Wednesday, February 22, 2012


So here's my last pirate, this one a painting. Or at least, partly a painting. I scan in watercolor textures and then add a few shadows and highlights on photoshop, coloring some of the black line on another layer. Here's the black and white version: 

The figure is first drawn all in one piece, (aside from the background which is done separately) and then inked in various pieces at various scales. The hands and face were inked quite a bit larger than the jacket, and the belt and guns were done separately as well. I like to draw big when there's a lot of detail involved, and I add a lot of detail in the inks. So this is all one big puzzle pieced together. And here's the finish:

I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and so is my agent, Abigail! With this one I experimented with laying in some of the watercolor textures over pieces of the image in multiply, rather than what I typically do, which is confine them to my flats. (sorry folks, but this is just for the photoshop people). So these big swaths of watercolor texture and color get blended in with the rest of the image, and gives a lot of texture to whole thing. It's a good look. And here's a close-up of the finished face, which I showed a close-up of  in its dry brush phase in an earlier post:

You can see here where all those messy looking dry brush marks came in handy. They're sort of like the contour of a paint stroke, the outside of the paint stroke that gives the paint stroke shape, even though the inside is almost flat color. So it gives the illusion of an oil or acrylic brush stroke. Pretty cool, huh?  I've also got a nice blue reflective shadow that really brings out the form, with that hard touch of red on the nose to make it pop, subtle but effective. I love when I get away with this kind of expressionistic color--there are few circumstances in life where you see a pirate with a devil red face, but since the whole image is washed in red, it doesn't seem unnatural. 

These pirates are portfolio pieces, but I like them so much I'm doing a short story to go along with them. Maybe a magazine submission? We'll see...


  1. This is fantastic Jed! I absolutely love where your work is going. This reads extremely well, I'm loving the red background and especially the details in his face. My only small crit would be on the pants. They seem to have a similar texture/value to the sword and appear a bit flat. I think a few dry brush strokes could easily fixe that.
    Also, I'm not sure if this was intentional, but the way it's cropped it looks like the edge of the top is pushing his head down. It's more apparent when you view the piece from far away , not so much when you click on it.
    Nitpicking aside, I love it! great work Jed!!! :)

  2. Thanks Tin! As always, you've been very supportive and I really value your opinion. I think I'm going to leave this one alone as it is, though. I understand what you're saying about the pants, but I like the painterly quality of them, and I think the texture is different enough to differentiate them from the texture of the sword. There were dry brush strokes in the original drawing, and I did try that, but preferred it this way. Thanks again!