Kate Daniels: Process

So ... I totally forgot to make this post for my Kate Six painting. I only remembered to do this when I burned the entire folder on DVD (2,4 GB by the by) and came across my WiP images.

Kate Daniels is probably one of my favourite book characters ever and I have actually painted her before but then my external hard drive crashed and I lost pretty much everything I hadn't backed-up in a long time. And then I wallowed in self-pity and I didn't do any painting whatsoever for over six months ... probably longer than that. But I always got back to Kate as a subject. I've re-read the books about two or three times now, mostly in preparation for the upcoming sixth book. It was just the right time to start with a new Kate painting.


So this process is something I rarely do anymore: I actually *gasp* sketched it. Ohnoes! I generally dislike sketching because it makes the process so much longer than usual - I'm a slowpoke, if you didn't know. 

Unlike the Connor sketch, this one remained pretty basic. I chose earthy colours to start with. I was sorely tempted to do an all-black outfit, though.

FYI, the first Kate painting was titled "Back In Black". For this version I decided to stick to my colour palette, though her shirt went through several colour processes - one being a blood red.


Once I have most of the colours painted in I can start introducing more colours into the palette. Most of the time this is a process that goes back and forth, and I find it to be the most exciting part when I paint - though it can also be the most frustrating.

These are usually little things that can come up during painting and then, the next day, it was the worst decision you made. Sometimes, they're stupid details I fret about. Like the leather bracelet (which was eventually taken out), and the necklace (which I didn't include at first, then decided to keep).

I think Kate is very practical, so she probably wouldn't accessorize much, except carrying all manner of concealed weapons. In this case, I felt that the details and accessories completed the picture, as it were. For me,  the whole ensemble makes sense.

I also felt that the earthy tones needed a whole lot of sprucing up so I added warmer colours into the mix. But the original colours remained as a base because that first 'feel' I get when I choose colours for a painting are usually the best. In any case, I always try to keep my initial palette to the most basic colours I want in a particular painting, then add more as I go along. Otherwise the whole process becomes too rigid.


The last stage of the painting process is probably the longest for me. Texture brushes are key in this process. Because her outfit is pretty basic, I felt the need to add texture and little details to it which you probably won't even notice in the final (posted) version. The leather pants were fun to work on and one of the first things I finished that included the texture, and this was early on in the process.


If you look at the close-up of Kate's face, you can probably pick apart the various colours I use to add depth, not only for the skin, but for highlights, midtones and shadows for the entire painting. Colours aren't just used to get the mood down for an image, but they also keep a painting from looking flat. Mixing colours is so important. Also, a good tip is to make use of Layers when adding colours, especially to the skin; Layer Opacity can work so well if you get it right!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this post. This is a bit longer than I usually like, so I hope you haven't been bored by it ...

Thank you for reading. Leave a comment if you wish!

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For more information about the character Kate Daniels and the book series, please visit the Ilona Andrews website. If you're there, check out their free online serial Innkeeper Chronicles - Clean Sweep.


  1. I for one think you are enormously talented. Of all the images of Kate, to me this is the closest to what we imagine when we write her. Amazing job.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! It's the best compliment ever :D

  2. Lovely attention to detail and the colors sing. I can really see the progression and focus you bring to the work. Thank you for posting it!

  3. Oh my...this is such an amazing depiction of Kate. I LOVE it!

  4. This is hands down the best Kate I have ever seen! She looks almost exactly as I had pictured her from the book's descriptions!

  5. Please, please if you republish Magic (insert random word here) books, use this Artist, not the cheesy Fabio Lanzoni style with empty stares in the distance, most of my friends were reluctant to start Kate Daniels (judging by the cover) until they read a bit and become fans.

  6. This is truly Kate. If I saw this face anywhere, I'd say "hi Kate!"

  7. Estas ilustrações deviam ser as capas dos livros de KD.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I just learned of you because your art was included in this video: https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fyoutube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DvSlH22Jn8MA%26feature%3Dshare%26fbclid%3DIwAR1g9OPTCZ0VEbiuZ2-9rC2G_bT1M-IxLrem2eNEN4qWJJr9zzkWsBu3mL0&h=AT0ufrw9JOT_dhYpNjNBzSndaQ2iqs-LNJeCbBRDVvwjmoQDdUwDSY5waIwHwEMJ3Er96M3OsEuoKawVPSnOuSdX5bd1JytSOh3smY3WCnfXhg_OGUMESFxRoPwmvTbBdZubNhhFhgiZGrd0Oco6mb153qTnMVIbPOT-gPTGvJw5fGytEoDFUKDi-kzIvGpzXTBBQI3zuhoG4Tyd7C_VaznqEpVCsp3NDzyP72erRUGEYVPK6bTVgGw2biFwNUK99Q8x_fEJoPaeGo7EIuyy2IGjrokYTelCX6SZaSxS0wEO&__tn__=-UK-R&c[0]=AT0xFs8iB6McMjY_YohdVPUTfgVrGPN_U9BWJlcuVRQX5Iw88EVPi8aLqOTb-Q19BPC3ZuDhG83GNl9j3u2rL1HW38bk4vz5jQPbGQCr8g7Lj221sd0-JhiHzz-vwEDq8GS__931x_UKJQ7J0Ua0_XEMJ2ij2fTNUz2LAHo Yours is the best Kate representation I have seen (imho). Fun to know Gordon agrees. :)


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