‘Merlin Has a Fan’ Process

Welcome to our second walkthrough! 😁

This painting was a gift for my partner’s mom; R’s family was very accommodating, especially considering they had to speak in English around me as I do not know Danish. …yet. (Other than a couple words to harass R with.) R’s dad also got a painting, which I’ll show at the end; I didn’t get progress shots of that one though.

As a quick note, the photos are more washed out than I would prefer. The scan of the finished painting at the bottom was color corrected to show how bright the actual hues are.

Although she has not met him in person, R’s mom is very fond of my colorful, little bird. He’s definitely a character, and he adores getting attention!

I started off with a quick pencil sketch that included some guide marks for the feathers. The photo shows the finalized drawing before I moved on to inking. I prefer to add most of my details in pen and may skip this pencil sketch stage entirely.

At this point, I have the mostly completed line-art. I will add some final detail after painting, but this lets me have a guideline for where to place my colors and shading.

After taping off the little background square, I put in some soft colors with a bit of salt on top to get that lovely, classic watercolor effect. I kept this area very simple to provide contrast for and keep focus on my little Merlin.

Ended up with quite a bit of bleeding under the tape (oops!), but I’m happy with how the salt effect turned out. It’s later in the evening at this point, and I was mostly relying on the sunlight. The indoor lights aren’t quiiiiite as bright as I would prefer in this room, but it’s very lovely to paint in regardless!

First wash of colors on Merlin himself! At this point, my focus was on working out his color regions and starting the shading on his beak.

Second glaze of color with a focus on deepening and brightening what was laid down previously.

Glazing right along with ample time for layers to dry. (R and I entertained ourselves with a movie. Horror movies for the win!)

Shading added. I used a lighter version of the purple in the background to help tie everything together. Next step will be the last pen details.

While it had always been my plan to ink out the chest feathers after coloring, I had second thoughts after doing so. However, at this stage in a drawing/painting (aka almost done), I pretty much always start to fret that I’ve ruined whatever progress I had liked up until then. It makes it difficult to tell when my anxiety has a good point or if I’m just having a typical artist moment.

I didn’t like that there seemed to be a lack of contrast, so I went back with my brush pen to add some. I also used a bit of pearlescent white acrylic paint for highlights. Unfortunately, it looks gray from the side, but when you move the painting around, it does create a lovely shimmer!

The color corrected scan. This is how the painting looks under proper lighting, and I’m pretty happy with how bright this new brand of watercolors turned out. Merlin is a very gorgeously colored Jenday conure, and I wanted to capture that. For the scanned version, I did add some white lines digitally in the pearlescent parts to help capture the lighting that the scanner could not. R’s mom was very happy with the result!

This polar bear skull study went to R’s dad after her recommendation that it was something he would like. It utilized pens and watercolors, and it even got a pencil sketch first! This painting is available on several products at my RedBubble store —> click here!

I hope y’all have enjoyed this walkthrough. If there’s anything you’d like to see in the future, please let me know in the comments below! 😊

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