More Gray Hulk

Monday, February 18, 2008

This continues a look back at my switch from oils to Acryla Gouache, back at the beginning of 2006. Pictured above is the splashpage from Mythos: Hulk that introduces the major characters. I went ahead and lettered the piece for fun, but these were taken out in the published version. 

All of the works featured today are painted in grayscale, but were scanned in full color to show the subtle color shifts between opaque and transparent painting. In some cases I used the premixed grays, which are formulated to achieve color neutrality at full opacity. This means that they contain an additional colorant to counteract the "coldness" of a straight black and white mixture. The result is a very warm gray (nearly brown) when used thinly. An example of this would be Bruce Banner's shirt, above.

If I remember correctly, this is the first Acryla Gouache painting I did. I must admit that I was very happy with it when I was done. I found it much easier to use than oils since the paper is much more absorbent than either masonite or canvas. The only drawback was a discrepancy between the initial painted color and the fully dried paint. The grayscale at the bottom of the page illustrates this perfectly: the darker values at the left do not change at the same rate as the lighter values. This is because they appeared much darker to my eye when they were still wet. You can account for this in oils (or even acrylics) by varnishing at the end, but the whole point of my medium switch was to find a glare-free alternative that scanned easily.

And to wrap up, here are some more examples of my grayscale studies, painted over 4" x 6" prints of my finished pencils. If the page isn't legible at this stage, I had better rethink the composition.


  1. i knew you were using acryla gouache in your work but i was surprised to see it was grey scale. i think too many painters make the coloring process too saturated using color layers, when first making a gray scale painting, which gives it a tell tale sign that its digitally colored. i personally like your oil work better, but i think its great that you've found something thats quicker and that you enjoy the look of. have you used just gouache before or just acryla gouache. great work either way, keep it up

  2. Paolo-
    Awesome work.

    BTW-I sent you an email w/picture & amazon link about the skeleton from the last post.

    catch you next time.

  3. Hey Paolo,

    Its always refreshing to see another artist's process, these look great and it seems like your system is working well.

  4. I only used the grayscale process for the Hulk. In the next couple weeks, I'll show more about my switch to full color Acryla Gouache, which I use to this day.

    And as for regular gouache, I didn't use it at first, but lately I've been using it more and more for the underpainting. It's almost identical to Alex Ross's technique, except for the fact that I don't use straight black. I try to match the general color tone of my painting, which is often a warm gray.

    Once Mythos: Captain America is published, I'll do a series of posts on page 6, for which I took extensive progress pics to document each and every stage.

  5. I love seeing these process steps, thanks. I've always liked working in grey scale, golden's acrylics have a full line of premixed greys that are nice, but they don't dry flat. I've never used acryla gouache, but I'm attracted by the non-glare scanning possibilities. Are they tube paints or bottle colors?

  6. There are 4 grays and they come in small tubes. But I use them fairly sparingly and am still using the same tubes I bought over 2 years ago. When I first started out, I mixed a full 10 steps myself, but realized later that it wasn't necessary if I used them transparently.

  7. Man, these are fantastic!It's rare that someone can do western comics in a painterly way and still keep the spirit of comic book tradition. Amazing stuff. When I saw DiTerlizzi using acryla gouache I tried to get some here but have had no luck.I'm running down to the comic shop today to look for your stuff.

  8. Paolo...

    Mis mas sinceras felicitaciones por tu arte!!!!

    Me facina la soltura y las deformaciones tan bien cuidadas. Genial el color.

    Obviamente vas camino a ser un nuevo monstruo!!!!!!!!!!!

    de Argentina
    Carlos Barocelli


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