I have begun the process of starting on a new large pastel drawing. I wanted to share a little bit about my process of how I begin a large painting. First, and I would think the most important start to a large work of art is having a creative thought as to what you are trying to say with the piece, for me that is a narrative. Sometimes it takes a while for me to come up with a new idea for a new painting and it doesn't always "come to me" the same every time. Typically there will be an idea or theme in my mind based on thoughts or theories that I've recently been dwelling upon. Those thoughts and theories sometimes produce specific imagery in my mind as I ponder them, almost like receiving a vision (and I don't mean to sound hokey), but it literally is like a vision...a pictorial story that unfolds in my head.
After I have the idea and direction for a new painting, I then organize a photo shoot with the models I think will best support the cast of my characters, they are usually family or close friends. I prefer working with people who are close to me because I will have a greater bond with my subject since I am familiar with their faces and personalities. When the photo shoot is finished I will start to sift through the images looking for the perfect pose, the perfect face, the best hand placement, the right angle. For this particular painting I took about 500 photos so that I would have plenty of options, knowing that something would definitely work. In the end I will most likely be working from 4-6 different photos composing different elements from each to make the final composition.
Before staring on the final large drawing I will create a smaller preliminary drawing to work out placements and scale of the figures and their environment. From this preliminary sketch I will then start the larger final image. The pictures below are the start of the final composition in charcoal in which color will follow!