One of my latest illustrations is a portrait of Albert Pujols, who plays first base for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim MLB team. I referenced a photo I captured of the ballplayer between plays during a game versus the Mariners in 2015. Instead of an action shot, it’s a relaxed and contemplative pose, which appealed to me as a subject.
This is my source photo, unedited:
My painting process
I developed the illustration in watercolor and gouache on paper, with some final details using colored pencils. This is my step-by-step development of the painting from sketchbook concept to finished work.
The rough concept layout in my sketchbook:
The finished line drawing at full size, transferred onto stretched Fabriano Artistico paper:
The paper is 100# cotton. I soak it for about 10 minutes, let excess water run off, and stretch it on a pine board using thumbtacks. I let it dry overnight and then create the drawing.
The first lay-in of transparent watercolor washes:
Defining light and shadow shapes to reveal form:
Here I pay attention to light logic, looking for form and core shadows, areas reflected light, and cast shadows.
My go-to color mix for light skin is a mixture of Naples yellow and orange lake deep. With transparent watercolor, the paper provides the white. I adjust from warm to cool and light to dark by adding various amounts of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burnt umber, alizarin crimson sap green and pthalo blue. I mostly use Winsor Newton brand watercolor and gouache.
First lay-in of the background underpainting. Here I’m using cool hues to help create more separation between the warm hues on the figure and the ground. I have some circles going on which relate to the seams in a baseball, and also help to frame the head and hand.
The background is overpainted with gouache. I’m keeping the brush strokes loose and using high key tints of blues and violet. I added a pop of yellow along the seam lines. The background washes influence the gouache layers.
I build up light and shadow in the jersey and ball cap, and continue to flesh out the skin tones. From here I continue to add detail as I refine the painting to a finished state.
This is the finished work, signed and ready to be photographed.
All images are © 2017 Alvalyn Lundgren. All rights reserved. To purchase an image license, please contact me with your request.