A Guide to the Artist's Painting Technique

Boris's advice to artists and the importance of study

Boris has been drawing from a very early age, in fact he claims he cannot remember a time when he was not drawing. He attended art school and is grateful for the formal training he received there.

It offers several benefits, a good teacher can share his experiences and keep you on a straight path, you can see the work of fellow students and benefit from their feedback, strive to attain the level of those above and recognise your current standing along the artistic path.

Preparing The Boards

format_quote The first step with any painting is having a good surface on which to work. Boris and Julie do not use canvas for their illustrations as the texture of even the finest interferes with fine detail...

By choice, Boris and Julie use Strathmore cold press, double weight illustration board. This is made of 100% cotton, is acid free and permanent. They reserve canvas for private works and experiments.

format_quote One problem Boris and Julie find with illustration board is that it is naturally too absorbent, sucking the paint in and causing it to dry too quickly.format_quote

Coating With Gesso

preparing a board.
format_quote It takes several hours for the boards to dry so Boris and Julie generally take half a day for the job to prepare several boards at a time.format_quote

Preventing Bowing

preparing a board.
format_quoteTwo inch tape is laid over the sandwiched boards to create a frame around the area to be painted.format_quote

Creating a Border

preparing a board.
format_quotePressing down the edges to prevent paint seepage.format_quote

Preventing Paint Seepage

preparing a board.
format_quoteBoris and Julie use Windsor & Newton sable series 7 N0. 0 or 1. These are expensive, and they use one or two per painting.format_quote

Preparing Brushes

preparing a board.
format_quoteDisposable palette pads are used for each new painting. Not allowing the paint to dry for more than three or four days otherwise it dries too quickly on the board and becomes to work.format_quote

Boris's Palette

preparing a board.
Julie:format_quoteI usually put most of these colours on my palette even if they're not all going to be used, because you don't want to have to stop in the middle to add a new colour.format_quote

Julie's Palette

preparing a board.

Reference Materials

format_quote Although the starting point for Boris and Julies pictures is usuallly a rough, or even quite detailed sketch, the realism of their paintings comes from a skilled use of reference material. For this they have accumlated a vast library of art and nature books, magazines - anything really that shows textures and details they may want to paint. Much of this they have photographed themselves. format_quote

format_quoteOften a model will be photographed with suitable props, this adds realisim to the scene and saves searching for references materials later on.format_quote

A Good Range of Props

preparing a board.
format_quoteBeing professionals we've built up our equipment little by little, but most consumer digital camers now give really good-quality pictures.format_quote

Preparing Brushes

preparing a board.
format_quoteI'm quite sure that if cameras had been available to the Old Masters many of them would have prefered working from photographs.format_quote

Photographing Models

preparing a board.
format_quoteIn developing a rough sketch, I like to think in terms of solids before defining anything. I begin with masses or lumps and a tentacle, and so on.format_quote

The Rough Sketch

preparing a board.
format_quoteUsing selected photos, a print out in sepia tones at the intended size is made, a line drawing using tracing paper is made from this.format_quote

Transfer Sketch to Board

format_quoteThe line drawing from the photo is kept handy so that it can be referenced later on.format_quote

Adding shadows

format_quoteThe background is always the first thing to be rendered, working from the furthest elements to the closest.format_quote

Working on the Background

format_quoteI often start with face and eyes of the main figure because they are the main focus of a painting.format_quote

Adding Detail

format_quoteIf ever you feel your getting bogged down in an area, move on to somewhere else, and come back to it later.format_quote

The Finished Painting

format_quoteA review of all the stages from start to finish for the painting Tarot format_quote


format_quoteA review of all the stages from start to finish for the painting Three of Swords.format_quote


format_quoteA review of all the stages from start to finish for the painting Ice Princess.format_quote