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I thought it would be fun to do another post about process. Here is a personal illustration and the steps leading to it.

The finished illustration. This is where we're headed.


Here I'm laying down thoughts as quickly as possible. I start with an image in mind. I'm dealing with the story and the mood first. I want to find an arrangement that is appealing as an abstract pattern and effective as a narrative.


At this point I'm starting to describe materials (trees, snow) and creating a varied surface. I'm changing my brush often to avoid a "samey" appearance. In choosing colors I'm thinking first about value and second about temperature.


This step deals mostly with the foreground. I want the shapes here to create an interesting pattern that leads a viewer's eye into the frame. I'm also concerned with what the shapes say about the terrain itself.


I'm finally down to painting the central figure. I've left the focal point until now because it requires so much drawing. I have to take a less instinctive approach here, bringing in reference and dealing with the specific construction of forms.


I've decided to redraw the figure. As Robert Henri advocates in The Art Spirit, I'll redraw a figure if I feel I've missed the intended feeling/gesture. Noodling rarely helps!


Just a few changes here. I've painted the figure in the back and pushed the value contrast and color saturation of my focal point.


Finished! I had a problem with the composition feeling sliced in two. Adding more horsemen in the middle helped solve this, and I like what it did for the story.


Thats it! Hope you found this helpful.

Reader Comments (30)

Amazing, Mr. Jones! It's always a treat to see your process.

Your compositions are always superb. It's like you know exactly what to simplify, and what to flesh out. But if I may ask, what do you mean by noodling?

Thank you for putting this together, +1 more for my Jaime Jones folder.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter11fingerspaul

Thank you so much for putting this together Jamie!

July 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Yong

Fantastic. Thanks for sharing the process and insights as well. Very Interesting.

July 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYohann Schepacz

Thank you so much sharing this!

July 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIgor Stravorskij

Awesome proccess, it definitely helps! thanks a lot!

July 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterwla91

Wow... Ok 2 things. Brushes NOW!:) and let's see that refrence oh master of sexy brushwork. If you made those colors up I'm going or drew that horse from memory I will kill and eat a seal pup;)

Great Demo Sir!

July 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShaddy

Wonderful, thanks for sharing :)

July 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Scholes

Thanks so much for this! Really helpful! :)

July 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJukka

Thank you, its wonderful to see how you work. So nice

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStewart L

This is amazing, my eyes are trapped within the picture , ahah, loved how you moved the shield, it was a hotspot for sure, the pallete is superb and way out of the usual, whata treat! Thanks for sharing

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuis Gama

Man. Love the process. It's brilliant.
Thanks for sharing.

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDessiner

Awesome! If you have time I would love to see a video process.

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoakim

great and impressive, thanks for sharing!!!

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlexander


July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

I think the sales of 'The Art Spirit' just went up...

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRuuhkis

unbuhrheeeeebuhburl!!! how you do that jose?!!!

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersteve

awesome jamie!! so fun to see the process! thanks for showing dude!

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrich

This is so helpful, and the picture is so immensly awesome! Really love everything about it.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBag

Really helpful thank you Jaime! :)

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRV-

Awesome! Block in already looks amazing!

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Zhang

One of your best yet Jamie!
Unfortunately my brain is not large enough to benefit much from the process stages. But its mesmerizing nevertheless. Thanks!


July 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkarlsimon

Your silhouettes and brushwork are amazing!

How long does something like this usually take you? Love that you can convey so much with such few strokes.

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChun Lo

Amazing. Thx for sharing this step by step Mr !

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKikö

Thank you :]

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCameron


here's an QA with Jaime Jones on the topic of concept art. It should answer some of the outstanding questions people may have.

Thanks for the process Jaime. It was full of insight.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharvel

Very strong. Thanks for posting.

May 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Becker

Really incredible - love this one!

September 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Hunter Ross


February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMilan


April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but the horse's legs are too short, and the hindquarters look like a dog's. The joints are in the wrong places. Maybe you could use some reference photos, which you obviously did for the horseman. Otherwise, it looks great. Beautiful light.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

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