April 11, 2006

Boris Vallejo’s palette

Vallejo paintingIf you’ve ever walked through the science fiction and fantasy section of a bookstore, you’ve seen the artwork of Boris Vallejo. This weekend, I got to watch him create one of his paintings, a rather detailed picture of a dragon that he completed in only four hours.

I attended an event called Art Out Loud at the Society of Illustrators where Vallejo, Julie Bell, Jon Foster, Dan Dos Santos, Gregory Manchess, and Adam Rex demonstrated their techniques to aspiring illustrators, and answered lots of questions. I think proceeds from the event go to the Society’s student scholarship fund, so it’s great that the artists were all so gracious.

When Vallejo finished his painting, and everyone gathered around to admire the finished product, I noticed his palette sitting there. I realized that while millions are familiar with his work, few have probably seen his palette. So I took a picture of it. Perhaps it will provide insight or inspiration for those who were unable to attend the event this weekend.

Boris Vallejo palette

I’m told that his use of disposable palettes is significant, as the romantic notion of an artist would have him using a permanent wooden palette. Take note, students.

Artist links: Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Jon Foster, Dan Dos Santos, Gregory Manchess, and Adam Rex.

Bonus: Here are the palettes of Dan Dos Santos and Julie Bell:


Is that watercolor?


I think it’s oils, maybe acrylics. Could it be gouache?

Both Boris Vallejo and and Julie Bell work in oils. Occasionally they’ll do color studies in watercolor or ink but their paintings are always in oils. I’ve met them and seen them work as well, and both are amazing at what they do.

Hey, neat!

There’s some interesting insight that can be gathered by looking at a palette.

I attended a Massive Black workshop that Dan was instructing at, as well as many other extremely talented individuals, and I was able to grasp some interesting new ideas.

While some of the younger more naive artists there thought they could achieve the same sort of results in their work simply by using the same materials, the artists that truly achieved growth from the experience were those that understood what those materials were, how they were and could be used, and the connotations of even using different materials.

Some of my own instructors have said that it is important to only have the colors on your palette that you are using in the piece you are working on. If the piece changes, the lighting or effects desired change, then the colors present on the palette should as well, each being added or removed as needed.

I found it very interesting to see how some artists organized their workspace and how it effected their work.

In 4 hours? Even in a lifetime I couldn’t do that well. Too bad the pics you posted are so small.

I thought it interesting that he works on board larger than the painting itself and uses the white border to mix colours as an extension of his pallet.

I too wish I could see a larger photo of the example painting. Amazing for 4 hours.

I much prefer traditional artwork to digital. Especially oils and paintings that show brushwork. Something Boris doesn’t show in his work so much.

Still my favourite after Frank Frazetta