To get things rolling again around here, I'm going to start out with a couple posts on the progress of this oil paint landscape. First stage- reference. Color, composition, material, whatever you are referencing, find it. It's always best to get your own shots, so you'll be certain to get just what you need, but in a pinch the internet sometimes has something close. I can say I definitely didn't take that lovely foggy shot, but it ended up helping me a ton in my color roughs.
Also, on-site studies, even better than any photograph ever. I'm terrible at them, but they still help a ton.
Next stage, composition sketches. I struggle with color a lot, so I keep them in greyscale and leave the color out of the mix entirely. Also, I'm really coming to love doing almost all of my fiddly composition work digitally. It seems to save a lot of headaching.
These are a few of the best that I thought up. I still struggle with this a bit. I used to do this part all in my head, which is problematic in a lot of ways. It's like doing math in your head. Yeah, you might do it alright most of the time, but then sometimes you're wrong, or you miss something, and you won't know where or when it was because you never wrote it down. So, I'm trying to train myself out of a very bad habit and actually draw out my thought process. My art really is improving as I do so.
Next comes the color studies. This is my favorite digital trick in the pre-painting stage.
See? So simple! You just take your favorite composition and go over and over and over again with all your different color potentials. Which is the same thing as you'd be doing by hand, except in this case you don't have to worry about the composition constantly accidentally changing on you, too. Fewer happy accidents, but far fewer frustrations as well.
Aaaand I think that's it for tonight. Next post I'll get into the actual painting :) I'll have to see the finished thing in the light of day, but I think I actually like this one.