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Red Tailed Hawk - SBS

Discussion in 'Step by Step' started by beanpoleuk, Mar 19, 2018.


  1. beanpoleuk

    beanpoleuk Elite Member! Elite Member! Artist of the Month! Very Likeable!

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    I was asked to show someone new to airbrushing how to paint a bird of prey as a sort of teaching lesson, thought you guys would also like to watch the process as well :)

    He wanted a relativity standard bird of prey reference so I picked one with several area's of interest such as:
    Out of focus background
    Simple Trees
    Sharp focus area around the main subject
    Feathers
    'Depth of field'

    Hopefully I will be able to explain and demonstrate several different techniques to achieve the above.

    Ok, so the size is 16" x 12" on home made claybord using etac paint, I transferred the image by rubbing an HB pencil on the back of the printed reference then cut out a clear acetyl mask for the hawk before starting on the background.

    Step 1.

    Here I have put down a blue sky and some simple fluffy clouds , reduced white for the clouds using small 'puffing' actions with the AB randomly varying the distance from the surface.

    sky.jpg
    Next onto the the trees which need to be quite blurry and out of focus to make sure the main subject stands out and create a sense of depth to the composition, so I will only be using the airbrush no erasing or stencils as I need nice soft detail.

    First I use reduced black and lots of 'dots' (remember the dots and daggers exercises Mitch taught us :) ), varying the distance of the gun slightly slightly from the surface and making sure the dots overlap. I keep going over an area if I want it darker building up shapes and tones.
    tree_1.jpg

    Next I go over the same area's with green, but not just 'glazing' the whole area with colour, instead again just the the 'dot' technique which again helps to add to the perception of depth.

    tree_2_green.jpg

    (cant tell very well with my crappy camera ) :-( sorry

    Next same process again but with a little bit of brown ochre.

    tree_3_red ochre.jpg

    That's all there is to the tree's really just lots of dots with various colours and then go back in with reduced black to enhance the dark area's where required.

    tree_4_finished7.jpg

    So using the above process I did the rest of the background.
    background_done.jpg

    Tomorrow we start on the hawks Head :)
  2. SiRoxx

    SiRoxx Party Boy UK Style Very Likeable!

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    Thank you for sharing the progress on this one. I’ve wondered about the best way to get an out of focus background. Now I know, thanks Bean.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    beanpoleuk likes this.
  3. Jurien72

    Jurien72 Have Airbrush - Will Travel!

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    Wow this is terrific! I like how you describe what you're doing. The only thing bad is your timing- I coulda used this last week when I was home! :p
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  4. Darren

    Darren Needle-chuck Ninja

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    Looks great so far, thanks for explaining the process. I look forward to seeing the next steps.
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  5. Rick Martin

    Rick Martin Elite Member! Elite Member!

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    Well now i know how im going to be doing my trees in my mill project. Thanks Bean. I really like the way you explain things as you go.
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  6. beanpoleuk

    beanpoleuk Elite Member! Elite Member! Artist of the Month! Very Likeable!

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    Thanks, if it wasn't for people in this forum explaining how i wouldn't be able to paint as well as I can now. Just trying to return the favour :)

    Sent from my SM-J500FN using Tapatalk
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  7. Jonathon

    Jonathon Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Great start..thx for taking the time to explain and show examples
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  8. markjthomson

    markjthomson AKA Quick Draw !! (and still very happy) Staff Member Mod

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    Fantastic work and great WIP!
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  9. Big John 1945

    Big John 1945 Elite Member! Elite Member! Very Likeable!

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    Very nice sbs, looking forward to the next installment.
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  10. musicmacd

    musicmacd The Createx Bandit Very Likeable!

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    Love it
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  11. beanpoleuk

    beanpoleuk Elite Member! Elite Member! Artist of the Month! Very Likeable!

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    Next instalment :)..

