Let’s say you signed up to one of my challenges, you get a prompt into your inbox and it’s a weird one.
Or maybe a friend or a loved one asks you for a beautiful canvas for their new home, and while you love the idea of creating something, you also have literally no idea where to start.
First of all, deep breath, and congratulations!
Seriously, joining a challenge it’s a beautiful way to push yourself, try new things and get out of your art-comfort zone.
And being asked for a commission of your work is a pat-on-the-back moment, someone loves your work so much they want to have it in their home, forever. And this is awesome!
As I've worked on a lot of commissions, I know you get to a "am I even able to do this?" sort of feeling. Sometimes it's hard to translate people expectations with your ability to create.
But it's very possible, let’s get down to business!
The process of creating a piece of art can be a long and challenging journey, but the end result – a beautiful, finished, framed artwork – is well worth the effort.
In this post, we'll go over the steps involved in taking an art concept and turning it into a finished framed artwork, from initial planning to final execution and framing.
Step 1: Develop Your Concept
Where do you start?
Before you begin creating your artwork, it's important to take some time to develop your art concept. This involves thinking about the theme, message, or emotion that you want to convey through your art.
Consider what inspired you to create this piece, and what you hope to achieve with it. You might also want to do some research on similar artists or art styles to get a sense of what has been done before and how you can put your own spin on it.
Step 2: Sketch and Plan Your Artwork and Colours
Once you have a clear concept in mind, it's time to start sketching and planning your artwork. This can be a crucial step in the process, as it allows you to experiment with different ideas and compositions before committing to a final design.
Start thinking about your colour palette. If you don't know how to select your colours, I got you covered. Watch the recording of a workshop I hosted on how to pick colours.
Enter your email address here 👇 and I'll send you to the recording now
Try out your ideas on a sketching paper to explore different compositions, perspectives, and details, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. This is also a good time to consider the medium you'll be using, as well as the size and format of your artwork.
A tip here: work on a medium size. Painting a big canvas (as well as a small one, even though in a slightly different way) is rewarding but it comes with challenges that - at this stage of your experiments - you might want to park aside before they become blockers.
Step 3: Create an Underpainting
An underpainting is a definition of spaces, whether you’re painting a portrait or an abstract artwork, it’s like a map to build on.
Once you have a solid sketch or plan in place, it's time to start creating a more detailed drawing or underpainting of your artwork. This will be the foundation of your final piece, so it's important to take your time and define dark and lighter sections.
The goal is to create a clear, well-defined image that you can build on in the next step.
Step 4: Add Colour and Finishing Touches
Once you have a strong foundation in place, it's time to start adding colour and finishing touches to your artwork. This can be a fun and rewarding step, as you really get to see your piece come to life.
Be sure to consider the colour palette you'll be using, as well as the brushstrokes, textures, and other details that will help bring your artwork to life.
Remember to take your time and be patient – adding too much too quickly can lead to a cluttered, overwhelming composition. If your paint needs to dry up before you proceed with the next layer, let it. You can go make yourself a cup of tea in the meantime. Tea is always a good idea.
Step 5: Evaluate and Make Adjustments
Once you've completed your artwork (YAY! Congratulations!!), it's important to take a step back and evaluate it as a whole. Move your artwork in the light, step back and observe.
Look for any areas that may need adjustment, such as proportions that are off, colours that don't quite work, or details that are too cluttered. And then make any necessary adjustments.
At this stage, is also a good idea to seek feedback from others, as they may have a fresh perspective on your artwork.
Step 6: Protect and Preserve Your Artwork
Once your artwork is complete, it's important to take steps to protect and preserve it.
This might involve varnishing - here you can find the details on how I varnish my art - or framing your final piece, or storing it properly to prevent damage. Varnishing can help to protect your artwork from dust, dirt, and other environmental factors.
I always think of framing as the seal of completion and it can also help to keep your artwork safe from accidental damage. When framing your artwork, be sure to choose a frame and matting that complements your piece and helps it to stand out.
Developing your art concept is an important step in the creative process but remember that art is a form of self expression and personal exploration, so it's okay if your art concept changes during the process of creating.
Conceptualising your work is not a one time process but a continuous one. It's important to trust your instincts and to stay true to yourself.
Be open to new ideas, but also to be selective about what you choose to include in your concept (let's be open to ideas but let's not add everything!!).
With practice and patience, you'll develop a concept that is both authentic and powerful. And a final artwork showing who you are.