Urge Records Mural Process: How I use reference images

To welcome in the new year, I wanted to start a process blog where I can post BTS shots, process, inspiration, reference images, etc that I don't often (or never) show anyone. It all sits in folders on my computer or in a messy pile next to my desk and it felt like a waste to not share with anyone as it's often the most interesting/frustrating part of my job.

I spent a lot of time in 2016 doing a lot of commissions which I really really enjoyed but this meant I spent less time than I liked on personal projects and this always takes a toll on me mentally, so the year was full of up's and down's for me. The mural I painted for Urge Records last month was one that kind of fell between a commission and a personal project, which is why it was my favourite project of the year. 

My friend Jai Love as well as his bandmates in The Nuclear Family started their own live music venue and record store in Thirroul, Wollongong. I met Jai a couple of years ago at my last solo exhibition 'Paranoid' which was held at Goodspace Gallery in 2015. He asked me to paint a mural on his shop wall. There wasn't a lot of direction, I could basically draw whatever I wanted which was awesome.

Going through folders and folders of reference images I have collected over the last 3 years or so, I managed to dig up some really cool images of satanic rituals/witches I'd saved as inspiration for previous projects that I never wound up ever looking back on for some reason. 

Before I start, I always do a crude sketch of what I have in mind based on the reference I gathered. I try not to copy reference images exactly as they appear to be, rather I kind of 'collage' ones I really like that may be at a certain angle/perspective I need, or if I can't find any reference I will take my own photos (which I did for the witch in this one) or just draw from my head. 

After I complete the artwork I mock it up to size on photoshop. Usually before I even begin the draft sketch I would draw directly onto a photo of the surface I will be painting on to make sure I get the proportions right, as this will determine the overall composition of the piece.

As you can see on the left of the image below, I have cut out spaces for where any electrical boxes, cords and light switches are and make sure that I do not draw anything in that general area.

Once I am happy, I am ready to start painting!