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The Shifletts' Ol' Scratch by No-Sign-of-Sanity The Shifletts' Ol' Scratch by No-Sign-of-Sanity
Hey guys! Here’s a piece I just finished up on my birthday last week. :cake: I was commissioned to make a painting by the amazing fantasy sculpting duo, The Shiflett Brothers, of one of their original characters named Ol' Scratch.

If you don’t know who the Shifletts are, then you’re seriously missing out on some of the most powerful figurative sculpture that’s being made today. I shit you not. Go check out their site [link] and thank me later.

This is probably the coolest project I’ve ever been able to work on for so many reasons. Not only because The Shifletts were crazy enough to hire a bloke like me, but because I was given the task of capturing their dynamic 3D style into a 2D piece of art. Generally things work the other way around where a sculpture will be based off of a drawing or painting, but it was totally cool to be able to flip that convention on its ear. I kinda felt like one of those old school portrait artists who was commissioned to capture the likeness of a royal dictator. Too damn cool!

So anyway, Ol’ Scratch is part of a line of original character sculpts that the Shifletts have recently launched and this sculpture is already available as a resin kit and will eventually be turned into a bronze as well. In addition, this painting I did will be made available as a limited edition print exclusively at their site in the near future. I’m so totally stoked you can’t even believe! I’ll definitely keep you guys posted as to when they become available. =D

So for the technical stuff - This piece is 100% an acrylic painting done with all traditional brushwork on Strathmore cold press 500 series Bristol board. 11” x 16.5”.

I’ve posted an extensive tutorial about the making of this piece on The Shiflett Bros. forum at this [link] or here [link] . I tried to be as thorough as possible in explaining each step of the painting process so I hope it’s helpful to those of you interested in knowing how I make my work. Also if you have any questions regarding the tutorial, please register at the Shiflett forums and ask your question there in the tutorial thread, so we can keep all of the info and answers in one place. Thanks for looking everybody and I hope you all like this piece!

Ol’ Scratch character © The Shiflett Bros.
This image of old Scratch © The Shiflett Bros. & Walter O’Neal 2007
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CrazyChucky Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2015
Hey everyone, the Shiflett Bros. forum may be gone or moved, but the Wayback Machine still has an archive of the tutorial:…

Unfortunately it's sans images, but it's better than nothing.
No-Sign-of-Sanity Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2015  Professional General Artist
Wow! Thank you for this! I think I still have the images buried on a spare hard drive somewhere so I might be able to reconstruct this tutorial... Let me check into it...
CrazyChucky Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014
This piece is still just as fantastic as when I first saw it. As others have pointed out, the tutorial links no longer work; it seems the Shiflett Brothers' forum isn't there anymore. Any chance of seeing it elsewhere? I remember how informative it was, and was hoping to read through it again as I think it would be helpful for a painting I'm starting.
BorgMoose Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014
This is a truly amazing painting. I remember having a look at the tutorial for these and being amazed at how long and thorough your process is. 
I've noticed that the links on this page to that tutorial don't work anymore. Are there any sites where you have posted the tutorial again?
Typhus3k Featured By Owner May 24, 2014
The links are broken!!!!!!!! nooooooo lol
TawnyFritz Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I have always been intimidated by traditional painting, especially with acrylics. But your in-depth tutorial over on that forum has made me excited to get started. Thank you, thank you, thank you <3
ifes Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2013
duuuuuuuuuude! that tutorial is sick! i mean, wow! i haven't painted in years (traditional media i mean), and you even got me reading your acrylic palette tutorial! where credit is due. my respects. *bow*
Gollorr Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012
Dude...ain't no way you did that traditionally :D I saw your process and still dont believe it (btw this was THE best process article i've ever seen-it's huge). I accidently found you half an hour ago on the Shifletts'page and ...well I am adding you to dev watch. Officially a fan of yours now :D Rock on, u'r great!
jeewoo-park Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012
I was don't understand this writing last anytime, but I can understand to this writing now here!
because, I am always study at english!!
ah I am so happy.
GLADIATORsc Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012
great stuff man!, I really like the way he's sinisterly looking over his shoulder at the viewer, very unsettling!
odylinn Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
XDEADMEATX Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012
That is beast!!!
HoloGraf-Dracula Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
Super master piece!inkredible touch
esk6a Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wao!!! This really great. The details are amazing!
artbatter Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Hey man great work! I saw the sculpture of this and absolutely loved the artist interpretation of it as well. The way you subtly treated the anatomy and your choice of color palette work well together.
MikeHaff Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2011
Holy Sh*t!!! This is amazing........
No-Sign-of-Sanity Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks man! Much appreciated =D
lucasdemoraes Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2011
amazing textures :woohoo:
dopepope Featured By Owner May 19, 2011
I just came across this rediculously cool piece today. Have no idea how I've overlooked it since 2007. But even more mind numbingly brilliant than the finished work is that thorough-assed step by step you laid out for viewers. By far the most informative and careful tutorial that isn't a 2 hour video. It was nothing short of stunning to see that image get worked from concept sketch to finish. thanks for that.
No-Sign-of-Sanity Featured By Owner May 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thank you so much! I'm really glad you dig the piece and the tutorial! =D
pseudodog Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Thats one of the coolest paintings i have ever seen
thanks for making a tutorial aswell :)
JohnSh00ter Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2011
WOW! I'm really amazed by the whole process of doing this. You're really talented! =D
cosimoferri Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2010
Powerful work! Great!
Gryndaal Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2010
Great job! Your color use makes this come alive.
mori-memento Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2010
It's reakky amazing *o*
abaguiar Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2010
Freaking AWESOME!!
SebastianGh Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010
My jaws just dropped!!!!!!!Unbelievable detail, technique, everything!!! Amazing!!!
designer356 Featured By Owner May 31, 2010
Finally! Some good traditional!
MissterAndy Featured By Owner May 26, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I wish the picture were just a little bigger so that I could see all of the details X3 I'm sorry to fantard, but you are one of the most incredible artists I've ever had the privilege of seeing. The tutorial/walk-through of your creative process was amazing. While I'm waiting for it to load I decided I'd just come back by DA and squeal over how awesome you are.
ka5tar Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2010
..looks freakin AWESOME!...
i'm also lovin tut for this..

