Welcome everyone to the blog! I'm looking forward to meeting each of you at the workshop. Following in Erik's footsteps, here is my process. This painting was done for a Magic the Gathering event promotional image in Mexico City. The only parameters I was given was the image had to reflect the culture, have a dragon and a woman in it, and have the same dark fantasy style that Magic the Gathering has.
Dragon Queen Step x Step
I first start off with loose sketches similar to Erik's approach, except mine are done digitally. This allows me to to continue to manipulate one sketch until it works. Scaling here, cropping there, I rework until it does work. I may do this with 3-6 sketches until I find something I or the director likes. Working digitally, I can get a relatively detailed sketch with full value pretty quick.
Once a sketch is approved by the director, I shoot and collect my reference, and start work on a tighter drawing, which usually consists of multiple layers of tracing paper. I collect reference from all over, my own personal archives, magazines, and the internet.
I then transfer the image onto my surface via projector, then start my underpainting. I don't always do an underpainting, but in this case I felt it would act as a good ground for a lot of the cools I was planning on putting in the painting.
I usually start with the focus of the painting. This period in the process is when I 'm most excited about the project. So I can give it my most energized and focused attention. My hopes is that it will set a look and standard for the rest of the painting.
Inch by inch I apply and move around paint.
After I get it to the almost finished point, I take one more pass all around. making subtle adjustments to the value and color through glazing, and adding the final details. Once I shoot the image there is another level to the process where I bring it into Photoshop and make my last corrections to any distortions I may have gotten while shooting the image.