Thursday, August 3, 2017

Under the Sea - Process Post

Hey everyone!
I recently finished up a super fun commission and wanted to show you guys some of the process in creating it! Last time I did a progress post, there was a really positive response, so I thought I would try again and see how it goes! If you are having trouble viewing the details of some of the images, just click on them and it should magnify the image for you a little bit!

The pieces were created for a nursery for the client's baby girl. The only prompt they gave me was that there would be an "under the sea" theme. I presented a few different options to them in the initial sketches, but they decided this was their favorite option:

Messy, right?
Then I tightened up the idea in this sketch: 

Here are each of the individual sketches up close:

(Sidenote: If you take a closer look at the previous boat, you will see it looks a little different! We ended up changing the idea of the boat to look more sailor-esque by adding a life preserver!)


 Once the client was happy with how everything looked, I did some mock-ups for color palettes. They had a specific color they wanted to paint the nursery (seafoam green/teal), so I tried to keep that in mind while selecting a color palette! Here are all of the options I gave them:

 They decided on this one as the final color palette:
(one of my favorites!)

With everything good to go, I primed the canvas with gesso and then started sketching out the creatures:

Then I applied a thin, watery layer of acrylic to the canvas:

I wanted the water to look a little imperfect and streaky from the very beginning so that I wouldn't have to pile on a bunch of paint for the water. Also, I usually like to build up acrylic with the details and keep the background thin and more transparent - I think it adds a nice sense of depth and completion in the final product!

Here's some more progress...:


I was still experimenting during this stage, but decided that I wanted to do dry brushing on the objects and creatures and then add a dark outline with a Prismacolor pencil. When everything was completed, I sprayed the canvases with a sealant so that the Prismacolor pencil wouldn't smear!

...and of course, that's where the progress shots stop. I started focusing on completing the pieces in time and totally spaced taking photos! Oh well though - at least it got done, right?

*   *   *


 Here are some detail shots of the piece:






 Overall, I'm super pleased with the outcome! Children's book-type illustration is always my favorite.
If you are interested in commissions, please email

Thank you all for your continued support!

Ashley xoxo

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