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    Process for Jedi Master Yoda painting. Oils on Board

When I begin an image, I like to start very loose.  After I have discussed with the client what their needs are, I create a series of small thumbnails.  These serve the purpose of fleshing out the imagery in my head and eliminating compositional elements that aren?t working.  During this thumbnail process I also research as much as I can on the subject and collect a good amount of reference relating to it.  Getting my mind into the topic is very important. This process can take time as I work the elements needed by the client into a picture that works for the narrative.
Once I find a sketch that is working, I begin to push in the values.  I feel that a composition relies heavily on the value pattern and I really try to develop this simultaneously with the drawing.  The sketch at this point, becomes more than just line.  From here I can explore the drawing in more detail and tighten areas up with the aid of good reference.  Ultimately, I try to stay loose while always looking for ways to push the drama of a piece through values.  After all this groundwork is laid, the painting itself becomes a much smoother process.
Building a picture can often be challenging, but that challenge is all part of the fun.  I really enjoy creating a strong drawing before I go anywhere.  That drawing becomes an anchor for me, holding my whole progression together.  In the end, what is most paramount is telling a good story throughout that process.