As an artist who makes their living by selling my art and storybooks, I consider it important to discuss my creation process for my customers. Originally, I started out as a colored pencil artist, but due to the long hours this medium demands, I transitioned into digital art in 2004, believing it would lend itself better to the business model I was developing. The appeal digital art had for me was its ability to produce artwork, rich in color and detail, but also in a timely manner to make a business of it. On average, a digital work of art will take about 40 hours to complete as opposed to 80-100 hours using colored pencils.
The process I use to create a painting always begins with a pencil sketch. More often than not, I may have several pages of sketches that I plan to use in my final art, so I will scan them into the computer, then assemble them in Photoshop to craft the final composition. I don’t draw a great deal of backgrounds in my sketchbook. I generally add those in digitally once my composition is finalized. The next step is to open the sketch within Corel Painter and begin the painting process.
Here, I will begin to build value, color and eventually texture into the picture. It is always my goal to make the painting look authentic, as if it were painted with acrylics or oils. It took me about a year of experimenting with various brushes and textures to get a more painterly feel from my art and reduce it from looking “too” digital. Each piece is created stroke-by-stroke using a Wacom table to generate the strokework. My art usually contains a great amount of detail, and most of my drawing time is spent layering those details in. After the art is complete, the next stage of technology kicks in to my process.
I have always printed my own artwork and it is essential for any good artist to survive in these economic times. Nearly three years ago, I moved away from framing my artwork under glass to creating gallery-wrapped giclees. In addition to better economics for my business due to increasing cost of frame materials, it also increased the “wow” factor of my art. I’m still amazed at how fantastic these canvas prints look and the authenticity it brings to my digital work. I use an Epson 9900 and this printer is capable of producing extraordinary detail and sublime nuance of color. Once the printing is complete, I take the time to seal the canvas with a protective polymer, stretch the canvas or insert them into matted prints. Everything step in producing my artwork is done by hand.
The results are exceptional works of art that I can pass on to my customers at reasonable prices. Most of my revenues are derived from selling my work at art shows and my customers are very grateful, even surprised, to find art that is well-done yet affordable. It is true the only original art is my pencil drawings from my sketchbook, but this process allows me to create the artwork I always envisioned, while also keeping up with the demand for new images. And with the affordability of my art, many of my customers become repeat buyers.
Each year, I apply and travel to some of the biggest art shows across the country. Many of these shows are beginning to recognize digital art as a medium and adding it to their list of show categories. In my opinion, digital art is a medium with a great future, for both the artist and the customer.