcoal textures I like to use white charcoal pencil to build up my light tones. The stands out exceptionally well from the toned paper, and is a great way to create the illusion of lighting and depth in an image.