Here are the beginning stages of an interior illustration for a book project. I’m not using any photo reference for this illustration for the figures. I will use reference for the wings based on hawks or eagles. After I worked out several thumbnail sketches for the picture, I started loosely drawing in my sketchbook. I would probably work on a vellum or bristol drawing surface, but this works ok too, as I work out the mood, figure poses, etc.
I work on the angel quite a bit, going back and forth on how the hair and eyes might look. I know I want the angel to look heroic. Very strong, not Hulk, but definitely in the Superman neighborhood. I decided a hood would add a little mystery as well as take care of the hair problem I had overthought.
Working on gessoed masonite, I transferred the outline of the drawing with transfer paper and carefully redrew, cleaning it up as I go. I I have Joseph looking a little too old, so I will make sure to make him younger when I paint. I also put his hand in the air so he doesn’t look dead. The angel comes to him in his dream, so he could have been asleep the whole time and talked out loud, who knows.
I seal the drawing and begin with yellow ochre washes, going over it about 3 times until I have an idea of what I want to do with the lighting, I decide a mysterious glow or upward lighting will look pretty cool. For the oil painting phase, I use burnt umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, cad yellow deep, and titanium white. I will bring in blue paint later for cools but not at this stage, it could just get muddy quick.
More opaque added to the wings and modeling the form. There is a lot of yellow ochre paint on the board, so I will need to move on to Joseph and come back once the paint has dried a little to add texture and lighting to the wings. The wing off to the left page is looking a little flat compared to the wing that is coming at us, so I will probably change that up a bit and make it appear to come towards us slightly.
Update: Finishing touches on the illustration for the book. I was able to tweak the wing to work with the copy box on the left page. I added quite a bit of “smoke” around the room as light catching dust. It is also just a nice special effect to add.
Angel appears to Joseph