So here it is....another of my most asked questions.......
"What's your process once a piece is started?"
I know I sound like a broken record but honestly it depends. Each animal dictates in its own way how it will be drawn. I already stated in an earlier blog post (here) that each piece begins with the eyes- but from there it takes a life of its own. Generally speaking, once I feel the eye portrays the animal's true spirit, I work my way out from there.
It comes together gradually……
After the eyes, I slightly darken the basic outline of what I am drawing. Then I begin to lightly lay out the rest of a section I will be working on. When I am happy that it is in proportion I will continue to go back through adding additional details and shading where it needs to be darker. However, at this point I am careful not to get it too dark. Graphite is easy to smudge and I don’t want to layer so much on that I accidentally touch it during the rest of the project. Once I have enough of the shading in that area I continue to draw outward repeating this process with each area I am working in.
Shading and details take time……
It is important to get the fur or feather of the animal right. It’s not just easy, quick strokes. Animals are not perfect….Fur doesn’t lay straight and flat all the time. In order to get the details right I look at the following: Has the animal been in the cold where they are sporting their winter coat or in the summer when they have shed out? What is the natural texture of their fur, is it short, long, coarse, or smooth? All of these play a factor when I am shading and detailing. The more detail needed, the less I put into shading in the beginning.
Once the piece is completely put to paper, I walk away from it for at least a day if not more. I want to come back to it with fresh eyes. That way when I return to it, it is easy to see where it needs to be darkened, lightened, or more detail added. Now, I begin to go through the entire piece again shading, adding any missed details, enhancing any details that I want to stand out more, etc. I repeat this part of the process as many times that it takes until I feel as though the essence of the animal has been captured……I have had some projects that have stayed in this phase for weeks. I will walk by it, take a look, and not touch it.
Once I get to this point, it amuses my wife. She shakes her head when I pick up a pencil for one or two strokes and walk away again.
BUT when I look at the piece and know there is nothing more to be added…. I have one final step….my signature. That’s the moment I feel the as though I have fully accomplished what I set out to do....my signature is added……it’s done…..this journey over.
Visit my Facebook page Duane Frey Studios to follow along on the journey of my latest piece.
Comments will be approved before showing up.