The Joy Of Painting Episode 3

March 15, 2006


…with Bob Ross lookalike, Dennis Jones…


…this seemed like such a good idea before I did it…


…painting myself out of trouble…

To recap yesterdays exciting episode; …my client has given me the go ahead on my pencil sketch, so I am now ready to paint the illustration.

Using a light table I re-pencil the sketch onto a piece of watercolor paper. I get out my palette of gouache, some fresh water and try to determine what the best approach will be to get color onto this picture. I decide to lay down a wash of cool colors over the entire page first, and then come back and “paint up” the detail. That will be my game plan on this one.

It is fun throwing caution to the wind and slopping paint all over the paper (first picture) but as I try to “paint up” the detail I begin to struggle. This is a little different than my normal approach and I begin to wonder if I have made a big mistake doing it this way. I also begin to sweat bullets. This must be the same feeling a cowboy has when trying to break a bucking bronco. At first he probably wonders why he ever climbed onto its back, but after the horse calms down he must feel a great sense of accomplishment. After about thirty minutes of riding this illustration I find a painting groove, fall into it and get the job painted out. (second picture)

I now need to scan the artwork into my computer to finish the poster. I have a large format scanner, but the illustration is larger than my scanner bed, so I take two scans of the picture (the top and the bottom) and then piece them together in Photoshop.

There were some really tense moments during the painting process, but nothing to compare with the anxiety that was waiting for me as I started working in Photoshop. Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode of The Joy Of Painting!

The Comments

Thomas M.

Whew! … It’s like watching your team down by 6 with 5 seconds to go and the ball is on the 40 yard line. The “Hail Mary” is called. Then the play begins to develop … The quarterback, looking very similar to Brett Favre, has good protection, but the pocket is quickly collapsing. He heaves the ball down the field, towards the end zone… Right now the ball is in the air and descending towards the huddled receivers and cornerbacks, both of whom are sweating bullets. Will it end with triumph or disappointment for our team?!?

Dennis Jones

…well, just so you know, my teams are the Colts and the Chiefs… and they never win the big game…

Don Jones

Thomas, You hit that metaphor right on the head. After reading Dennis’ first paragraph and his quick summary of a “BIG MISTAKE” I thought to myself “just trash it and start another one ” But this is the difference between professional illustrators and kindergarten sketchin’ hacks. Hacks call a time-out… the pros throw “the bomb.”

Thomas M.

Yes, I’ve got this visual in my head…


…that just fits with the story line… I too have been burnt by the Chiefs (Lived in KC from 79-01) and keep pulling for Manning and the Colts since moving to SW Michigan … So, I knew I couldn’t use either Green or Manning as visuals – just wouldn’t work 😉

Thomas M.

Don, thanks! (rummaging through the trash for yesterday’s sketch) … It just hit me … No Real (drat, gum’s on the paper) big deal. Heh … Yeah (hmm, I think I can (rip) … drat)…. So, anyway … GO TEAM!! (note to self … don’t write anymore good, positive, metaphors after giving up on something).

Doug Jones

This reminds me of the old PBS Julia Child trick, Dennis. First you show all the ingredients thrown into a pan… place the pan in the oven… and pull out a DONE cake! (or whatever) Presto! Note to Nick Jones Everybody… I think there is a market here for a DVD…

Dennis Jones

…NickJonesEverybody is vacationing… I mean… working… in Mexico this week…

Chris Norman

I haven’t had this much fun reading a blog in a while. I look forward to returning to the website the next day to see the next adventure in the joy of painting. But, I have a question: What color do you use to outline your drawings or do you use a dark pen to give it definition after painting? Thank you so much, I look forward to tomorrows blog.


I love what that cool wash has done for the feeling of your illustration

Doug Jones

Dennis loves the feeling of a cool wash too…

Bucky Jones

Dennis, totally cool. Love seeing and reading your process…and literally seeing the sweat beads on your forehead. I had the same question as Chris about how you color the outline of your drawing/painting? I hesitate to ask how long the process took you from transferring the pencil sketch to the completed painting. Amazing.

Dennis Jones

…ok Chris and Bucky… 99.5% of the line work in one of my pictures is just painted line done with a brush in the process of painting the picture… I try to completely “paint” a picture to the finish… but at the end I always darken up some of the lines with various things… a fine tip pen, a brush marker, whatever is laying around that will do the job… but my favorite thing to add those final touches with is just a plain old colored pencil…

Bucky Jones

Thanks, Dennis. It’s always curious and interesting to learn how other illustrators work. Thanks again for sharing. Oh, and keep these Step-By-Steps coming!—- Okay, I’m heading back to the playground for some kickball. Maybe this time you guys will ACTUALLY show up….pleasssssse.

Travis Jackson

Greetings from NWArkansas….Great work Dennis…I’m enjoying the transformation of this little work of art….fun stuff…keep it up…you and your brothers are an encouragement. (ah shucks…tear drop).

Travis Jackson

One other note…I love the little details throughout…fun to look at and feel the textures….for example the chairs…just the little touches of highlights and shape of cushion makes me feel like I have sat in a chair like that before. Great stuff…

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