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My focus at the moment is to develop a deeper understanding and the skills required to better conceptualise a piece of artwork, prior to jumping in and attacking the final piece head on.

The initial exploratory and development process (a fantastic example of which is detailed in a great post on Muddy Colors from Howard Lyon) is something that up until now I have never really put much thought into. This has not been a conscious decision however, but more due to the fact that I didn’t fully understand its importance or what possible steps I needed to go through.

The process detailed in Howard’s article mentioned above included the following step:

  1. Thumbnail sketches
  2. Detailed sketch
  3. Studies from life (or photography)
  4. Value/color sketch
  5. Study of head/hands/feet/fabric/difficult passages
  6. Full sized cartoon
  7. Final painting

I am hoping to be able to go through each of these stages for the current piece I am working on and document resources I found helpful at each stage, along with some work in progress images (assuming everything falls nicely into place which I am sure is exactly how it will happen… ahem…)

The goal is to change my mindset and make this new exploratory stage less foreign and more second nature. This series of posts will also be a nice collection of articles and ideas for me to refer back to again, and hopefully some others will find it useful too.

To begin with, the following couple of articles (from Jesper Ejsing and Gregory Manchess respectively – both again on Muddy Colors) are a good read to get the mind thinking about various elements of the composition. To capture the attention of the viewer, there needs to be something to draw them in and these articles do a great job of both describing some relevant ways to think about achieving this (10 Easy Steps to Illustration), and also some pointers on specific elements that work to create better compositions (10 Things about Planning Pictures).

So with a new resolve and these ideas fresh in the mind, it’s time to crack on with some thumbnailing…

Tim Eden

Tim Eden is an Adelaide based figurative artist who paints mainly in oil. The principle theme throughout Tim’s art focuses on our existence and shared connectedness within a universe of energy. Tim’s work has been described as thought provoking and emotive.

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