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Vessel (Color)

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

Happy Wednesday! I wrapped up the color art on Vessel and want to dive into some of the process behind that here. Check out Part 1 for a little more context around the imagery plus insight into the pencil and inking processes.

As I mentioned in the first post, this drawing has some personal symbolism to it and reflects a feeling of being drained by some recent life circumstances I'd been in. I was able to bring that symbolism full circle in a nice way with the color, as I pulled real-world inspiration from the October setting around me here in CO, so the fall colors ended up reflecting the moment in time in which I was working on it.

(You could almost call this a self-portrait, except my hair isn't nearly that luxurious.)

As usual, I started by lasso-ing out all the different sections and establishing the flats. And, as usual, that process was...not easy. Some of my early attempts were much more desaturated with cooler colors, and it all felt a bit sickly to me. In a way that seemed fitting because of the content of the drawing, but I wanted to create a sense of optimism with the color (in spite of the vomiting blood part) to reflect the feeling I have of a positive new era in my life.

So I kept tweaking and finally landed on a few versions that were very similar, and after a day of resting my eyes, this one won out. Here's a look at the final flats:

Once the flats were locked in, this one went surprisingly smooth, MUCH faster than my color work on Symbiotic, since I was able to take a lot of the techniques I learned for that one and bring them over.

With almost every part of this, the shading/highlighting process began by adding a gradient to the section, then adding a strong edge highlight. In a couple places, mainly the face/goblet, I did some very subtle work with the brush after the gradient and before the edge highlight.

Oh, and the sky! I had some small training in oil painting in art school (but ironically not in drawing) but for various reasons I just haven't done a ton of painting in the years since then. Some of that came back to me with the sky though and I had a great time working that in there.

Two days before I worked on the sky I had an early morning, up at 4, at the gym around 6, and came out of the gym just in time to see an awesome early morning skyscape. It was exactly right for how I was imagining the sky for Vessel, and symbolically perfect as the sunrise matches my feeling about the place I'm in with life.

So I clicked some photos on my phone and used them as references while I was painting.

Overall I feel pretty solid about this one and definitely excited to keep growing and tackle another color image soon. I was rusty as hell when I started doing color again at the start of this year, so it's a good sign that I'm feeling faster and more decisive with some of this work.

I'll have a new drawing to share in two weeks, and next Wednesday there'll be another heavy metal post, either a review or MAYBE a top 10 list... Time will tell, stick around.


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