A painting I did for St. Patrick's Day. :) I thought it would be interesting to merge two separate worlds together, yet still have it make sense in a funny way. For many of my paintings, I usually start in black and white and add color later. You can see my process for this particular painting in the series of images below.
After I came up with the idea of Mario jumping out of a Leprechaun's pot of gold, I did a quick n' dirty thumbnail to work out composition and value. Usually I would do more thumbnails to explore different compositions, but in this particular case I knew what direction I wanted to take this painting early on, so stuck with just one to save time.
I then sketched over the thumbnail to create a line art. During this phase I begin to work out details and designs. Even though I'm detailing things out, I still try to keep it loose, but I'm still mindful of each line that I put down. Keeping your drawing 'loose' doesn't mean putting marks down randomly without any thought. There should always be thought and intention with each mark or stroke placed.
After I'm done with the line drawing, I work on the values. Your values and shapes should be readable and support the overall composition. I also developed the background a bit more, being mindful to add character to the environment so that it isn't just an after thought. I used swirls, spirals and clovers to give it a celtic feel. You'll notice that I expanded the composition too as I felt the original comp was too cramped. The line art and value stage took the most time, and it should! Because you want to get these right or else the whole painting will fall apart.
If you get your values right, adding color is pretty easy and fun! I set my brush to 'color' mode in Photoshop and paint over the black and white. Setting the brush to color mode will not affect the values, so if you don't like the colors you've put down, just desaturate and add new colors!
All images ©Jimmy Lo