Neutral Background and Moss Texture:
Final Glazes and Detail:
This method is a variation on the Grisaille Technique, where a finished value painting in grays is used as the base for simple glazes. I'd say 85% of this painting was done in shades of gray, with only 15% being glazes and some final details. You can see that I had to add a bit more highlight to the front of the gryphon's head, as well as more shadow to the feet. You always need to go back to add final highlights that get covered by color, such as in the crystals and on the white feathers.
It can be daunting to shade all in gray, as we've all been told, "don't shade with black!" Grays, however, are important. I've noticed my own work becoming oversaturated, primarily because I'm shy to even touch black or gray, and to always use color in my shadows. But with this technique, you glaze the entire painting with color - not only the light tones, but the shadows as well. I went back into the shadows of the feet, for example, with burnt sienna to add some color. I used a mixture of raw umber and burnt sienna to deepen the colors in the wing feathers. The trick to this technique is that the value is already there - no guessing how much dioxazine violet you need to use to push that value down to 70% while not making it too purple.