Because I exaggerate scale so much in my work, I spend a lot of time adjusting objects in order to make them look “real”.  There are a few problems with working on such a small area in real life in order to transform it into a large environment.  One is that I can’t always sit in front of the scene and draw it as if it were a landscape because of hard to reach viewpoints.  Also, if I move my eye or, in most cases, the camera just a few inches in any direction, it’s like moving a few feet or more in the scene.  When that happens it drastically affects the perspective and scale.

Here is one moment early on in the development of Dash of Cinnamon:

In this photo, you can see I have a set of drawings.  There is actually just one drawing, but I’ve altered it in five different ways.  The finished watercolor is at the bottom right.  I included it just as a way to refresh my eyes and have a final image in mind.  The original scanned drawing is at the top left.

It may feel like a hidden pictures game in a Highlights magazine, but I’ve subtly enlarged objects in each of the cascaded images.  I can play around with scale using photoshop until it looks right.  The objects I messed with were the coffee can, the coffee pot, the spoon, and the tupperware containers on the shelf.  In the end, I think I ended up getting closest to the image at the upper right.

How did I know what to change and when it looked right?  Well, based on the first drawing, I knew the coffee pot was too far away since it was supposed to be the focus for the painting.  The coffee can, on the other hand, was too dominating.  In the final piece I cropped it and balanced it out by bringing the right side closer.  I used those two areas as a jumping off point.  This is just one stage of a long process.  You start with a broad generalized idea, and just beat it to death with a critical eye.

After this stage, I did the same scale adjustment to the figures.