pictures and words by paul mccall

October 2007
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Firefly Fantasy Portrait Post 03
Filed under: Studio Painting, Firefly Fantasy Portrait
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 5:24 pm

Becoming less sloppy, marginally.

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Firefly Fantasy Portrait Post 02
Filed under: Studio Painting, Firefly Fantasy Portrait
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 7:02 pm

And so it begins. The first stage is to start placing the darks in the background. Painting from back to front is an accepted method that works best for me. The beginning stages of most paintings look sloppy so don’t panic!

Then other tones are laid in.

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Indpls Art Center 10/26
Filed under: Open Studio Drawing
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 9:08 pm

Pencil on newsprint

Pencil on better drawing paper.

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Another Thursday night at Herron
Filed under: Open Studio Painting
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 9:03 pm

About an hours worth of painting, three twenty minutes poses with breaks for the model in between.

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Firefly Fantasy Portrait Post 01
Filed under: Studio Painting, Firefly Fantasy Portrait
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 1:55 pm

This is a new category for the blog. Here I will show the progression of a fantasy portrait. A Fantasy Portrait as I offer them is this; choose a scene from a book, TV show, film or any other area and I will paint you into it using photo reference I shoot or you provide. I’ve done this a few other times. A Farscape portrait, a Space Marine and a few others.

This couple chose the TV show “Firefly” and wanted to be painted as a pair of characters against a shipboard setting. After looking through lots of images from the show I chose the engine room and some representative shots of the characters in costume. From that I developed a starting sketch.

After getting their approval on the sketch (I showed them two different ideas and they chose this one) we set up a photo shoot. They arrived in clothing as close to the character costumes as possible. That’s important as it helps with the lighting on the wrinkles of folds in the clothing. Here are a few of the shots.


After the photos were shot we all three viewed them in the computer (digital photography has made this step so much simpler!) and they chose the shots that best reflected what they wanted for each individual. As almost always happens one shot would be good for one person but not the other and vice versa. Using Photoshop I cut each figure out and placed them together into one image on top of the engine room photo.


From this I developed a line drawing and emailed it to the couple.


After their approval I transferred it to a 3 foot by 4 foot canvas which I had drawn a grid upon for that purpose. I used spray-fix to set the pencil drawing to the canvas in anticipation of the next step.


The engine room scene is an overall brown tone so I made up a thin brown wash and covered the entire canvas.


While waiting for that thin coat to dry sufficiently to paint on I took a shot of the reference stand set up. I use an older Apple laptop and an auxiliary screen to display the reference photos. This set up allows the reference to be back-lit by the light of the screen. Much more satisfactory than a paper print. I also stained a scrap of canvas the same brown to place under my glass mixing palette so the colors mixed there will look the same when placed on the canvas.

1 comment
An Education in Painter IX
Filed under: Studio Caricatures, Studio Illustration
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 3:07 pm

This project was an education, I chose to caricature Ray Park alongside his highest profile movie role for this convention. I got to learn a lot more about digital painting in Corel Painter IX, plus I had never used any type in the Painter program. Up until this effort I’d been using the acrylic option but after fully rendering the figures in digital acrylic the right figure felt thin, lacking in solidity. So I painted over it using the oil paint option and that worked so much better! Painter has the ability to mimic real world art materials to the point where you can paint impasto with a palette knife! I’ll post the reference photo of the guy below.

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Filed under: Open Studio Painting
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 11:35 am

Or K.C. or Kaisee, however he spells it, this was another helpful IUPUI student press ganged from the hallways of the Herron Art School. This oil study took about 2 hours.

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Direct Sketching
Filed under: Open Studio Drawing
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 4:09 pm

These are some examples of direct sketching with a fountain pen, a CROSS fountain pen with the standard writing nib. By direct sketching I mean no pencil work before setting pen to paper.

This is the model from Sunday afternoon at the IAC.

After that pose I got her back for an hour pose so I started looking past her at my fellow artists.

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Live at Conseco Fieldhouse!
Filed under: Live Caricature
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 10:24 am

Saturday night I drew for a few hours at the Conseco Fieldhouse for a gathering of “Do-It-Best Hardware” folks.

Above are Rik Smits Dad and son. Rik was signing autographs and busy all the time I was there, maybe Rick or Greg got to draw him but I didn’t.

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How I Spent My Summer Not-Vacation!
Filed under: General, Studio Caricatures, Studio Illustration
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 9:36 pm

In amongst the summer live bookings I had some very nice studio jobs. Here’s two of them;

This was done for RN Specialties, a firm that works for the nursing profession.

This was done in Illustrator using the calligraphy brush tool and the Wacom tablet and pen.

This one was a longer term project requiring a lot of consultations between me and the client and eventually the offices of the Mayor and Governor! (Not me, the client dealt with the politicians!) For their party invitation I gave them sketches of three different football oriented scenes, scrimmage line, tail-gating and stadium seating and three variations on printing folds. They chose the stadium seating and the gatefold design. This is the art for the outside of the invitation;

That’s the Mayor of Indianapolis on the left and the Governor of Indiana on the right up top looking disapproving.
It split right down the middle to open to this art;

These are only the illustrations, the outside had no type but the inside had all the party information placed in the gray wall area. I laid it all out and their in-house designer tweaked it with their own typeface choices. If they send me examples of the actual printed pieces I’ll post them later.

I used Corel Painter IX for this project. I like it’s ability to mimic real world art materials like pen and ink and marker coloring. I can get a smoother “ink” line using Painter than I can using Photoshop, which is the program I used before becoming comfortable with Painter.

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Two from Thursday Nights
Filed under: Open Studio Painting
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 9:23 pm

Another case of collaring a student when the model didn’t show. He was reading hence the downcast eyes.

Another instance of using the sight-size method.

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88 degrees in October!
Filed under: Live Caricature
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 11:18 pm

Today I drew for four hours at a company outing. October is not supposed to be eighty eight degrees all day!

Thanks for the tip!

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Thursday Night at Herron
Filed under: Open Studio Painting
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 10:24 am

After a very busy summer I was able to get back to the Thursday night open model sessions at Herron. The one the right is one of the other artists. Sometimes the scheduled model fails to show up and there’s no students to dragoon into sitting for us. Then we must feed on our own!

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