In this section I’ll try and explain a little about the production of the artwork through to the finished print

The first thing to decide is what or who am I going to paint? Then I look around for photographs to give me the basis for the picture. If we directly use a photographer’s image, we have to ask permission and pay a fee. At this point I generally use the computer to change and manipulate the image until I’m happy with the way it looks. Obviously as the artwork progresses I change things as I go along – the photo is just a guide. Whether it’s a pencil or an airbrushed picture, I start with a pencil sketch. This will take a day or so to produce and will start to include more and more detail as I progress. Up until a few years ago, I always used to use a super smooth drawing board called CS10. Unfortunately it is no longer produced so now I use Schoellershammer 4G from Germany. Not as suitable as the CS10 but pretty good – although it’s taken a couple of years to get used to it! These boards are approximately 30 x 20 inches.

For a pencil drawing, I generally start at the top left and work down and to the right to avoid resting on what I’ve already drawn. However, the nature of pencil means I’m forever cleaning the picture as I go along. My main pencils are Staedtler propelling pencils with Staedtler leads. From the hardest at 6H, right up to 9B and in all sizes from 0.3 to 0.9, plus a host of other types of ordinary sketching pencils. My main tools are 0.3 2H and 2B and 0.5 HB and 2B. When I’ve looked into my tray next to the picture when it’s finished, I’ve generally used about 30 different pencils. Included in the “tool kit” are dozens of different types of erasers and scalpel blades.

if you want a picture a different size or framed in a particular way, ask us and we can usually do it for you

For an airbrushed picture, I still start with the pencil sketch. There is no set pattern on where I start it depends on the picture and the colours involved. More time is spent masking and cutting with scalpel blades than actually spraying! Equipment wise, my airbrushes are all now by Iwata, 3 custom Micron B’s, a Micron C, some HP A and HP B’s, most with various modifications. I also use an Iwata LPH 50 spray gun (for applying lacquer to Helmets and any big stuff). I have 2 compressors, a small one indoors for all the detailed stuff and the larger one in the garage for the spray gun. I use Frisk masking film and dozens of scalpel blades. My main paints are Comart, Createx, FW and Magic Colour with some Liqutex and other types thrown it. So long as its acrylic airbrush paint I’ll try anything. At the last count I have about 300 different colours. Each picture usually takes between 8 and 10 weeks to produce.

The artwork
Motorcycle pencil drawing

The next steps…

When the picture is finished I scan it and load it into the computer at a very high resolution – the file size will be somewhere between 150 – 200 Mbit/s. From that point on I am able to use the graphics tablet to retouch any blemishes and generally tidy the image up. It’s at this time I would also add the border around the edge of the image and other stuff like, title, copyright info, etc. Then I start to do some test prints to make sure all the colours and other details are correct – this process usually takes a few days. This is the Master file from which all the printing is done.

Each print takes about 15 to 20 minutes to pass through the printer. This type of digital printing is a much larger and more complex version of your standard ink jet printer. The prints are referred to as “giclée” (pron; gee clay) which is a French word meaning “to spray”. We use 3 large format machines which take rolls of paper or canvass that are 24, 44, or 64 inches wide and use 9 colours. The paper and canvas we use is the best you can buy and the inks are guaranteed lightfast for 75 years. In the last 20+ years all the products were produced at KNK Gallery in Nottingham where I and Kap have learnt how to control this process over many years – it’s not just a case of pushing a button! Many still come from the gallery however, Kap is scaling back and together with our new specialised pieces, di-bond and HD metal, you may receive you items from our other specialised production site.

All our pictures are limited editions (unless it states otherwise). Each print is numbered and signed by me, and we keep a record so when all the numbers in the edition have been used, that’s it, no more get printed! All the paper prints framed or just as a rolled print, varnishing and stretching of canvases is done by the gallery using the best materials. Because we do these processes “in house”, if you want a picture a different size or framed in a particular way to that quoted on the web site………….ask us, we can usually do it for you.

Acrylic and metal framed artwork options

In the last 3-4 years we have introduced a couple of new mediums, acrylic and HD metal. The production of these pieces needs to be carried out in laboratory like conditions and has to be carried out by specialists. We work with a company in Germany who are leaders in their field. Each piece is individually ordered and produced. Again, on the web, we only quote for the standard size that we have produced ourselves. If you would like a different size then we can get a quote for you, no problem.

For more information see our…

Need a re-print?

If you accidentally damage a piece of our art that you have bought in the past, or you decide you’d rather have it in a different medium to the one your purchased it in, well, you “own” the number, so we can re-print it for you……….just ask. If you own one of my prints (especially from an edition that has sold out) and you want to sell it, let us know, we may buy it back from you.

One thing you can be sure of, and that is that everyone involved in the production and selling of our artwork will do everything we can to ensure that you get the best service possible. The web site will try and give you as much information as possible, but if you have any queries, please get in touch.

Steve Whyman