So it’s been a while because 1. I’m on a business trip in Colorado, 2. I just turned in my control sheet for the Dragon*Con art show and ambitiously filled it with paintings I haven’t even started, and 3. I have commissions to finish. Excuses, excuses, I know. So here’s a ridiculously detailed step-by-step view of how I do my “turn your character into a cephalopod” commissions.

Whether your character is a cat-lady, an elf warrior, or a sparkly vampire, I can transform it into a cute octopus with a hobby. The first step is to get a character reference and ask what “accessories” to include – like ears, wings, or game controllers.


Step 1: Sketchy


Step 2: Transfer. Sometimes I sketch right on the paper, but this was going on Canson pastel paper, which is sorta wimpy when it comes to eraser abuse. I use homemade carbon paper and transfer with a blue ballpoint pen so I can see what I’ve traced. Also, I added an arm. Did you notice?


Step 3: Ink over the tracing and put in the shadows. I typically choose a dark color, complimentary to the main color, to shade everything. This character is blue, so I used a warm brown.


Step 4: Lay in the main color. I used Prussian Blue for this, and mixed it with white for the lighter areas.


Step 5: Add secondary colors. I put some lavender on the suckers and dark blue markings.


Step 6: More detailing. Added hair color and game controller colors.


Step 7: Highlights! I used my magical white gel pen to add sparkle. This step really brings it to life.


Step 8: Ta Dah! Going over the inked lines one last time brings it all together. The gouache really dulls the dark ink and can even cover it completely if it’s too thick.

So that’s it! It’s a fun process. I’m getting faster all the time. Any questions?

Thanks for coming today. Class dismissed!

6 thoughts on “Step-by-Step”

  1. Very easily. It’s sort of like white-out in consistency. If one coat isn’t enough, you can let it dry and add another.

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