The gekko cowboys is a commissioned painting for a birthday present. The customer wanted a happy feeling painting, a real painting, the one and only original framed on the wall. I did a watercolor work combining some of their favorite pastimes, all things western and pet reptiles. In this document I show the whole process of making this painting.
There was no digital help or correcting errors in Photoshop this time, so the artwork needed a lot more accuracy and planning before actually painting.

I wanted an action shot to have a dramatic painting so I ended up with gekkos riding on turtles lassoing their crickets. I started with thumbnailing some variations and then working towards a more detailed sketch and composition. I also locked the paintings proprtions at some point.
When I had a detailed enough sketch I scanned it to the computer and started finalizing the composition. I also used the computer to test out different color and lighting options for the painting. I ended up with a sunset to get a more impressive picture with more vibrant colors.
After I was happy with the general color scheme I tested them out with my watercolor pigments to be sure that they work on paper like I want them to. I did a small color sketch of the main elements with watercolors. I also used this as a reminder of what pigments I will use during the painting to get the right results. I regocnise most of my favorite pigments by the color or mixed colors on the paper.
After allt his I started the painting and here is my setup. The paper is stretched and attached to a board. It has a faint pencil outline sketch of the picture. On the wall I have the printed the sketch, a light value sketch, detailed color sketch and attached the watercolor sketch all for reference while working. I have a variety of brushes of different sizes and uses, plates for mixing colors, paper to dry the brush when needed, paper to test out the colors before putting them on the actual painting and plenty of water jars so I don't need to change them too often. With this work I also had a small sponge to wash off some color for certain planned effects.
Here's how the painting progressed. After all the preliminary work and planning making the actual painting took about 10 hours. The sketching and planning took the same time, so over all the painting took around 20 hours to make.
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