I was watching a documentary about Raphael done by the BBC. Overly dramatic but apparently accurate. I was particularly intrigued by the depiction of Raphael sketching The Entombment of Christ many times (some of which have survived) and finally graphing the result to transfer it to the canvas. Way too much time and effort.
Now although I do an occasional sketch it’s easier to take pieces of photographs and move them around in Photoshop until they look about right. I’ve seen some incredible Photoshop work but I find it easier to just start painting. The thought process involved in making everything work together is easier for me when I paint than it is to do it in Photoshop.
I usually work from photographs. Sometimes from the Internet and sometimes from pictures I’ve taken myself. With the digital age it costs nothing to take a photograph. It used to be that every time you clicked the shutter it cost about $1.00. Now it costs nothing so take another picture. Take detail photos for every part of the image. This might mean 200 photos. I take them home and put them together in a Photoshop collage. Then I paint. When I run into an area that needs more detail I refer to one of the detail shots. I have a collection of flower pictures that I refer to if I want to change the flower type or colour in an image.