Sunday, October 3, 2010

Part 1 : Preliminary Drawing

Below I will be detailing the beginning stages of the Ghost Rider Painting (Clayton Crain's Original Artpiece) which I have attempted to imitate in Oils.
The preliminary drawing was done on tracing paper first so that any mistakes or reworking could be done without worrying about effecting the actual final surface to be painted on (canvas board). 


1. Transparent Tracing or Drafting Paper ( you can get drafting paper with a grid too)
Note! The first type of tracing paper I used was dimensionally unstable, shrinking and expanding depending on the temperature... Drafting paper also used by architects or stable tracing paper is probably best if you want a precise drawing.

2. Sharp pencil ( H or 2H for more precise lines while still being dark enough to be seen clearly).

3. Ruler.

4. Very thin sheet of white paper.

5. Eraser (putty or vinyl eraser that can be cut to a point for tight spots). 

6. Canvas Board (I used an old hardboard poster frame (all surface poster remnants were scoured clean off first) which was then prepared like these canvas boards). The gessoed surface was then sanded smooth with fine sand paper. In hindsight though, I'll probably try polishing via wet sanding in the future for an even smoother surface to paint on, when using this particular glaze technique.

7. Carbon Paper (Fig.1) (Very useful for when you wish to have a permanent imprint)

Fig.1 Example of a carbon paper.

Note! My experience with carbon ink is that it won't budge even after numerous vigorous washings. However if one was to do an underpainting in oil using solvents such as turpentine, it would probably desolve with contact and mix in with the oil paint as with charcoal....... The proceeding layer (underpainting) in this particular painting was done with Acrylic though (that seals the surface as well) so the detailed drawing stayed clear throughout the preliminary painting stage.


Enlarging with a Grid

The grid system is a popular method of enlarging a picture by drawing a grid over the existing picture then reproducing all detail in each square/rectangle to a corresponding square/rectangle in larger scale on another surface e.g. canvas, paper..

This is not a method I usually use, preferring instead a more immediate method of relying on my own observational skills. However the picture was extremely intricate and it was important that I was really precise in all detail, so as to be as accurate as possible. This is how I proceeded...

Fig.2 The grid has been drawn for both ( at the beginning, two sheets of unstable tracing paper were used, stuck together... not recommended)

1. As I had decided to use a pre prepared sized canvas, I just made a corresponding sized window card, scaled down, to be placed over the picture, choosing the most dynamic composition within that frame. 

2. The frame was then divided horizontally and vertically in to a grid of 16 equal parts. This grid was then drawn on to a clear plastic sheet that was strongly secured on top of the picture (strong enough to ensure it did not budge even a milibit during the whole drawing process).  

3. A corresponding scaled up version of this grid was then drawn on to the tracing paper (the same size as the intended canvas board).  

4. The drawing then proceeded, checking the relationships of the subject matter to the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines of the grid.  

5. When the detail is too rich in any one square, one can subdivide that particular square then again in to even smaller sections. However I didn't employ this technique at the time, favoring instead, measuring manually with a ruler to check certain details.

Fig.3 Completed enlargement on tracing paper, ready to trace on to the canvas board

Transferring Image on to the Canvas board

1. Position the tracing paper on the canvas, making sure the drawing is placed in a compositionally pleasing position within the frame.

2. Tape the tracing paper securely to the top of the frame, so that one can lift it now and then, to check on the imprint, without disturbing it's position.

3. Under the tracing paper, I placed the carbon (Fig.1) and a very thin white sheet of paper on top of that (the paper can't be too thick or your final imprint on the canvas may be lighter than you wish). White paper was used, so that I could see the drawing on the tracing paper clearly, as I traced it out.

I used just 1 A4 sized carbon paper which I moved around as I completed each part. You could stick several sheets together so you don't have to do this but I didn't find it to be much of a problem, especially since the tracing paper was secured rather well, and lifting it often was pretty safe.

Note* If you'd rather not use carbon paper or if you don't have any you can:
  1. Cover one side of a sheet of thin white paper with Charcoal (you can just take a stick and scrub that over the sheet or you can shave off a fine powder of charcoal, which is then rubbed over the paper with a soft cloth ( dark enough to get a clear imprint when used to trace with)
  2. If your going to be doing a full oil painting you can also rub an earth toned (lean) oil paint thinly on one side of a sheet of white paper too. (this is a great method to get fine detailed lines for the initial drawing with an all oil paint base.

Now with the tracing completed you can begin with...

or fast forward to...

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