Use val­ues to build at­mos­phere

Karla Or­tiz re­veals her own process, thoughts and gen­eral ap­proach to paint­ing, as she creates a dra­matic mono­chrome mas­ter­piece

ImagineFX - - Workshops -

Karla Or­tiz creates a dra­matic, mono­chrome mas­ter­piece for our cover.

Hello dear reader. In this work­shop I’ll be talk­ing about my paint­ing meth­ods, but there are many dif­fer­ent ways to cre­ate a paint­ing. The only con­stant fac­tors are the foun­da­tions that all artists must grasp: anatomy, line, com­po­si­tion, val­ues, colour and so on. Once you mas­ter th­ese key ar­eas, it’s up to you to go out and ex­plore what meth­ods make you happy and ful­filled as an artist.

My ap­proach to a paint­ing pro­ject changes of­ten. In this ar­ti­cle I’ll go over the method that I use to cre­ate the ma­jor­ity of my art. I start with the char­ac­ter’s back­ground - here, she’s a skilled as­sas­sin who has just fin­ished a job. Then a doodle, a sketch, block in the ma­jor ar­eas and ren­der. But on an­other day I might kick things off with an elab­o­rate draw­ing, or I might skip the draw­ing phase al­to­gether, and in­stead make a paint­ing out of blocked shapes.

Re­gard­less of the method used, one of the most im­por­tant aspects of paint­ing – aside from hav­ing a good un­der­stand­ing of the foun­da­tions – is to paint with in­tent. What does paint­ing with in­tent mean? It means ev­ery sin­gle brush stroke is prop­erly thought out. It means ev­ery shape you cre­ate at­tempts to be as ac­cu­rate as it can be, and that ev­ery colour or ev­ery light placed is in bal­ance with the whole paint­ing.

Okay, now you know how I work – let’s get started on vi­su­al­is­ing this as­sas­sin.

1 Ex­plore your ideas with quick doo­dles

Once I’ve got the com­mis­sion to paint a highly skilled as­sas­sin, ‘ from a dis­tant time, with a Per­sian feel’, I be­gin doo­dling, and ex­plore com­po­si­tions. This step is for your eyes only, so don’t stand on cer­e­mony. Keep your doo­dles loose and quick, be­cause this is one sure-fire way of dis­cour­ag­ing you from set­tling on the first idea you have. Doodle away and de­velop your ideas.

2 Work up a doodle into a sketch

Once the doo­dles are done, I usu­ally pick out one or two ideas that re­ally speak to me. I also keep some ref­er­ences close to hand for this stage – in­clud­ing those that I took of a life model wear­ing an ap­prox­i­ma­tion of the out­fit I had in mind for my fig­ure – so that I can use them for in­for­ma­tion and in­spi­ra­tion. I al­ways try to en­sure that th­ese sketches are a clear rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what I think the fi­nal paint­ing will look like.

I spend a lot of time on this stage, be­cause I need to es­tab­lish the main el­e­ments of my paint­ing: light, com­po­si­tion, pro­por­tion and per­spec­tive. It’s im­por­tant to lock down all th­ese fac­tors early on, be­cause then you’ll be start­ing the paint­ing with a strong tech­ni­cal foun­da­tion, and thus avoid the twin pit­falls of con­fu­sion and aim­less­ness later on.

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