Chuck Galey

Author • Illustrator • Teaching Artist • Speaker

Sketchbook Doodles- Late Summer, 2015

The Creative Process

Many folks want to know where ideas come from. I’ve found the most people I’ve ever talked to have an idea for a book. Unfortunately, as Edison said, “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

I think that acting on an idea is more important than having an idea. That may sound strange at first, but let me explain. Ideas are like seeds. They exist, but nothing happens to them until they are watered. Then an amazing transpiration takes place, the seeds begin to sprout and grow. An idea is just like that. It’s not fully formed in the beginning, it’s just a notion, a concept.

To act on an idea is when the idea begins to grow and develop into a fully formed concept, a book perhaps. For me, this is where the sketch book come in. This is a place where visual and written ideas can be explored and developed. Take a look at these sketches from my sketchbook. All seem nonsensical and with no direction.
Doodles and sketches help to visualize a project and
get it on paper and on its way to become a painting.

However, just the wiliness to draw and doodle and explore different drawings is all the creative process needs to work out any visual problems that may need tweaking. I have been known to do ten thumbnail sketches for each two-page spread. This always gives me options to choose from when I’m thinking about a composition or how a picture should look.

I once saw a TV advertisement that showed a crowd at night releasing sky lanterns into the night sky. It was a beautiful sight! The eight-year old boy inside of me thought that it would be a great time for an alien spacecraft / UFO to land because no one would see it. So my creative juices began.
So, I did a little research to see what an image could possible look like.
Here is a very rough digital color sketch
of what the painting may look like.


Check out the sketches to see the progression of the work.

Sky lantern value study and color sketch


I asked my friends, the Partridges, to
pose as a family for photo reference for the painting.
Line art and color study for girl.


This is line drawing that I will
transfer to the watercolor paper.

Because the lighting is so dramatic and is coming from several different directions, I decided to do one final color study as a model for the finished painting.
This is a full color study of the painting.
Here is the painting in progress. So far, so good.


The finished painting. Do you see the alien spaceship?
I hope to do more painting samples in the future and let you peak behind the curtain to see how it's done.

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