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Work process of "Last Friday night at the gas station"

Disclaimer: This process and the narration are just purely based on my preferred techniques/styles.

  1. A rough pencil sketch. I usually only make a couple of straight lines as a foundation for perspective. I don't create any little details here because I know that they are going to be muted later anyway when painted.

2. I paint primary colors on each element in the painting (the parking lot, the building, the store neon sign..etc). I always double or triple coat the surface with paint so that they look neat and smooth. But when painting walls, I suppose leaving some uneven patches is actually great because most of the cement walls we see daily aren't really smooth at all.

3. As I started working on little details, I realized that the light direction was a bit off so I had to re-calculate the direction of the light source.

3. After fixing the light direction, I added more mid-tones in order to make it not too contrasty. It depends on everyone, but I personally believe that as you add more mid-tones in your painting, your eyes will feel more comfortable looking at it. Plus, This way, it is going to be a lot easier to create a visual hierarchy (making a focal point). The contrast can be great when intending to put emphasis but if the whole thing is contrasty, the whole thing is going to be emphasized, which means there is going to be no room for visual hierarchy to enter.

4. In this step, I started working on details in more depth. I forgot to mention it earlier but it is always nice to make a solid perspective point and light source in the very beginning. This is because all of the visual elements in the painting are going to be directly affected by them unless they are intended to be surrealistic.

5. Lastly, I added the last touch with black and white paint on the parts where I wanted to emphasize the most, which means I made the last strong contrast on the focal point (a woman leaning on the wall, a boy with a trash can). This way, I can strengthen the visual hierarchy one last time.

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