I've always enjoyed the drawing stage of a piece. To me, it has a special quality that I sometimes want to keep in the final illustration. Drawings can have a looseness and gestural quality that can give a lot of life to the piece. The variations between thinner and thicker lines and the smoothness of graphite or charcoal adds an almost dreamlike quality.
|Cloud Study, Mixed Media|
When I first started learning about mixed media, I read about Jessie Willcox Smith’s technique. She studied under Howard Pyle and made gorgeous illustrations for Good Housekeeping. She drew with charcoal and applied a coat of fixative to then apply layers of oil glazes. Her work was absolutely beautiful. Illustrator Peter De Seve also uses mixed media on his illustrations. He builds the drawing with color pencil and then applies watercolor washes to build up tones, finishing details with color pencil and gouache.
|Borrego Hills, Mixed Media|
I like keeping my original black and white graphite, charcoal or ink drawings. That way I can see all the possibilities and by mixing traditional with digital techniques can have an advantage. It also gives me room for experimentation. I like taking my time finding the right palette and I do lots of digital color studies with the final piece without damaging the original. This way, I can carefully plan the right lighting, temperature and mood of any piece.