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A while ago, a fan commissioned a piece with Nightmare and Mesa Pegasus in a Yin/Yang design. The commission was in black and white, but I really liked the idea and decided that one day, I would revisit it again only this time in color.

My schedule has calmed down here enough to get this piece going. So, to encourage you to commission a work of your own, I will show you how it is done in a little more detail so that you'll feel more comfortable with the process (my process at least). That’s the plan anyway…

This project will take a back burner because it is a personal project, so it may take a while to complete.

Mesa Pegasus works in progress sketch


As much as I liked the original commission (seen at the bottom of the page in the black & white gallery), I wanted to change it up with a different pose.

After much sketching and going through my various books on horses, I settled on this pose.

Of course it needs some refinement because it is a combination of several of pictures, but as an idea, I’m happy with it. There may be radical changes later, or maybe not.



Nightmare Mesa Pegasus works in progress composite


From here,  I scan the sketch and put it in photoshop. I make a small version and print it out so I can make revisions quickly, and get a sense of how the finish will look.

If I needed a color study, I would print this sketch several times on one page. This way, I can create color versions next to each other and decide which color scheme is best. For this one, it is moot because the colors are already established.

I adjust the size because a sketch always tends to be too big or too small. I copy the image for the figures and position them roughly where I want them. Then it gets printed out. It is done in sections because my printer doesn’t handle paper this size.

The pieces are trimmed and I move them around until I am happy with the design. Then there is tape. Lots of tape.




It requires about 4 sheets of tracing paper to cover the whole design area. I draw again (making more revisions as I go) so that I have just a master on tracing paper to transfer.

After this, I flip the tracing paper, coat the lines for transferring with a soft lead pencil and flipping it back, make the transfer with a colored pencil so I can see what lines I have actually drawn.

After the transfer is done, I make more revisions and add some landmarks for the paint. The sketch is never tight because I want to be able to revise at any time. If another inspiration comes along, I want to be able to explore that. That is the “progress” part of works in progress.



Clearly, I’m not the best photographer in the world that’s for sure.

The wash-in is in progress with both oil paint and colored pencils. I just need some landmarks so I don’t loose my place in all those flames. And it keeps me from going too far into the blue sky of Mesa Pegasus.

There will likely be more flames. I free hand them once I get going.

Since the Mesa Pegasus is basically a white horse, there isn’t too much of a wash in to do.

Mostly, I just add indications of where the reflected light will be and where the shadows will fall.

From here, I’ll focus more on specific sections rather than trying to fit the whole piece in.




Ok, onto the flames.

I want to get the basic pattern down for the flames and I have put some indications of mass in the black areas of the horse.

This can take some time. Or not, it is strange how sometimes these go quickly and smoothly. I’m not in a rush so it will probably go well. It is when you are pressed for time that they never go well.



I also added some hints of mass in the pegasus figure as well as trying out some shadow colors for the shadows on a white horse.

I’m happy with this shade so far. Unless it really doesn’t work later, I think this will be it.

So from here it is more of the same backing and forth-ing.

Once the flames are further along, the wings will be next.

Getting more time in. Here's some progress on the pegasus. 

Here we are in January. I told you this would be a long process... Anyway, this is where we are now. Pushing and pulling the shadows and hi-lights, refining the figures and adding some markings on the pegasus. The tail will be added on the pegasus soon.

Nightmare update 1/16Mesa Pegasus update 1/16


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