Step by Step: Don’t be fearful of making mistakes
1 Sketch the idea
I start by laying down a number of gesture sketches, trying to come up with an interesting and unusual shape, working up to a tight sketch. I often use photo reference but in this case, as with most of my creatures, I enjoy painting completely from imagination.
2 Develop the lights and dark
Once I’m happy with it, I transfer the finished drawing to the board and then apply acrylic for the underpainting, which establishes the lights and darks in the image. This also helps to create an interesting background, as well as help speed up the drying process later on.
3 Apply oils to unify the scene
This shot shows the first pass with oil. I finish with oils to unify the colours, mould the forms and work out the details. My technique varies with every painting, because I’m always experimenting, often failing – but it’s these screwups that often lead to the most interesting results.