Friday, February 28, 2014

Tracing memories, Coloring an old building

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and visited me! Yesterday I had a fabulous demo down at the University of Oregon Bookstore. I spoke to lots of great students and professional artists from around the community. During the event, I also had a chance to color a beautiful Tracing Memories illustration of the oldest building on campus, Deady Hall. Here is an outline of my process.

Tracing Memories: Deady Hall, University of Oregon

I've known for a few months that I would be demoing at the U of O bookstore, but only a week or so ago had I decided what I really wanted to old building from campus.

Last Friday it was actually sunny, so my family and I went for a walk around the U of O campus and took some photographs of a few neat places. This shot of Deady hall, through the mossy, fern-covered branches really stood out to me. I like this photo because it has good contrast and an interesting composition. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to color it, but to draw it would take hours.

So, Thursday morning just before I went to the demo I converted it to outlines on the computer and printed it large, as I would be coloring in front of  many people. This picture is about 11x14"

Usually I suggest that people should keep their images smaller to have better success coloring large areas. This image has so many details that it was actually much easier to color it large.

The first thing to do when coloring a complex image is to "block in" colors. I picked out the sky with B32, BG10, and the colorless blender. Notice that I colored right over where ferns were growing, as there is daylight between the ferns. (I took these process photos on my cell phone as I was working, so the colors are not accurate.)

I blocked in the building with W1 and the trees with E44. These are not the darkest colors I see in those areas, rather, these are the lightest tones, and I will build up darkness and shadows from there. I avoided complicated areas, like the bottom left corner, as I hadn't decided which shade of gray to use as a base there yet.

Next, I worked on the building itself, slowly darkening shadows with a full range of warm grays, and picked out the blue windows with B26, B34, B32, and E04 for the frames. I felt the warm gray was a little too bland, so I threw in YG91 and Y21 in the highlight areas. This shifts it to more of a warmer feeling building, even though the photo was taken in the evening and has a cooler tone to it.

I began darkening the first branch with E29, W7, W9, E49 and the greens are YG13, G28, and G99. Look at how the dark contrast on the branches really helps pick out the foliage. 

The image really begins to pop out with the addition of darkest dark colors and adding subtle tones into the light areas. 

Here is the color-corrected scan of the final artwork. I love how it came out! This took 6 hrs to color. Each time I look at it, I think of the math class I took in this building while I was a student, or sitting in the courtyard in front of this building feeding squirrels while I was supposed to be drawing things. I also think of the walk with my family on Friday, and the fun times I had yesterday coloring the image. This really holds a lot of special meaning for me, and part of why I love the Tracing Memories program.

Needless to say, people loved the demo! I will be teaching even more workshops and demos in the future, so be looking for them. Meanwhile, if you want to take a class in your area, you might be in luck!!

I still have a few openings in my upcoming classes in San Diego and Pittsburgh, so visit our website to register or get more information. We currently have over 20 different classes and workshops open, so take a moment and look around our site for something near you.


Jan Castle said...

Superb coloring!!!! Love the subject you chose, especially since it has special meaning to you.

Debbie Olson said...

Marianne, this is superb!

Becky said...

wow, awesome coloring.

Lorraine said...

You've given the building more life than it had in the photograph. Stunning!

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