Elvis Costello Progress (#2)

Been away for a bit, I know. But I have been jamming on a few new pieces and went on a little vacation. So here are the finished pencils and my first step in the painting. I take the pencils and set them to multiply, then move them to the top of my layers. Then I'll drop in my background color.

More often than not its a darker tone as I find it easier to see the lights and shadows that way. I'll then select the background color set my brush to multiply and start dropping in the shadows. Once I have the majority of the shadows in the clothes and another elements that will have much of the background showing through I move to skin.

I grab what ever my base skin tone is for the piece and basically fill in all the skin with that color over the background color with my brush back to normal. Then I grab a basic shadow color, not too concerned with that really because it will all be painted over, this just lays out a map of sorts for the actual painting. I then make a new layer, set it to soft light, select white, and start to drop in the lighter flesh tones.

Once thats all done I can move on to the actual painting (when it gets fun). Tune in next time for some of the fun stuff!

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Elvis Costello Caricature

 Ok so here we go, gonna try to do a good progress this time. I'm really feeling this piece so I'm taking the pencils a lot further than usual. I tend to do pretty finished pencils anyways but not to this degree. I'm just really having fun with the shapes and angles on this one so I don't mind taking it to a more finished look. It's coming along pretty fast this time, I'm not finding the struggle I had with the Cash on this one. I got fed up with the pencils not looking right on the cash and got rid of the face completely. I then went straight to paint and kinda sculpted it in, instead of relying on the pencils. I don't usually do that but for that piece it worked. On this one the pencils will be a great guide and I should fly through the painting. Stay tuned for more updates and as always keep drawing.
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Johnny Cash Progress (#2) ... Finished

Johnny Cash is now finished. Yeah I know, not much of a progress right? Let me explain what happened.

From the get go I was struggling with this piece I started with a profile shot and though I liked it, I just didn't think it captured Cash. I wanted a shot of him playing music, but couldn't find a view I was happy with. So I went to a piece that I felt showed a little bit of his pain in his eyes. Now to me the older he got the more pain I can see, but I didn't want to paint him white-haired either.

I wanted him in that tradition from rockabilly to country, so I settled on this picture. And there was the problem.... I settled. Normally it just clicks and I know, bam, that's the one for me. With Johnny, all of the images that clicked were of him all zoot suited and skinny as a rail. I was concerned that if I did one of those pieces many people wouldn't recognize him. So I had to walk the line (pun intended) of recognizable and still fun to caricature.

I did the sketch, but I didn't see Johnny at all and it sure didn't look like it was going to be a successful caricature, at least not to me. 

I walked away for a couple days. I didn't have any kind of deadline on this piece so luckily I could do that. As corny as it sounds when I came back I put on the legend of Johnny Cash and just listened to it over and over again as I figured him out.

So why no progress shots you say? Well I'll tell ya. What I realized was my sketch sucked, not all of it but most of it, so I cut out the entire face and just went straight to paint, no sketching, just the brush.

All of a sudden he was there! Every stroke, I could see him more and more so I kept going and 9 hrs later BOOM he was there. I was sort of free styling a bit and I had no concept of how much time had passed, I just got that excitement you get when you can see a piece take shape so I didn't save along the way.

This would have been terrible if Photoshop froze or crashed, but luckily it didn't. That of course also led to no progress shots for you guys. So here is the finished piece. I wanted a loose, painterly look that still captured a detailed caricature.

I think I got it and for my 3rd digital painting I'm happy with my progress in the medium. Let me know what you guys think about it and as always...... keep drawing!!!!

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Johnny Cash Progress (#1)

I knew I wanted to do a Johnny Cash piece. I started with this one, but just wasn't feeling it....

So, I moved on to a different image of Johnny, and began the below version by sketching in pencil on Photoshop. In the next step, I will add in more definition to the anatomy of the image, and probably lay in some foundational color.... until next time friends!

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BB King progression (#3) - Finished!!!

What a great learning experience. I'm pleased with how much progression I see in this piece compared to the Dude piece. This is my second digital painting and I gotta say I love this medium. So much so that I just purchased the Cintiq companion2 so that I can work on my art no matter where I am! So I should be able to finish these digital pieces much faster in the future. Which means faster progression at the medium and a happier Cecil. I hope everyone loves this piece, it will be in the B.B. King museum in Indianola, Mississippi soon!

Thanks for reading. 


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Why go back to Illustration now?

So a lot of people want to know why I've decided to put so much energy into my illustration. Well to be honest I've been illustrating all along, I just don't talk about that to most my clients. I'm starting to take on more work now however for a few reasons. I've always seen myself as an artist and every field I've worked in has just been a way to become better. Though some of these fields have utilized different mediums the have all helped to improve my skill set along the way. I haven't illustrated full time for about 10 yrs. but have stayed active in illustration. Only now I look at my current medium and I just want to reach a larger audience. The art I love to do makes me happy and I feel like I want to reach a larger number of people than I do now in the hopes that they might enjoy it also. I love doing my exaggerated version of realism and caricature and have spent the last 10 years coming up with a style that I feel reflects on me. Loads of detail and a large range of color, and of course features done the way I see them in my head. Sometimes this means subtle exaggeration and others its almost cartoony. I just know that I love being an artist and this is fun for me and I hope its as fun for you to see.
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