(Dis)Order, Rendering, and Masking

Okey doke, so with my second post here I’d like to discuss a bit about the order I work in.  Many artists work loosely at first (E.g. Sketching, under-painting, blocking-in, etc..) and then refine their work in layers. I’ve seen this loose approach most commonly employed in painting (I paint that way myself), however I have also seen it with graphite, and I’ve even seen the converse in painting; clearly there is no right or wrong and we all do what best works for us.


For me, with graphite, I find I work most comfortably when I complete things as I go (mostly). I will return to tighten up small elements after I’ve completed the whole, but my first pass generally leaves the piece at more than 90% complete.  Generally all that remains are adjustments in contrast. You can see in the image below four stages of progress on Peregrine Falcon #1.

First off these images show how I mask the work as I progress: I do apply a light overall ‘outline’ to the paper before I start so I mask to protect that sketch, and keep from messing up my paper. I simply rip off the masking in 1”-2” strips as I’m ready to expose the next bit.  It’s pretty clear here how completely rendered each section is before I move forward.

The most significant exception to this approach here is the limb that the falcon is perched on. I knew the bird would be heavily rendered and ‘weighted’ in the center of the paper, so I left the limb for last to decide how heavy I wanted it to be at the bottom of my piece. I didn’t want too much weight there, nor did I want it to compete with my focal point.

So there you have it, bit more of the process, more to follow eventually of course. As always any comments and questions are happily welcomed. Thanks for looking.