Below are process photos showing the creation of the acrylic painting I made for “Krark’s Other Thumb” from Magic: the Gathering’s Unstable set. This painting was so simple it was created in one working day (about 8- 10 hours).
After thinking of the idea for my painting, I take a few reference photos of my own thumb.
Using the reference photos of my thumb, I create a sketch. But I also “goblinize” the thumb by adding a longer nail, warts and other blemishes on the skin, plus the keychain attached to the severed end of the thumb. The client wanted this to be like a “lucky rabbit’s foot keychain”, but a goblin thumb instead.
I then create a digital color comp just to give myself a rough idea of where the color will be headed.
Transferring my image to the painting surface.
Once the image is transferred, I reach for my Art Masking Fluid.
I use a brush to apply the Art Masking Fluid to those areas I don’t want paint to get on yet.
Once the Art Masking Fluid is applied it needs to dry, which only takes about 10 minutes.
I start painting the background by laying in a base of Cadmium Yellow. I want this painting to be vibrant with “cartoony” colors.
I then use Cadmium Orange to create the negative shapes, defining the edges of the explosion.
A few dabs of Cadmium Orange here and there adds variation and interest.
I use Cadmium Red to darken the background and define the edges of the explosion.
In any painting, I am slowing building up the color. As I darken the background with Cadmium Red, I am also making sure to leave some areas of Cadmium Orange showing through. It helps to add depth to the painting.
I use Titanium White to create more variation and also build up the painting surface. I prefer to paint on a surface that is made up of many layers of paint rather than create one layer of paint on the painting surface.
Once the Titanium White is dry, I brush a thin layer of Cadmium Yellow over the entire painting.
The thin layer (glaze) of Cadmium Yellow homogenizes all the color. It is very intense when first brushed on, but will settle down a bit as it dries.
I use dark red paint to make the background even darker, which starts to make the explosion really “pop” out of the illustration.
As I did earlier, I make sure that the dark red I put down does not completely cover the Cadmium Red I put down earlier. I want to see lots of variation in color with the explosion.
Using a fine brush, I start to pick out lots of details in the explosion using Titanium White mixed with a tiny bit of Cadmium Yellow.
All that detail work starts to give the explosion more dimension.
I brush another thin layer of Cadmium Yellow over the entire painting.
It’s time to remove the Art Masking Fluid. I start this by using a rubber cement pickup.
Once enough of the Art Masking Fluid is removed, I can remove the rest of it using my fingers.
I use an old toothbrush to create tiny splatters and dots within the explosion. Oops, I should have done this step BEFORE I removed the Art Masking Fluid over the thumb.
Those tiny yellow splatter dots on the thumb are no big deal. While they are wet, they are easily removed with a paper towel.
Now I begin to paint in all the local color for the thumb.
Adding Titanium White to my colors allows me to get more opaque with my paints and give the thumb more substance and surface quality.
Slowly but surely I build up my paints, getting more and more detailed as I go along.
More detail work.
More detail work.
Krark’s Other Thumb final painting