I've decided to try and cross post here from my Livejournal blog. More and more people use blogger and it's a bit silly to miss out. So here's the latest post crossposted from my LJ account:
As much as 2010 wasn't really the best year ever, this year has been a blessing. I found the red thread for my art book and now that the year is ending it is almost finished, this is a huge satisfaction of course.
This particular painting took me a while to finish as I kept waiting for the "right moment". Eventually I launched into it and I am rather happy with the result.
Sorry I don't know if you can do "cuts" here and post behind a link, so this is rather long and picture intense.
Laying out the elements, based on various sketches. These skull sketches are really old, you never know when such things can be useful.
Inking and scribbling until it looks ok.
For a drawing like this I need to try out various colour schemes, make sure I got it right and the values are balanced. This is a really quick test, maybe fifteen minutes in Photoshop, tweaking things until they look good. And if things go horribly wrong with the original drawing you can also come back to this and refine it. Would have been a shame though.
The hairiest part are the first layers, I always worry that they will be too dark to work on or that something will go wrong. Which was the case here. I used my now normal technique of sealing the paper with transparent gesso, and it went ok. But then the liquid ink and watercolours I used as a first layer were leaking all around (you can see it by the Dragon's index). I have no idea why it happened and why it hadn't done this before.
But I managed, and actually discovered a cool way of having transparent layers that will react like acrylics without the covering effect, I used the gesso as a binder. Of course the watercolours become brighter then but not too bright which is what I wanted. Now to wait a few years to see if this will also last. I tried out acrylic binder before but wasn't so convinced, not to mention I didn't want to buy some just for this.