A Jerry’s Online Street Team Art Project with Ron Croci

Multi Media Artist Ron Croci demonstrates how to create an exciting Book Cover


In our Artist Spotlight post about Ron Croci, we learned about this inspiring multi media artist and his love of art and the ocean. In this fun follow-a-long activity, Ron guides us step-by-step through the creation of a fantastic piece of art!

Take it away Ron!


In this tutorial, I am showing how I developed the cover of my soon to be published book by Island Heritage, The Atlas of Surfing History. What I want to show here is Captain Cook’s first view of Hawaiian surfing. The painting is titled “The Legacy”. Here are my steps for creating this painting.

First I start by making small watercolor thumbnails of the entire scene. At this point, I do a lot of research on what compromises the people, place and things in the picture. 

Then I start to develop the main figures.

Then I develop the secondary figures.

Here is the first sketch of the total scene.

Here is my first color composition.

Then, here is the color composition withe the rough of the book title.

Here is the rough under-painting of the final art. The size is 30×40 inches and is painted on a wooden panel. As you can see I changed the main figures.

Detail of the main figures in the under-painting.

Second detail.

 Third detail. This is Captain Cook’s launch. 

This is the artwork of the scroll that will hold the title. It will be dropped in with Photoshop.

Here is the final cover art

Here it is with the title applied.

Here is the final art with the wonderful Lukas Oil Paints and a set of Ruby Satin Brushes. These are the 200 ml tubes. I love this paint because of its buttery consistency. I use it for many applications, however, since I specialize in marine subject matter it is especially useful mixed with poppy seed oil to create water and reflection techniques.

Here are the wonderful Lukas oil paints I used. This is also my pallet. Permalba white, and Cadmium Yellow for the yellow sunshine and Yellow Ochre for the yellow shadows. Cobalt Blue for the sunlit blues, and Ultramarine Blue for the shadow blues. then Cadmium Red Light for the sunlit reds and Alizarin Crimson for the shadow reds. I don’t use Black, but mix the Alizarin Crimson with the Ultramarine Blue to the make the darkest shadows, modulate the red and blue to vary those shadow colors. I mix a single primary with the other two primaries so that no primary will compete with the other two. I never cross the shadow primaries with the sun lit primaries.  

Read more about Ron in his Artist Spotlight!


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