Alex Pardee has been locked away in his home studio these last couple months furiously working on a brand new body of work debuting soon at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles. Hi-Fructose Magazine was lucky enough to get a step by step look into his latest creation, “The Building”. Get an in-depth look at the process behind this piece, accompanied by Alex’s personal notes on the steps, below on Hi-Fructose.
“Using my computer and my Cintiq Wacom tablet, I start by scribbling & sketching a mock up of what I want to paint. I create both a black and white line-art drawing as well as a very loose color comp for reference when I’m painting.”
“Using the printed out color comp for a general visual guide, I do the first of 3 loose underpaintings using really thin layers of colors, a spray bottle with water, and a hair dryer to control where i want the drips to stop. At this stage, not much matters except getting a really loose knowledge of where the lights and the darks might end up when it’s eventually complete. And also it’s fun making a mess.”
I refer back to the black and white line-art sketch that I created on the computer, where I enlarge it to fit the size of the panel, and then print it out in gridded 8″ x 10″ sheets, piece it all together, and tape the top of it to the surface of the panel to prep it for transferring the drawing to the panel. I put graphite transfer paper in between the printout and the panel, and then trace the entire drawing as detailed as possible with a #2 pencil, transferring the drawing to the board in graphite.
“This is when I do the first of 3 fully executed line drawings, using a Windsor Newton Series 7 #00 brush (my favorite brush for line-work) and a mixture of black speedball ink, carbon black nova color acrylic paint, and sumi-ink. Though you may lose these lines after the next step ,the detail in this first line-work layer is important, because these lines are your only guide to color blocking.”
“Second underpainting! This step is basically filling in the mid-tone colors using transparent, translucent, or watered-down opaque paints (to keep the texture of the first underpainting visible, as well as some of the line-work) to block in the most used colors in each shape.”
“Begin building up texture on top of texture on this second underpainting, which is basically just scribbling textures using a couple of different colors, but I try not to lose all of the line work.”
“Third underpainting, this one is very straight forward. Another round of blocking in midtone colors again, just tighter and more controlled.”
“I re-apply the linework completely again, giving me a straightforward guide to where the shadows and highlights will go according to my original sketch/color comp.”
“Finally applying small layers of very thin grays/reds for the shadows, and titanium matte and skin tone for the highlights, as the painting starts to take shape.”
“More detailed shot of highlights, shadows & line work.”
“A final pass of harsher shadows (Using mostly transparent paynes grey) and the highlights means that the only thing that is left to do is clean up the white around the piece and touch up the line-art for the last time. And then, take a 20 minute nap, eat a donut, and move on to the next one!”