Jul 2010

Jack and the Beanstalk - Stealing the Goose

This is a new digital painting based on the old story, “Jack and the Beanstalk.” In this version, Jack is making off with one of the giant’s geese, who in turn is doing her best to summon her dim witted master, hot on Jack’s trail.

The fairy tale story behind the image is obviously geared for a young audience. However, I strive to create work that has a lasting appeal to viewers across a broad age spectrum, illustrations that are loved by children and appreciated by parents. For me this means work that tells a story in a way that is easy to understand, yet has a solid, classic feel.

The painting process started by scanning a fairly large and well fleshed-out pencil drawing and importing it into Painter. As usual, the pencil was duplicated and then the original floated into its own layer, the style set to a see-through “multiply” allowing me to add color below without destroying the drawing.

Color with added with several broad brushes, (airbrush, acrylic, square chalk), over a textured and toned Canvas layer. From the start I had a finish piece in mind that would have a gold/green color scheme, inspired by recent viewing of some of Grant Wood’s midwestern landscapes. By using a base layer with a reddish hue I was able to create some interesting color vibration quickly.

Most of the color application at this point would be described as “thin” if I were using a traditional medium like acrylic or oil paint. I work on Gel or Multiply style layers or use low opacity brush settings and build tone as I go collapsing layers to the canvas from time to time and adding new as required. When the base color lay in is complete, I will then either drop the pencil layer to the canvas, or paint on a layer above the pencil layer if I feel I need to preserve it. From here most of the work was done using the acrylic, square chalk and pastel brushes with higher opacity settings.

It’s not uncommon to switch off between Painter and Photoshop several times in the course of a piece, taking advantage of each programs strengths, but in this case painting was completed almost exclusively using Painter, with the final details and adjustments handled in Photoshop.