    Decided to start on the beak, so masked off the top beak with a bit of frisket, (which I stuck to my palm several times to reduce the tackyness), then went in with paynes grey creating the shapes with just the airbrush, no erasing yet.
    beak1.jpg

    Then added textures with the edge of a fibre pen which I had sharpened flat with a piece of emery cloth.

    beak2.jpg

    Carried on a bit more...

    beak3.jpg

    The knack is creating the textures at the right time, if you create textures to early then by the time you have built up the colour with subsequent transparent layers , the textures will almost disappear, then if you go over them again they will stand out too much and give an unnatural scratched look ,.So I always try and create as much of the textures as possible with the airbrush first which means I only requre a small amount of erasing to supplement my airbrush work.

    Carried on with the bottom beak.

    beak4.jpg

    The inside of the mouth was first mapped out with burnt umbra , then lightly dusted with brown ochre, no erasing required. For the tongue I used flesh tone as the base the built up the shapes with reduced burnt umbra and red ochre .

    beak5.jpg

    Next time to start on the feathers... the small feathers on top of the head and around the eye are treated just as fur or hair, first I sketch out the intial shapes with reduced burnt umbra to establish general direction of the feathers and shapes.

    feathers1.jpg

    Then its a case of going back and forth erasing with the fibre pen, more layers of colour until happy with the depth of colour and textures.

    feathers2.jpg

    The larger feathers over the body will need a slightly different approach but again its a case of noting where each feather is , its shape and direction. There is actually quite a bit of detail in the image above, but poor lighting in my shed combined with my phone camera has dumbed everything down a bit.. :-(

    Next session will be the eye.
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  12. Jurien72

    Jurien72 Have Airbrush - Will Travel!

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    I'm enjoying the "dumbed down" look- it makes me believe I could actually do this!!!
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  13. GregStith

    GregStith Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    Great, great start! Really appreciate you sharing this detailed process. :thumbsup:
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  14. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    This is an AWESOME sbs Bean, its shows perfectly that if you tackle a picture a bit at a time then it all comes together.
    When i started, seeing a reference of this would have freaked me out and would have been put in the 'in 10 years time' folder, but you have shown that a reference neednt be as intimidating as it may first appear.

    Would you mind if i move it to 'Step by Step' ? its has so much detailed info that i'm worried it will get lost in the WIP section

    .
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  15. SiRoxx

    SiRoxx Party Boy UK Style Very Likeable!

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    Really nice SBS Bean. It’s really interesting to see the detailed broken down approach.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  16. beanpoleuk

    beanpoleuk Elite Member! Elite Member! Artist of the Month! Very Likeable!

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    Thanks, no problem move it to where ever you fell it should go :)
  17. beanpoleuk

    beanpoleuk Elite Member! Elite Member! Artist of the Month! Very Likeable!

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    Another update :)

    Just a short session today mainly around the eye area.

    First the pupil is filled in with paynes grey, and a base coat of burnt umbra for the iris, then again using the edge of my fibre pen I establish the textures, just a case of 'dabbing' the fibre pen.

    eye_start.jpg

    Next a layer of Golden Ochre..

    eye_golden_ochre.jpg

    Then a layer of Brown Ochre where required as I still want some of the golden ochre to show through ..
    eye_brown_ochre.jpg

    That's basically the eye sorted, now I just need to add the pupil highlight and complete the textures around the eye, and add a drop shadow with paynes grey and a shield I cut out from frisket.
    eye_done.jpg

    Then did a little more of the head feathers..

    half_head_done.jpg

    Thanks for looking,, any questions feel free to ask :)
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  18. Micha der Wolf

    Micha der Wolf Detail Decepticon! Very Likeable!

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    Awesome!
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  19. Jurien72

    Jurien72 Have Airbrush - Will Travel!

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    Oh freakin sweet! I have never seen anybody explain things this way before. It really makes sense and I can't wait to try it!
  20. beanpoleuk

    beanpoleuk Elite Member! Elite Member! Artist of the Month! Very Likeable!

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    Thanks, glad some understands my babbling :)

    Sent from my SM-J500FN using Tapatalk
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