Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lately I've received countless emails (one actually...) asking me how I work, so I thought I'd post a quick step by step on my completely backwards process.

I almost always work on birch panels. I like the way they feel (no give) more than canvas and since I often glue down old paper it's a much easier process. I apply a light coat of water to the board, then glue, then paper. I'll wet the paper lightly too before rolling it out flat and setting it aside under a few heavy books to dry. Once it is, I'll lay down a few coats of clear gesso, sanding lightly between each coat. Lately I've been sealing each panel with Matte Medium in place of gesso.

Step 2- The sketch
The title says it all.

Step 2- Color study.
I like to plan my colors carefully before I paint, so often I'll do a very quick color study in Illustrator.

Step 3-Vidal
Meet Vidal. This ain't no mamby pamby hair drier like the ones they make now a days. This sucker will burn your scalp off if you hold it too close. Besides letting me feather my bangs like a Partridge, it speeds things up for me. I can lay down a coat of paint or matte medium, blast it, and move on.

Step 4 and 5-Background
In this case I started with tissue paper. A light coat of matte medium, tissue, and more medium. This time I coat the panel with it. Why? Well, once the matte medium is dry (the longer the better) it creates a very nice barrier for the next layer. If I mess up on the next layer, and I work fast I can often rub it off with a very wet paper towel. Next the pink clouds, the white lines, and you guessed it, another coat of matte medium.

Step 6-Everything else
Once the background is complete I usually layout the rest of the image with a colored pencil (I use Mongels) that will wash off with water. Anytime I'm happy with what's going on I'll hit the whole panel with matte medium, let it dry, and move on. It's the closet thing I've found to an "undo" button.

Honestly I got so into painting I forgot to take more pictures, but there's not much else to it. I did the head with another piece of cut paper and the eyes with a circle template I dry-brushed through. The hat is tissue paper.

The end.

That's it.

Go paint.


Colin Jack said...


test said...

Awesome, Chris! You make me want to get painting too. Very inspiring to see how you work.

Incidentally, my mother had that same blow dryer! You ain't kiddin'! That sure does bring back memories of the burn ward.


Anonymous said...

Hey, that doesn't look like a "quick" color study.

dugbuddy said...

very nice. And thanks for the look see into the process. Nice mention with the mat medium. I have tried applying it to my everyday life situations, but the effect just isn't the same.

Ana St. said...

so that's how you do it :))

Kyri Kyprianou said...

Good post! Could I copy and paste it oto the Paper Project blog? It's a nice insight.

I like your skulls by the way, especially your profile pic- the shadow under the eyes adds a lot of depth and character.

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Funny videos said...

very nice. And thanks for the look see into the process.

Creepy said...

Love the skeleton...creepy and cool, plus a damn fine musician. I'd like to have that hanging on my wall. I just interviewed guy that makes sculptures out of petrified potatoes. See it here, if you'd like.

greenbeanbaby said...

oh wow!!!! you have some awesome art!!! i always love seeing the process and appreciate you sharing... i also love seeing how others work with paper and mixed media [myself, only paper]... great blog!!