The Closest thing I’ve come to Fan Art
A lot of artists I know do fan art, and honestly I really like a lot of it, but I haven’t done much of it myself. Partly because I have been busy doing other things, and partly because I feel that much of it is just copying another’s work. There are exceptions of course, where the artist doesn’t directly copy the work of another, but is simply inspired by it. I always knew that if I did any kind of fan art, I would lean toward the “inspired by” type because I wouldn’t want to do a direct copy of another’s work. Well, one of my guilty pleasures is watching the Walking Dead, and one of my favorite characters on the show is Daryl Dixon, so I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a Daryl Dixon inspired piece for some time, but what? A portrait? Maybe someday, but that would end up being pretty much a copy of a photographer’s work, so no… at least not at this time.
Well, finally I played with ideas long enough, and came up with something. I decided that the wings on Daryl’s vest would be the inspiration for a piece, but I didn’t want to directly copy the exact wings. I wanted them to be close enough that a fan of the show would see the similarity, but to still be unique enough that I could feel they were actually my art, and not just a copy.This Daryl Dixon inspired art is my biggest yet, and is part sculpture, part painting. Click To Tweet
My Biggest Canvas Yet
I started out by getting the largest canvas I’ve ever worked on before, it is 3 1/3 feet long and 2 1/2 feet wide, not huge for some artists, but the largest I have worked on so far.
Not Just a Regular Painting.
I primed the canvas with black gesso, and then took a pencil and sketched out the outline of how I wanted to shape the wings, but I knew I wanted this to be more than just a flat painting. For one thing, the design on Daryl’s vest is very flat looking, kind of a quilted set of wings, and I wanted mine to be similar, but not copies, what better way than to make them dimensional? So I planned on using modeling paste. Modeling paste is this stuff that is kind of like thin clay or maybe a thick painting medium. You can put it on canvas and, to an extent, sculpt with it. It isn’t thick enough to do something like a bust of someone, but you can certainly sculpt flowers, or leaves, or in this case wings.
Lots of texture.
So after sketching the shape, I started scooping on the modeling paste with a palette knife, and then using the knife to sculpt in texture and lines on the modeling paste.
I kept working in this way, in time though I saw that if I put the modeling paste on too thick, it cracked, so I put it on a little thinner, let it dry, and then did another layer. I was able to repair the cracks from that were already there by filling them in with more modeling paste. I did the bottom halves of the wings first.
Eventually I had finished two layers of modeling paste over the entire surface of both wings, and sculpted in texture with the palette knife. After that, I turned my attention to the background, I spackled back paint on thick with a palette knife, trying to mimic the texture of leather. Then, I wanted to put in silver, and tried several ways of adding it to the higher portions of the the black paint, but it just wasn’t coming out the way I wanted, so I ended up covering it with more black paint. Then I went to work on the wings again. I started adding paint to give them the kind of off-white dingy look of the wings on Daryl’s vest.
Eventually I finished with all the paint on the wings, and went back to my idea of silver. I still wanted to use silver to represent chrome, kind of a nod to the fact that Daryl is the quintessential biker, so I wanted the leather texture, and a bit of chrome. When I tried to work the silver into the background though, it kept just making the background look dusty. So, I eventually decided on a border.
So, it took weeks of work, and over $120 worth of art supplies, but I am very happy with the finished work. Right now it is hanging at the Kitsap Mall, but once its exhibition there is done, if it hasn’t sold I will post it for sale here and on Etsy, I’m asking $425 for it, which I think is a steal considering the amount of hours that went into it. Now, perhaps someone will buy it, but if not I have the perfect spot picked out for it in my home, where I will glad to display it permanently.
I will post higher quality photos of it in the future, but for now I will just say that this is one of my favorite works so far. I plan to do more textured works, next time I am thinking of using paper mache’ on the canvas so I can get even more texture and sculpting going on. I just have to figure out what my next textured work will be.