Vesuvius – Work in Progress

I’ve been working on a piece for an upcoming show with some collegues, so I thought I’d post my process. With every project I start with 20-30 thumbnails, trying to show different concepts and compositions. In this case, I was stuck on one idea for a while, and it turned out a little bit too cliche for me. You can see my fiery gods in these sketches. They worked as thumbnails, but I don’t think there was enough there to keep me enthusiastic about the concept.


After a while I decided to go in a different direction. Instead of showing some vengeful act of the gods, I needed something more solemn, a representation of the aftermath. I chose to go with some ashy giants, mournfully stalking through a ruined city.

vesuvius sketch serena malyon work in process

I started drawing my scene right away. For big, complex pieces like this, I like to draw on tracing paper. Tracing paper’s great because it makes erasing a breeze, which is good for someone like me who needs everything redrawn 3 or 4 times before they’re happy. In the photo, you can see where I’ve scribbled graphite on the back to transfer the image to Arches watercolour paper.

I took a photo of my finished drawing, printed it out on sketchbook paper and did some colour studies. This helped me determine the mood of my painting.

vesuvius colour roughs serena malyon work in progress

Here’s the work in progress on the final. I’ve been building up ink washes to get the textures I want, and soon enough I’ll be painting the city. Keep checking back for more updates!

vesuvius  serena malyon work in progress


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