For the drawing, a common, labour saving method for transferring and scaling an accurate drawing on to a large board, is to project it using an overhead projector. The original is photocopied or Xeroxed on to a sheet of clear acetate. This is then placed on to an overhead projector and the image is projected on to the board. Because of this method I was also able to bypass using a pencil to establish the under drawing moving instead, straight on to the brown line stage.
Brown Line Under painting / Rigger Brush
I use a rigger brush to paint in a strong dark brown line drawing. A “rigger” is a long haired brush used by artists to draw long straight lines. It gets its name from marine painting where it was used to paint in the rigging of ships. Durer said “draw with a needle, paint with a broom” very good rules of thumb for painting and drawing.
An “under painting” is a strong lined drawing usually done with dark brown fast-drying acrylic paint (Burnt Umber) This is necessary for most oil paintings. Oil paints are opaque. If you apply them over a pencil drawing the pencil will no longer be seen. To avoid losing the guide that is the drawing, the artist should use an under painting. This much darker, stronger guide can still be seen when he or she starts to add in layers of colour over the top of the drawing.
Still using my Burnt Umber acrylic paint I continue to establish a strong brown line drawing outlining the main lines of the figure. Add plenty of water to the acrylic to achieve a good flow with the lines.
As can be seen in the photograph above, (still using the Burnt Umber acrylic) I began to use thin layers of paint with an 1″ brush over the top of the now dry brown lines. These little thin washes add to the drawing process, establishing shadows and highlights early on. Remember! In a project like this it is vital that the drawing be as detailed as possible. The drawing is your foundation and your only road map. Without a strong accurate drawing it will become nigh on impossible to continue the painting.