Walter Gabrielson Painter

An Oil Painting Tutorial




A crude drawing is just fine at this point but I think you want to kick it up another notch before you go to a painting.  What I would do is flesh it out a bit, add more characters, mess with the composition, change sizes of things or the perspective or vantage point the image comes from.  I find the best way to do this is to play with the drawing and work it up.  I use a small light box, I put the original drawing on the lightbox and lay another sheet of inexpensive copy paper on top of it.  With a soft pencil I will trace parts of the original drawing, adding things, erasing others.  If I want to make a part of it larger or smaller I go to the Xerox machine and put in full dark and hit the enlarge or smaller zoom. Then I go back to the lightbox and continue the redrawing until it is what I can settle for.  This becomes your basic foundation for the image.  Finally, I draw lines  around the edges of the image which will be proportions for the canvas.  Many artists don’t go through all this procedure and just go to paint right away which is perfectly acceptable.  The idea is to use any procedure that gets you what you want.






All the decisions you make at this point will affect the final painting.  For instance, how big do you want to make it ?  Say a “study” size like 18 x 26” or a larger size , say 32 x 40”, your choice. I Think all these “pre-production” thoughts really help. You think more about the whole painting as it goes along and avoid making big gummy disasters.  The painting starts to “talk back” to you, and one ignores these clues at your creative peril.  Others may stay rigidly with the original photo or drawing to finished painting, it is always up to you.  I also believe at this point it is best to get the drawing on to the blank and get started with your underpainting at least.  The reason is that ideas have a large evaporation function at the beginning and if you don’t really do something physically with them they will fall apart and go away and that is no fun at all.