Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Creating Concept Sketches for a Client

In working on these mermaids, I've discovered something rather funny about the way that I work. I tend to just draw my ideas out in my sketchbook and THEN resize them in the computer to fit the proportions of the painting. I'll then add or rework things to make it fit within those proportions. Do you do this? Or do you draw out your proportions first and then create within those parameters?

I have chosen my three concept sketches for my client and have added color to them using some new watercolor pencils that I had purchased awhile back and some prismacolor pencils. I find it's a bit easier using these mediums for such a small piece. (the sketches are only 4" x 5" in order to stay proportional to my 16" x 20" final painting)

 I have sent these on to my client and am now waiting to see which one she chooses. It's always a bit nerve wracking when you send your ideas out for someone else's approval. Will she like them? Or will I be starting over from scratch? I guess that I'll just have to wait and see. Over the years I have at least learned that you need to make sure to only give your client the ideas that you are excited to create. In the past, I would have one that I really wanted to create and would put it in with two that I didn't like as much. In the end, I'd be stuck doing a piece that I wasn't terribly excited about. You can't expect your client to have the same tastes as yourself. In order to make the experience enjoyable for both of you, you must make sure that you are only offering to do paintings that you would be happy working on . The end result will be so much better if it's a piece that you are excited about.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mermaids Here, There and Everywhere

I have recently received a commission to do a painting of a woman's two daughters as mermaids. She actually doesn't really care for the mermaids to look exactly like her daughters. She's more interested in them having the same characteristics as her daughters. (one has black hair, one brown, one has freckles, etc.)

I have been itching to do a mermaid painting for quite awhile so I am eager to get started on this piece. I went to my client's house and saw the girl's rooms and saw the sorts of things that make them different from each other. One is a bit of a tomboy while the other is a little more girly. My client also  showed me some pictures of her daughters including one where her youngest daughter is at the beach making a sand castle and one where her eldest daughter has a butterfly on her nose. I always try to include personal touches in my commissioned pieces, so I decided to incorporate the butterfly, possibly the sand castle and even the eldest daughter's pet corn snake wherever possible.

I usually begin creating as many different concept sketches as I can. Various angles, poses, even themes until I find the three that I like the best. Here are the concept sketches that I have developed so far for this painting. After I choose the final three that I like best, I will move on to choosing color schemes and then I will present the final three concepts to the client so that she can decide on which painting she would like me to complete for her. I find it best to limit the number of choices that you give a client. More than three choices can easily become overwhelming.

My first concept sketch for this commission was done while at work. I used whatever I had around me, which ended up being a blue pen and yellow and blue highlighters on a scrap piece of ruled paper

  The girls like to be together, but they don't necessarily like playing together. As such, having one brushing the other's hair isn't really in keeping with their personality's, but I really like the idea anyway as it's more in keeping with what mermaids would do.

            I fit the eldest girl's pet corn snake in this one, though I will
probably fit him in whichever design my client finally chooses.

In this one I was playing around with the idea of the girls being on different rocks and therefore at different levels in the painting. I also like the idea of one girl lying down.
       In this sketch I fit in the youngest daughter's sand castle.

I'm still trying to decide which three I like best. Which are your favorites? I'm excited to start cleaning up these designs and adding colors. It's always a lot of fun to come up with new paintings though it's a bit stressful when you have a client to please.