Here is a brand new commission I just finished for a private client. It’s called "Mara River Hippo" 24"X48" oil on canvas. [email protected]

I first start with a digital comp done in Photoshop. This allows me to quickly play with my composition and easily adjust color and staging.
I next grid the digital sketch and my canvas for easier drawing transfer. After that I do a quick oil wash of yellow ochre and burnt umber to establish my rough value structure and to get rid of the white of the canvas.

Next I start laying in color starting with my darks working lighter. I also like to work sectionally, going from section of canvas to section of canvas and basically roughing each section in. I then go back later and unify all of the sections with color.

Adding the water highlights on the hippo was a good boost for me. I get bored easily and getting to see the hippo look wet and start to come to life gets me excited to keep pushing.

Here I’m starting to lay in the rapids of the river. This was very daunting but I stayed focused on thinking about the water’s form, paying close attention to value and temperature of my color and I stayed loose…but not sloppy…there’s a difference.

Starting to get the sky reflections done on the water. It’s starts to come alive at this point.

I found that I could stay fairly loose with the water then add details that would bring it all together. Small splash droplets and sun glints went a long way.

The water cascading over the hippo’s back and the foreground water was  very dependent upon paying attention to the form of the water and portraying the water’s reflections of it’s surroundings according to that form. This is how the wave feel is achieved.

“Mara River Hippo” 24″X48″ oil on canvas

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About Aaron Blaise

For 21 years Aaron worked with Disney helping to create some of the greatest animated films ever made. During that time he worked as an animator or supervising animator on "The Rescuers Down Under", "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", "The Lion King", "Pocahontas", "Mulan" and more. In 2003 he was co-director of "Brother Bear" for which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. After "Brother Bear" he helped to develop several projects but ultimately left Disney to pursue an opportunity back home in Florida. Aaron recently served as 2D Animation Supervisor and Character Designer for the "The Bear and the Hare" an advertisement loved by millions around the world. He is currently also working on a new animated short film, once again involving bears called "Snow Bear".

5 thoughts on “Here is a brand new commission I just finished for a private client. It’s called "Mara River Hippo" 24"X48" oil on canvas. [email protected]

  1. Beautiful Work!!!

  2. I’m lost for words!
    Your work is amazing!

  3. Killer stuff! Love it!

  4. Amazing as always cous! Miss you & love ya lots ♥♥♥

  5. I saw you on and I am amazed with your work. Congratulations!!! This is a really Gift from God. Keep up the good work.

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