The illustrations in Jubal's Wish may have been created digitally on a Macintosh, but the skills involved are the same as with oil painting. This is why the phrase “hand-painted on a computer” sounds like a contradiction, but is not. The Wacom Digital Art Pad (in the above picture) makes it all possible. The pen and tablet work just like traditional media – one stroke at a time, with layer painted over layer, finished off with multiple layers of transparent glazes, just on a Macintosh. The best part is being able to save each layer and add and change layers without having to start all over.
The intention of the first stage in the illustration is discovering the rhythm of the composition, using only one color. This allows me to establish a pattern of darks and lights using large “washes” of a semi-transparent color, in a neutral earth tone, such as Burnt Ochre (as shown).
The second stage involves painting large, rough areas of color over the initial under-painting. It’s okay if areas of my under-painting show through as it provides a unified light for my illustration.
In the next stage, I begin to add more detail, by sketching my character, Jubal, into the painting. One major advantage to digital painting is the ability to sketch a character as many times as necessary without any risk of damage to the original painting. With traditional media, I would sketch a character on another canvas, and then transfer the drawing to the original painting. Without having to transfer the drawing from elsewhere, I find that the character is much more integrated into the entire painting.
The green square is a very accurate indication of the amount of space necessary for the text.
The final stages involve adding more and more detail to both the character and his surroundings. In order for an artist to control this complex process, the entire painting must emerge simultaneously, one layer at a time.
Presenting, the finished painting:
Once upon a bright and sunny day, Jubal Bullfrog skipped down the flower path. He was so happy his feet barely touched the ground.