Sketches by David Palumbo

“The sketch is arguably the most critical stage of an illustration.  Conjuring thumbnails, narrowing the concept, clarifying the message, all of it boils down to the sketch: the blueprint for what will eventually be the final piece.  For me, lazy sketching tends to result in client misunderstandings, technical frustrations, slower execution, and (worst of all) lukewarm finals.  I respect the sketch phase.  Up until a year ago, it was also the one step I absolutely dreaded.
Before last fall, I did all of my sketching in Photoshop.  Thumbnails were pencil and paper and sometimes those would be scanned in as the base layer, but the real work was all digital. My problem is that I just don’t really enjoy working digitally.  Something about it has never felt very satisfying to me. “
“I can’t say for sure where the interest in sketching in paint started, but I believe the thing that finally tipped me to try it out was a box of preliminaries by Robert Maguire that were being sold for obscenely low prices at San Diego Comic Con.  I have always loved seeing these sorts of miniature illustrations whenever I come across them and, for whatever reason, these in particular inspired me.  It occurred to me that sketching might be more fun if I could do it this way.  At this point I’ve done hundreds of 5×7 inch figure studies so I knew that I was comfortable at that scale.  I decided to try doing something similar on the next job where I’d have some creative flexibility and a comfortable deadline.
I decided my surface should be the same as my typical go-to (Masonite primed rough with acylic gesso).  I wanted to work monochrome, but decided a colored ground would help give the pieces a bit more tonal variety and allow me a “spot color” if I needed it, so I coated each panel with cadmium red acrylic.  This method was something I was already testing on my “re-cover” series and the success of those encouraged me.  The tricky part was altering my workflow.”
“There were a few obvious drawbacks here.  The first and most obvious was I would have to shoot way more reference than before.  Instead of shooting for the chosen idea, I was working up multiple ideas.  This also ran the risk (which has bit me a few times so far) of having the client want completely new sketches in a new direction which meant bringing the model back in for a second shoot (and paying for that second shoot).  There was also a slight concern about letting the reference drive the sketch as oppose to the other way around.

The upshot of all this was that once I had approval, I could dive straight into the painting with no delay and it would be as close as possible to the approved sketch because my reference was already assembled.  It felt like a fair exchange, all things considered.”

    • Dave
    • August 12th, 2015

    Reblogged this on Jordanfel's Blog.


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