llRobinll Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
god man this is SICK, the anatomy colors, mood, everything is PERFECT!!!! i really love it, intant watch
waiton Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2010
Amazing, amazing, amazing... I am scared of traditional paints these days but really need to get back into it! Awesome tutorial too man. Cheers.
lufreesz Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2009  Professional General Artist
Amazing job!!!
lidiel-leximus Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2009
Ol' Scratch is a euphemism for Satan, I last recall. They used it as a boogey for kids who couldn't sleep at night, saying the creaking was because of his weight on the floor or ceiling, the scraping was his nails on the walls or doors of naughty children, and the groaning of the house was his infernal laughter.
NikashaIniquitous Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2009
Fabulous texture; I can feel every muscle, wrinkle and talon. :D
Dave-Wilkins Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Fantastic man, I saw that piece ages ago and never knew who did it AMAZING gallery all round
JamesMarsano Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
gosh. that is badass.
i like watching jared on wed night sculpting his stuff on justin tv,,
he shares a lot of techniques during the live streaming.
good job man
No-Sign-of-Sanity Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009  Professional General Artist
Thank you! Yep Jarrod is the mutha-effin man!
JamesMarsano Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
no probs! keep it up!
DaveRichardsonArt Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2009  Professional
love this work you have here my friend!!
zarhx Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2009
You are an AMAZING painter.
dankatcher Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2009
Incredible. You made that thing look real. Congrats on a fantastic piece!
BorgMoose Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
Cheers for the tutorial dude!
BorgMoose Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009
Hey dude, I really dig your work! I've had a quick flick through your tutorial and really dig how thorough you are in your process. Much respect!!! I have found through my own work that the more stages I have with the work, the more developed my technique and concept will be. Its all about patience and persistance. A true artists mantra. I would like to thank you vehemently for putting the tutorial up to show us your process. Keep creating incredibly sublime work. (I know you will)
No-Sign-of-Sanity Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Professional General Artist
My pleasure! I'm really glad you like what I do! =D
ChrisNoeth Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
shy-boy Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2009  Student
thank you so much for the tutorial. it was very insightful and well done.
shy-boy Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2009  Student

MJWilliam Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Holy sheep, that's fantastic. How do you work with acrylics? Do you do glazes? I've been dabbing in them, and find it very hard. Your skill is jaw-dropping. :heart:
No-Sign-of-Sanity Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2009  Professional General Artist
I actually put together a pretty detailed tutorial for this piece showing all of my techniques. It's in two parts

Part 1 = [link]
Part 2 = [link]

Hope that helps explain my process a little bit but if you have any questions that the tutorial doesn't address let me know!

Really glad you like my work! =D
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Submitted on
April 9, 2007
Image Size
550 KB


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