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Creating a painting

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

How does one start with a blank canvas and end up with a finished artwork?

There are as many ways to go about painting as there are artists in the world, so your guess is as good as mine.

It's really all about exploring shapes, colours and values. And I am constantly trying out different processes. When an artist I like shows a sped up painting process or step by step that they took to arrive at their finished piece, I usually attempt to incorporate some part of their process into my next painting project.

Sometimes it works out... other times the outcome scars me forever.

I decided to save the steps I took to create a painting that Iended up using on my website.


Usually I'll start with a sketch, but for this painting I decided to go about it quite differently. An artist I like seemed to just splatter a lot of colours without a care in the world. So I thought I'd do the same.

I don't know what it was about doing it this way, but it was actually terrifying.

I had a vague idea for what kind of scene I wanted, and usually I would sketch it out, find what the scene actually looks like and then choose colours.

No sketch this time.

I used a brush, sizing it up, and just started scribbling. I knew I wanted a chair and bookshelves, but the rest of the room was just a blur to me.


Now that I had mostly all the main colours that I was going to use, I needed to find the shapes, so to speak.

I decided to have a doorway; I defined the bookshelves; worked out the exact shape of the chair; added the shape of my character to the scene.

It went surprisingly fast to find these shapes. I used the random scribbles I had to essentially excavate the elements out of the messy first phase.

This is also when I decided to go for a 1 point perspective, and I created my own grid that I could toggle on and off for when I needed it.


Minor adjustments.

Lowered the ceiling to achieve a more intimate atmosphere. My idea was an old used-book-store, after all.

Also gave the weird fleshy creature some clothes and a face.


Worked more on the character, adding some ectra elements and tried to work out the lighting.

I alos painted the hallway in the back, but as you'll see, that ended up being kind of wasted.


This step is what took the longest.

I never want to paint another book ever again.

Until I paint another painting with bookshelves, wonder why I did decide on that, finish it and say I will never do it again, and then I'll do it again, and the evil cycle continues.

For all the complaining I do, I honestly do think it pays of to suffer throught things like this. While some are copy paste (I'm not that crazy either) a lot of them are painted from scratch. It just gives the painting that little bit of extra life to it when I decide to take that much care to make everything look as unique as I can.

I also corrected the overall value, making it much darker, so that the light from the lamp can pop out more, letting the character be the focal point.


This step is just a whole lot of rendering. Adding more books both on the shelves and on the floor.

Really dimming the lights down, really upping the dramatic light from the lamp.

Through the whole process you can also see how the woman has been constantly changed and adjusted in terms of pose and size of her limbs, especially her legs.

People are hard to draw.


Aaand the finished piece.

All that work on those books and I cover them up with a huge plant.

I am always scared to go too dark for scenes like these, but I decided to just go with my gut and hope it works out. I think the fairly-lights help a lot.

I'm fairly happy with it. I always hope I can do better on the next painting, but I am trying to get better at appreciating what I am able to do right now.


And that's that.

Finishing a piece is always very strange. At one point you just have to sit back and say "That's all I can do for it now", and then you sign it and move on.

I used to overwork my paintings a lot!

But with time I just learned what my limits were, and when my current skills can't take a painting any further.

I look at what I need to work on, what I wished I could do with this one.

And I try again with a new painting project.


I've always wanted to try blogging, but I never got around to it. Until now.

I have no real focus or plan, I just want a place to share thoughts about art and creative things, and just kind of hope it can be interesting to someone, somewhere.

Thanks for Reading.


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