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Glowing Jelly Fish Step by Step

By October 5, 2016Artist Blog



I took my son to Mystic Aquarium, and they have this fantastic jelly fish section. We were in love. I took so many pictures of the jellyfish, especially this one right here, and then I painted them all summer long.

The background is painted first, I use a strong cobalt blue around the edges and a light turquoise in the center.


Before I started painting this, I drew a line drawing of the jellyfish focusing on the anatomy. It helps me to paint something freehand if I understand how it is suppose to work and what parts need to be where rather than just copying the jellyfish exactly from the picture. I also now have a solid drawing I can use later on for other projects if I need one. I then take a cheap khaki colored paint (cheap paint has a nice transparency because its mostly resin) and start painting directly on the surface. The lack of planning out where the tentacles go give it more of a free-flowing water-look. I am also not staring at a line trying to stay on it which makes longer lines easier for me to do more accurately.


The ugly stage. Every painting has one. That is when you do a very important step to the overall finish that seems at first like you ruined it. I want this jelly fish to glow just like the real one. I need that khaki there to have something for the “glow” color to stick to, without it the fluorescent pink will sit into the background. The fluorescent pink I use a lot, but mostly for blending other colors and I never get to see its true color. Here it has to be bright pink, so with the airbrush, I cover everything I just painted khaki making sure that the over spray from the spray pattern is just outside the khaki, tinting the blue slightly around the lines.


It’s all about the Suede, have to fight that instinct to grab the white. The color that things really are, are different than what your brain tells you they are. If I’m not sure, I would use a photoshop eye dropper tool to check the colors. I start going back into the jellyfish repainting the details, making sure that I stay within the original lines, and within the middle of the pink glow.


After I finish painting all the Suede, I then take a white and do very fine lines staying inside the suede paint only. I don’t do this inside all the suede lines, I do this only in select areas that I want to show light reflecting off the jellyfish. I call this “picking a time” which is where the sun would be at a certain time of day and keeping that in mind while I paint.


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