Step One: Drawing/Composition

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Step One when I create a painting is to get the drawing and composition right. I used to rush this step and get to the fun part (painting), but I've learned how valuable it is to the final product to get the drawing right. I'll edit photos on my computer (play with lighting, play with color, crop in, zoom out...) and then print an 8x10 on my printer. I love using tracing paper to identify and simplify the main lines and shapes I want to pull out in the painting. Tracing paper also allows me to remove things or play with their position in the composition. Also, as I draw it out, I'll find hidden gems in the picture I might not have noticed, and they help determine how big I should paint it (that's a fun pattern of shadows, I'm going to want lots of space to show that off.. Or this is pretty simple, a big size would overwhelm this small story). Once I'm happy with the drawing and have chosen a size, I'll use transfer paper to put the drawing on the board (which are always gessoed in black). I used to spend hours measuring and doing complex math to freehand the drawing on the board. Transfer paper (and oversized copies of my drawings) have saved me hours of unnecessary duplicate work and improved my efficiency. Another secret to efficiency is to work in batches, so I just finished getting twelve boards drawn and ready for step two! Stay tuned...