Safari Mural, step-by-step

One of the things I hoped to do with my blog is demonstrate my illustration process, and what better way to do that than to show you firsthand with a project I’m working on right now!

My church, CityChurch in Ft. Lauderdale has been undergoing several maintenance projects lately, one includes the overhauling of a very sad looking nursery.  Together my friends and I spent last Saturday sanding, cleaning and painting that small, sunshiny room to prepare it for newly painted walls and an over sized Safari mural!

For me, step one of this process is to decide what kind of a mural this will be.  Do I want something very simple, borderline abstract, or do I want it to be realistic?  I decided to land somewhere in between.  I want to create something that doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet still has a great deal of beauty to it.  My final idea will have something of a Disney’s animated Lion King feel to it.  The background will be reminiscent of reality, but without the bothersome detail, and the characters will be basically solid with some tonality, but again, no painstaking detail.

To get an idea of how I would flesh out concepts for the project, I spent some time in the room, gaining a feel for the atmosphere, where the sun shines in, and looking at the stained glass across from where the mural will be.  I then measured the walls.  I made a scale drawing of my first ideas of the mural, 1 inch equaling 1 foot.  Here I worked out the major details of the mural, composition, lighting, etc.

Digitally painted color comp.

I am currently working on a small-scale painting of the mural.  I work out all my kinks here.  I don’t want to do any problem solving once I start painting the mural.  So I spend a great deal of time getting the colors, shapes, values, and lighting right.  At this stage I’m not even including the animals.  They are easy to place on top of the painting when it is done.

Stage one, block in color.

Work on values, colors, details differentiating the foreground, middleground, and background.

Stay posted for more work to come!

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