Us­ing an un­der­draw­ing

Wylie Beck­ert builds from pen­cil.

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

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.

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