Taking the sketch and going big
Once I settle on a character that I want to push further I take the thumbnail and place it in the Reference window. This is a great tool, which can be used either for references or picking colours. The purpose of this step is to paint the portrait as close as possible to the original idea and composition, although changes are possible further down the road, of course. Working fast and rough at this point enables me to maintain the freshness and dynamism of the painting. I’m using a big brush and a grainy paper texture for blocking the first shapes of what is going to be a portrait of a pirate with a very fine beard.