Mixed Media: Of the lost

I spent a couple of hours last weekend trying to will a new ink into existence. It was an idea that I’d had for a few weeks, and something that I was really looking forward to. It would have been something like this:


As my daughter said, “the bad guy has his own theme music!”

But it was one of those times where the idea had its moment, and that moment had passed. I just couldn’t get into it. Not that I couldn’t have created a good work from it, I’ve been doing this art thing for long enough that I’m pretty okay at it (opinion).

There are just some times where my brain really wants to go another direction, and I have to make sure to stop and listen to it. In this case, despite having sketched a couple of pretty good ideas for the guitar guy, it wasn’t the right art for that moment.

So, I erased all of my interesting work, and started over with no real idea of where it was heading.

I started sketching in a new eye, using the 2H pencil I typically start out with. It creates quite faint lines, perfect for inking over later on. I gradually started working on more of the face, and eventually realized that I wanted to leave the art far more open over the rest of the piece. I then started inking.

Materials-wise, I use Pigma Micron pens (mostly numbers o2, o5, 08, and 3) for the general inking. I put in a bottom background layer of black in the really dark areas with a Pitt Big Brush ink pen. Since the Pitt only does a cursory job, I go back over it at the end with a brushed on Higgins Calligraphy Ink. Click on the image below (and every image on the page) for a larger version.

of the lost process; art of russell dickerson

The color was created with acrylics, watered down to a watercolor level of saturation. I could use watercolors or inks, but the acrylics for me work just as well and they are easily available on my desk.

I have areas of full color as I work, and then I try to mix the edges of those areas with the next color. I also, essentially, stab at the paper with the brush that I’m using to give it a bit of a texture. Once the acrylic dries, I then painstakingly outline nearly all of the unique patterns in the color, using (mostly) a Micron 02 pen. Here’s the effect up close:

of the lost process; art of russell dickerson

Here are some of the progress shots that I posted to my Instagram (Follow me on Instagram here, I’ll feel loved!). I realize now that I should also have taken some better photos with my DSLR at the same time, but these will do in a pinch:

Here’s what the final art looks like. It’s 12″ x 18″, ink and watered down acrylics on 140 lb. Cold Press watercolor stock. I call it, Of the lost.

Of the lost; art of russell dickerson

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Russell Dickerson has been a lot of things over many years. Author, artist, designer, winner of awards and recognition, pursuer of the truth, leader of the earth after armageddon.