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Friday, January 23, 2009

The Reluctant Dragon: Final Painting

The painting was done at 12x18 on gessoed massonite. Although I am pleased with the results overall, I am still a bit nervous about wether to attempt the Battle of Five Armies like this. I have a feeling that with the level of detail it will demand, it might actually take me more than a month and a half to finish. Also, I will need to render the piece at around 42" wide. Another problem is how to scan in a painting (on massonite) at that size. Does anyone out there know of any scanners that can handle something that size? I'd hate to have to try to piece that together using our 12 x 18 scanner here at the studio...


  1. Wow - I love those characters! Great image :)

  2. I scanned a huge 40+ in drawing on a 11x17 scanner. It was a mess. I was piecing together 9 different scans. None of them quite fitting together.

    My only suggestion is to have it professionally photographed. If it's lit well, and the photograph is in a high enough resolution it should turn out fine.

    And the reluctant dragon turned out fabulous. Upon your recommendation I picked up the art of Paul Bonner and now I'm itching to try my hand at some fantasy stuff.

  3. Love the colors and the facial expressions particularly. Very cool!

  4. You could probably have it scanned on a drum scanner--but then, you couldn't do it on masonite. I tend to agree though that having it professionally photographed would probably be the best option...

    This piece is exquisite though. Very well done.

  5. WOW! This is what I think illustration is suppossed to be. Hats off, Justin!

    Regarding scaning the work, there are professional scan services for artists. I don't know if you can find one in Portland. Where I live in Bellingham, WA, there is this place called ArtScan and they can handle anything professionally. It's not too expensive, I think.

  6. That is gorgeous. It's even more impressive considered it was done with traditional media.

  7. Justin, I don't think I've seen any of your previous work in oils, but in the Reluctant Dragon, your handling of tone and colour is magnificent. It's fantastic that you can bring the image to this standard without having to use digital as a crutch or safety net.
    I wait nervously for your next 'exercise'.

  8. Absolutely freaking bloody brilliant!!!... Haha :D

    That is an complete masterpiece in every sense of the word man!
    Looks so old and classical styled.
    I love it.

    I totally think you could pull of the battle of five armies with oils if done big enough.
    My old art teacher & fine oil painting artist friend of mine, David Slonim


    Paints some HUGE canvas's and still gets great quality photos of them with his canon rebel. no color or quality loss. he gets the lighting perfect and it look just as good if not better then some scans.

    Maybe that's an option??

  9. We have a 50 inch by whatever scanner here at my work in Nashville.

    It is a roll feed scanner so no stretched canvas can go through it..

    But I scan My Masonite painting on it all the time.

    but like I said... i'm in TN.

  10. Hi Justin.

    If you can go ahead and scan the entire image in pieces, there's a quick, easy way to piece them together.

    Make a folder and put all the different scans in that folder, for convenience first. Then go into photoshop (CS2 or later, i think) and do File>Automate>Photomerge and you will be taken to a window where you can upload all the scans and let photoshop piece it together for you. It matches up the overlapping data to create a single, pieced-together image. Super easy, dudester. It will look like photoshop is having a siezure at first, but its just part of the process.

    BTW I'm totally nerdy for your work man! I hope that helps!

  11. Amazing! Your command of the oils is impressive as well. I'm looking forward to the Battle of the Five Armies!

  12. You could try with a high resolution reflex camera.

    and of course great work! I think you don't need computer at all

  13. Dan Dos Santos knows a guy in Connecticut that has a massive flat bed scanner (one of two in the US). He does scans of rich people's Picasso's for insurance purposes. But supposedly he doesn't charge too much. Get in touch with him for the details.

  14. Wow thanks everyone, this is really helpful. I will have to try Mclean's photo-stitch recommendation and see how that plays out. Another difficulty I have run into with scanning oils and stitching them is that if they aren't scanned at the exact same angle each time the light will reflect differently off the surface. (so the brushstrokes look under-lit on one scan, and over-lit on another) So if the photo-stitch doesn't work I am glad to hear that there are drum scanners that can handle this. I really enjoy working with oils and would love to find an effective way to combine them with digital for illustrations.

    Thanks everyone for all the great feedback!

  15. Wow - great piece. I LOVE the way you handled the scales on the dragon.

  16. I love, love, love the look on the little boy's face as he tries so gallantly to pour his tea! What an awesome shot with such great detail. The book and ink, the bread and jar of honey.


  17. I recently had a large painting scanned by a local company (Des Moines, Iowa) that does large format printing, signage, blueprints, scanning, etc. They have what they call "fine art scanning" which is a flat fee of $75 and includes color matching to your actual painting. Maybe you can find a similar vendor locally? I've tried scanning in pieces and stitching them together in Photoshop, but this piece was larger than I usually work and I was on a tight deadline.

  18. Have you had this made into prints? I'd love to buy one.