"PJ reached in and thought he saw something hiding behind the baseball."
The idea is that PJ is out playing a game of baseball with some friends, and the kid at bat hits a good one way out of the park. PJ, who's playing in the outfield, has to then search through the woods to find the ball. He comes across a fallen tree, and something draws him closer to look there for the ball. When he looks down a hollow branch, he sees the ball... and something else hiding behind it!
Once I got the idea together, I started the painting process. First, I drew out the illustration on acrylic paper, traced the lines with a Sharpee, then taped the paper to a board on my easel:
Next, I covered the whole image with a layer of gel medium, and then a dark brown glaze layer for my underpainting. Once both dried, I started blocking in the painting with basic colors:
From there, I built up the painting in layers, adding more details to give form to the figures, working with highlights and shadows, etc:
I reworked PJ's facial expression and the shadow on his hand a few times as well as the color of the little critter's fur and cape before I felt satisfied with the piece. Here's the final product!
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