Sam Weber made a visit to BYU this last week. Really a terrific illustrator and humble guy. If you lined up a room of illustrative work and then had the artists line up on the opposite side, I dare say most of us would never connect the work with the artist. Based on Sam's work, I was expecting a tattoo, cropped hair, goatee sporting chap. Well you can see the picture of Sam, far from it.
Sam began his stay with us by doing a demo of his process. Sam's work is 70% hand work (ie sketch, acrylic, watercolor) and 30% digital (photoshop). He starts with a tightly rendered sketch, full values, to determine the value patterns. Sam lightly transfers some of the information to his paper. Then using friskit paper that's overlayed onto his Fabriano heavy watercolor paper (didn't catch the weight but probably a 300 lbs cold press) he carefully cuts out of the friskit the general shape of the image. Sam likes to keep clean edges and this is how he does it. Once he has prepared his paper, he mixes the liquid acrylic to get a neutral grey green paint. At this stage Sam said he's simply looking for texture and likes to use natural sponges and really anything available to get that underlying texture.
Once he has some nice textures then he starts to build up his dark values. He dries the acrylic layer and mixes watercolors that are similar in neutral tones. Sam uses the watercolors to build up his values and dry brushes in any details.
Once he feels that he has lifted out and pushed the paint as far as he can then Sam heads to the scanner and at 750 dpi scans his image in. Using Adobe Photoshop, Sam continues to adjust his layers using the multiply layer mode at various opacities and the dodge and burn tools to strengthen the values. Sam did take the time to show the digital process to those remaining to see it, but alas I had to head back to work and was unable to catch that. But below is a slightly skewed view of the painting, pre-digitization.
I love Sam's soft washes and the textures he manages to work in. Really lovely work despite the sometimes macabre subjects, but he enjoys the work and has plenty of it coming in. It was terrific to see Sam and his process, all in all an inspiring few hours.
To view more of Sam's work, here's the link to his site http://sampaints.com/