Searle in America Auction, "Reminiscing"

Since starting my new job last year at Disney Media Group/Playdom, I've spent a lot of time sketching and thinking about classic Disney characters. It seemed a natural fit when the "Searle in American Auction" came around that I might try a theme with one of the villains. 

***update: my painting on this post SOLD today! There are a number of new pieces by other artists that have been added and more coming - be sure to check the auction page!

After sketching a few ideas out of Searle's birds and cats, I just kept coming back to the concept of Cruella de Vil relaxing in her home office... I did a little research on wikipedia, and what do you know?!! Cruella did indeed go to school in England! Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

In the original story, Cruella is a pampered and glamorous London heiress who knows the owner of the Dalmatian puppies through school, though it is mentioned that they were not friends. Her net wealth as mentioned in The One Hundred and One Dalmatians £6 million. She was a menacing student with black and white plaits. She was later expelled for drinking ink

Of course that school was St. Trinians!


"Reminiscing", 10 x 12", gouache on board



It's been awhile since I've painted something cartoony without a computer. These days at my job the characters, props and backgrounds I draw and paint are for pre-production concepts, so I don't often get to finish the art myself. I enjoyed researching Searle and his interesting line work and making an attempt at it myself, although I was light on the line work and more heavy on the values.

 I thought I'd share a little bit of my process on this piece. 


When I first thought of the concept of Cruella in her home office or study, I pictured lots of books, framed diploma on the wall, books on the floor as well as photos and other paraphernalia from her early days at St. Trinians. After sketching out several ideas, moving things around, and thinking about it, I decided that it was better to go simple with this idea. Since Cruella's face is looking down and so clearly the center of interest, I thought it better to have her looking into her yearbook. All else in the concept is support at that point, so I eliminated as much detail as possible, feeling the idea is stronger with less.

After I finished sketching, I found some good photoshop brushes and experimented with palettes. I looked at some of Searle's work and found that he often used an interesting blend of warm grey and cool blacks. I love the look, so I dug out some materials from my art closet to see if I could match his look in terms of color first. 


I thought a base layer of tan acrylic wash would work well with cool and neutral grey gouache tones and a cool dark grey line.


After I transferred the printed out drawing to a lightweight cold press illustration board, I painted a thin acrylic wash using the tan acrylic. This at first can be jarring because it tends to make the whole piece look dark and smears the lines a little, but when it dries the lines are in tact and the wash fairly clean.

After the acrylic wash was dry, I simply began to paint in flat values using the various grey gouaches mixed with a little titanium white gouache at times. I spent a lot of time fiddling with the layers, being careful to not let the gouache get too thick.


After I painted the grey tones I painted in the line work. This took longer than any other part of the rendering process, but was probably the most fun of all. In fact, I am now thinking about seeing what I can do with this technique on more Disney villains - just for fun!


Please stay tuned if you have been following my posts on studying the Flemish Method with Sadie. I have finally finished the piece and will post about that VERY SOON! 

Thanks for reading!