Step by step
I thought I’d try a short process post as this recent illustration took a few stages to complete. I went and visited the Fountain bar in Edinburgh, the Touch Agency were looking for a few interior views that would give a picture of the atmosphere and design of the renovation. I did quite a few rough sketches and this is one of the ones they chose. I really wanted to show the full size and variety of the bar. Its done in an A3 moleskine sketchbook with faber castell artist pens.
This is the second stage where I’m just doing a rough layout. This time I wanted to do a more accurate watercolour, sometimes if you work directly with pencil onto the paper and you make a few mistakes using a rubber can quickly destroy the tooth of the surface. Instead I started with just basic paper where I’m not too concerned about how it looks just getting the measurements correct. I totally misjudged the height of the bar here and made it far too short, I changed it in next stage. Although I’m using a ruler for quite alot of the lines I’m just using my judgement on distances so its not too analytical.
From here I’ve used a large sheet of hot pressed Fabriano Artistico paper. The image is transferred using a lightbox, I use the image underneath just as a guide and don’t really try to slavishly copy what is underneath. Here I can start to define the individual elements such as the bar staff, and all the bottles. Rather than use a pen for the whole image I ink in the area I want the viewer to focus on. The roof and the front of the bar is lightly penciled in.
And now for the painting to begin. With the variety of colours that will be on all the bottles I wanted to have quite a cool simple colour scheme of blue/grey v the warmth of the bar in browns. Its simple to start block in the big colours and start adding some depth. Its always good to start big as I’ve been told before start with a shovel finish with a needle.
I was slightly torn between roughly painting in the bottles suggesting them but opted to define them more. It was more work in the long term but I felt as the job was for a bar such details and care could be important. There was not real shortcut just question of painting them one by one. Though each bottle was quite easy to define with simple blocks of colour and I got into a rhythm.
Once everything was painted, I spent some time checking how it all worked together adding washes of colour where necessary. That’s it, now just to scan the final piece ready for the artwork to be added.