Behind The Scenes! The Evolution Of A Painting.

2016 Artwork Evolution Of A Painting article sketch

Well, since I can’t think of an idea for a proper article for today, I thought that I’d give you a quick “behind the scenes” look at how one of the paintings that was posted here last month came into being.

Most of my paintings are fairly straightforward (and they usually evolve of their own accord whilst I’m making them), but this particular one has an interesting history.

A few months ago, I suddenly had the idea to paint a picture of Hunter S. Thompson. Quite honestly, I’m surprised that it took me this long to get round to making a painting of him. Still, I wasn’t sure if he would be easy to draw or not, so I looked at a few reference images on Google Images and made a practice sketch of him in my sketchbook:

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE]  This was my preliminary drawing, sorry about the self-censorship (I'm never quite sure what WordPress's rules about profanity are).

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] This was my preliminary drawing, sorry about the self-censorship (I’m never quite sure what WordPress’s rules about profanity are).

Thankfully, he didn’t seem too difficult to draw. So, I then had to work out what my actual painting would look like.

In the end, I settled on the idea of making a “realistic” painting of him interviewing someone and I started to draw the lineart in pencil and waterproof ink. However, I wasn’t quite happy about both the pose and the likeness, so I abandoned this painting:

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] This was my first failed attempt at making a painting of Hunter S. Thompson, as you can see it never even got past the line art stage.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] This was my first failed attempt at making a painting of Hunter S. Thompson, as you can see it never even got past the line art stage.

Since this idea had failed, I thought that I’d make a painting that was vaguely similar to the “Wave Speech” scene from the film adaptation of “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas”. So, I tried to draw Hunter S. Thompson typing something. Unfortunately, this picture failed fairly quickly:

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] This is my second failed attempt at painting Hunter S. Thompson. Again, this didn't get past the line art stage.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] This is my second failed attempt at painting Hunter S. Thompson. Again, this didn’t get past the line art stage.

Still, I liked the idea, so I tried again. This time, I made a few changes- such as adding more action to the painting, by implying that Thompson was throwing finished pieces of paper over his shoulder.

However, although the foreground of the drawing looked pretty cool – I had no idea what to include in the background and I was also worried about whether the picture was any good on a technical level. So, I abandoned it again:

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] This is an improved version of the previous failed painting but, again, it didn't seem quite right. Plus, I have no idea how that random doodle appeared in the background.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] This is an improved version of the previous failed painting but, again, it didn’t seem quite right. Plus, I have no idea how that random doodle appeared in the background.

After this, I was totally exasperated, and I thought “F**k it! I’ll make an original painting instead!” So, I started to randomly sketch someone hiding behind a bush – with the intention of making a gothic/horror painting.

But, fairly soon after I started sketching, I realised that this would be perfect for a surreal hallucinatory Hunter S. Thompson – themed painting that was inspired by both the film adaptation of “Fear And Loathing In Last Vegas” and by Ralph Steadman’s famous Hunter S. Thompson-themed drawings. This time, my painting succeeded!

"Fan Art - Hunter S. Thompson (After Ralph Steadman)" By C. A. Brown

“Fan Art – Hunter S. Thompson (After Ralph Steadman)” By C. A. Brown

One of the most challenging parts of making this painting was actually drawing Richard Nixon’s head in the background. Despite looking at a few reference images of Nixon, he almost ended up looking like David Cameron at one point and only barely resembled Nixon when I’d finished.

After I’d made the painting, I had to edit it digitally. Usually, my watercolour paintings look kind of faded after I scan them, so I usually digitally lower the brightness levels in the image and raise the contrast levels, in order to give my paintings their characteristic “vivid” look. However, this made Nixon’s head look less blue than it should have been – so, I had to separately alter the brightness/contrast levels for this part of the image.

Then, after correcting a few small mistakes using MS Paint and darkening part of the sky (in the top right of the painting), it was finished!

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting đŸ™‚

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