Basement Vaca

Ah, I still don’t have any photos of the completed wall mural… So here’s something else I’m working on instead.

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The author Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Stardust, Sandman!) is doing a calendar project and I loved his short story for June! I’m doing a full illustration that includes the husband to submit to his project, but I loved how the wife turned out so much that I decided to do a separate version with just her. She’s already half colored, but you just get the line work for now =)

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Mural 4

I’m soooooo close! I actually could have finished today, but the sun was rough. It was definitely the toastiest day yet, and since I’m not in any rush to have this completed I went ahead and stopped a bit early. I have half of the jelly fish tentacles left to do, plus some dots and details and what nots. I’ll get a couple good photos when it’s all done, but for now here are two that I snapped before I left.

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Mural 3

So! Day… I’m not sure how many days it’s been now… So! Update 3 on the mural in Sayulita. I’m finally getting all the base parts done and working on some details. I feel like I didn’t get as much done as I normally do today, but it’s just because it was a lot of over painting and small details. Oh and in the last post I mentioned I might experiment with a tool to make the dots go faster, and it actually worked pretty well! Here it is…

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Very high tech… I wrapped a scrap of t-shirt around the end of the brush with my hair tie. When I wanted to make larger dots I just doubled up the fabric. It worked like a charm and I finished up coral, stars and octopus!

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There are going to be a bunch of cute little fish and what nots filling up lots of the empty space… But I’m not really sure what I want to do with the big purple rock thing that the corals are on. I was going to do dots… but that seems so boring. I was also thinking of doing some lines all through it, sort of like a fingerprint pattern, in colors just a little darker or lighter than the purple that’s on there… I don’t know. But there’s plenty more to work on while I think about it.

Oh! And then there’s Tony. He’s been helping me out the entire time. He was asked by the family that runs the Kinder to make sure I have everything I need while I’m working and he’s been an enormous help. Here he is posing below the door way and gate that he painted while I worked on the wall.

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Mural 2

I’ve been so busy commuting back and forth from Sayulita every day, I didn’t have time to post anything! I also managed to forget to take photos for a couple of the days… but that’s alright, I got a few in.

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Day one and two were just priming and touching up the wall, as well as getting a rough sketch laid out with chalk. I also did the blue/black and white of the sky, moon and stars. Once everything was ready to go I started laying in the base colors for the jelly fish and the turtles. I was picking out colors pretty randomly, to be honest. I had already chosen the paints I wanted to use, so I knew they would all work together for the most part, but I still had no real set plan for what went where.

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The next day I gave the turtles and jellies a black outline, filled in the orange and purple swirls on the turtle shells, and started on the jelly tentacles. When I stepped away from it at the end of the day, I realized just how empty my composition was. Keep in mind this is about 100x bigger then anything I’ve worked on before! I’m having to really force myself to use the entire space.

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So today I sketched/filled/outlined a few more turtles, plus some little baby ones. The jellies still need their tentacles, but after finishing up the little guy in the picture below, I realized that I was still going to do some background detailing. If I did the tentacles now it would just turn into endless retouching. So for now they’re floating mushrooms.

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I also knocked out the octopus today, too. He has an outline now but it’s not in the pic since I wanted to take one while I remembered to and before it got too dark.

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So it’s still pretty plain, but it’s getting there now. Tomorrow I’ll knock out the coral, seahorses and little fishes by the octopus, and maybe finish up the sky. There’s going to be a little bit of color around the big stars that are already on it, and then tons of tiny little plain white stars all around them.

My problem now is that I know I want to use dots as details (I’m addicted to dots!! example , example), but I need to find a quick and easy way of doing them on the wall, while keeping them fairly uniform. I’m thinking maybe a piece of cloth tied to the end of a paint brush might work nicely…?

Mural Painting 1

I’ve been looking forward to starting my own mural for the past few weeks and yesterday I finally got a chance to begin! It’s been a slow start so far, but it’s coming along. I’m painting in a town called Sayulita, about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, on the outside of a Kindergarten near the middle of town. The wall is long and low (about 5 feet high) with a little pyramid shape sticking up about 2/3 of the way down the wall. I started with a flat blue base coat yesterday and there was a little miscommunication on the amount needed, so I ended up running out just a couple feet from the end of the wall. Since the wall still needed lots of touchups to cover spots and and what-not I had to stop for the day. Today we got another couple gallons of blue so the last bit of the wall was covered up in no time, then another light cover up layer over the first, plus some little touchups and the wall was primed and ready to go!

I had a few rough drawings and a thumbnail sketch of the over all composition that I was working from.

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The real detailed sketching/pre-painting part always happens in my head, usually as I fall asleep at night. After a few nights of day dream painting and leaping out of bed to sketch “just one more idea” it all starts to comes together, but even now as I lay it out and begin to paint, the idea is flexible and loose. The colors are all over the place too. I have an idea of colors that I really like, and I’ve looked through the available paint left over from the other artists that were in town so I know what’s available and what I might be able to mix, but where exactly each color goes… I won’t know that until I’m in front of the wall with the color in my hand.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. After the blue base paint was all done it was time for some layout. I used chalk, since it’s easy to fix with a quick wipe of a damp cloth. I still keep the lines loose while I focus on hammering out the composition with the actual proportions of the wall. Once everything (or at least mostly everything) is in place, it’s finally time for some color! Unfortunately, I plan on mixing the base blue with a black and a white to make different tones, but the black and white paints were locked up and no one was able to get to them! Aaaaah, so that was it for today! I could have started in on the accent colors, but that would have been skipping a pretty important step and I know I wouldn’t have been very happy with the result. So tomorrow the plan is to get the black and white (one way or another…) and get the base shapes painted in.

Ah, and of course, I forgot my camera today, so no photos of the wall yet. I’ll try to remember to grab it tomorrow so I can get a picture before I start the colors.

Bundle

I found a fun new freeware application that I wanted to test out. The line work on this went by almost twice as fast as it normally would have taken me.

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It’s not very obvious, but I was trying out a really different technique with this image that I’m pretty excited about. If you look closely at her face you’ll notice that there’s a little bit of “painting” going on. I’ve talked a lot lately about improving my digital painting and mixing it in with my typically very flat character work. This is definitely the first successful attempt to do that. That said, the texture I used was a disaster. Lesson learned: pay attention to the close up details of new textures before getting hours into an image… The texture is out of focus and will now drive me absolutely crazy every time I see this image. God damn it. >_>

Oh! And I made a nice little signature brush too, so I can slap a neat little “MegK” onto new pieces now.