Giovanni produced a pencil sketch of the composition so that he could build up all the elements required within one grouping. He used a soft lead pencil on tracing paper, and worked to the size of the final painting. Tracing down After working out all the major details, and possibly reserving particular areas independently on separate sheets, he transferred the composition to the board using a hard pencil. This left a fine groove in the surface which does not appear in reproductions, but which guided him during the painting of the picture. Implementing He began by painting in the three major areas. Foreground (a) in dark sepia, middle distance (b) in purplish brown, and sky (c) in ochre. He then copied the details from photographs or his own pencil reconstruction using gouache. Development This painting was progressed from dark base colors to light areas, each successive layer of detail being produced by an increasing thickness of pigment. Large areas were produced with thin washes of lighter colors, highlights and small dark details with thick gouache. The work was mostly produced with a variety of brushes, but areas such as the freezing breath [detail left) and the sunset were achieved using a fine foam sponge.
1 1 -t ft Illustration for a science journal,
Gouache colors and pencils u6iubx^-(42c,„x22cm
Robert Chapman's technique is to work in water solvent colors, building up the details of his compositions from many references and sources. His extensive knowledge of astronomy ensures that the final paintings are true descriptions of up-to-date planetary features. His main skill is in using an airbrush to describe different surface qualities. He normally works in a larger format than the final, printed illustration.
1 Robert first worked out the basic composition on tracing paper, basing the elements upon references collected over many years. He then sketched in the framework of the composition in soft pencil onto artist's watercolor board.
2 The foreground and planet Jupiter were masked out and the sky sprayed a dark blue. When dry, an uneven application of soft patches of black was sprayed onto the blue to create an illusion of depth.
3 Robert then 'splatter sprayed' white dots onto the sky, which was finally lightly fixed with a spraying of gum to prevent damage during later work.
4 The mask over Jupiter was removed and the sky was masked out. Bright, light bands of color were handpainted onto the planet's surface and then overpainted with darker details. These bands were fused with patches of spraying to blend the tones together. The surface granulation was achieved by adding pencil over dry paintwork.
5 The mask over Callisto was removed and the major dark areas painted in, followed by lighter areas. All the paintwork was kept thick on the moon's surface to simulate a rough texture.
6 The mask on the sky was removed and the side view of Jupiter's bands painted in with brush rule technique. Finally, any tiny irregularities between each masking were removed, and the tiny space probe, Voyager III, added.
Splatter work (right) Uneven splatter dots can be achieved by removing the nozzle of the airbrush and shooting bursts of paint at the surface. Great care must be taken to avoid accidental heavy clustering of splatter. Practise on spare paper before applying the technique to your work.
Mixed media work (right) When the paintwork is dry, very subtle changes in color and texture can be achieved by rubbing over the surface with the side of a pencil, chalk, or crayon. This technique must be applied near completion, because you cannot satisfactorily paint back over the pencil work.
Brush rule work (right) When adding very accurate line work, you can use a fine sharp brush and, with very little paint, add brush lines which are very straight. Hold the ruler's edge up from the surface, and run the brush's metal collar along the rule. Practise this technique before applying it to your painting.
Dry brush work (right) Coarse textures can be achieved if you apply thick paint with an old brush. Because the paint is dabbed onto the surface, or dragged onto it, do not use new or good quality brushes. Take care not to apply too much paint as this can peel off if handled roughly or can build up, creating artificial shadows which appear when your painting is photographed for reproduction.
Book jacket design for Majipoor Chronicles, published by Victor Gollancz Ltd, UK 271/2''x 191/4'' (70cmx49cm)
Jim Burns is a renowned artist who works for publishers and movie directors in the science fiction genre. He lectures at conferences on the role of the visual artist in creating new images to match the advancing ideas. His images are impressive because they have a high quality of reality, and depict a futuristic world of vehicles, people, buildings, monsters and landscapes. Using acrylic paints applied with both brush and airbrush, almost all of his inspiration springs from his ability to see opportunities for creating futuristic worlds from contemporary sources such as glossy magazines.
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