First bike ride

First bike ride
This painting was commissioned by a friend of mine as a Father’s Day gift. She wanted something that would show how encouraging and devoted her husband is to their daughters, and decided to focus on when her oldest daughter first rode her bike without the training wheels. I thought this was a great idea, and did this initial sketch:
As you can see, the father is focusing on his bike riding daughter, but is still aware of, and protecting, his younger daughter, who is very interested in a butterfly. I did a revised sketch which basically followed the shapes in the rough sketch, but I updated and clarified the expressions and clothing. I also tried to make the faces look more like the real people I was trying to depict. 
The next step was to try and figure out what how to color the image. Here is my color comp, done in Photoshop. I had access to a video of the event I was depicting, so I was able to be very specific about the colors of the bike, the helmet, clothing, etc., which was very helpful.
When it came to the final painting, you’ll notice that I decided to add some more trees to fill in the background, and I changed the colors of the young daughter’s clothing to reflect the colors of the father’s favorite sports team. This was one of the most detailed paintings I’ve done to date, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Thanks for reading!

Girl and butterfly

girl and butterfly

Welcome to 2013! Looking through my portfolio a few weeks ago, I realized that it is almost exclusively animals. This wasn’t a conscious choice, it just sort of happened. I love animals and enjoy drawing them, but I also enjoy drawing humans, so I decided that I needed to focus on adding some humans into the mix. To that end, I sketched up a little kid watching a butterfly.

After drawing this sketch, I spent about a month doing other things, so by the time I came back to it, I could definitely see it with fresh eyes. I decided that this child should probably be a girl so I added some longish hair and a scarf. I also made the butterfly smaller.

While planning the colors, I decided that because the girl was wearing a coat, it must be early to mid autumn. I tried to make the grass a bit drab-colored, the dandelions have gone to seed, and I made the girl’s cheeks a bit rosy as if she’s been out in a brisk wind. I then made the butterfly itself a very vivid blue and green to help it to stand out against these muted colors. I liked the idea that a butterfly would be more rare at this time of year, which adds a bit to the girl’s look of satisfaction in seeing it. I played around with some sky colors and clouds, but ultimately I liked the simplicity of just the girl and the butterfly best.

Thanks for reading!