Now comes the time to start the painting in earnest. My prefered technique is to do a relatively finished under drawing. I call it an under drawing out of habit, but it’s really an under painting. I’m not too fussy about what I use for this – usually I use whatever paint I have left over from the previous painting – as long as I have a dark tone and a light one. In the case of this piece, I’m using black and white gesso.

The object here is to rough in the major elements of the composition, then fine tune them until there’s no more guess work about what goes where. To do this I use a combination of sketches and studies I’ve done and photo reference I’ve taken of the scene.

When I’m done this stage, I have a highly resolved under painting or “cartoon”. And now it’s ready for the next step: adding colour.

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