Labels: characters, children's book, color, digital, digital illustration, drawing, illustration, layers, palette, Photoshop, Russ Cox, Smiling Otis Studio, traditional
Happy New Year to everyone! I hope each of you had a wonderful time with family friends during the holidays. We kept it very low key here. Our son came up for a week long visit while our daughter stayed in Pennsylvania with her boyfriend. Nate and I got to go to Gillette Stadium to see a Patriots game which was a real treat. What a beautiful stadium! We had a great time, especially since the Patriots won. Go PATS!
I took a much needed break last week but found myself in the studio anyway. I had this idea for a promo piece that I was itching to work on. After breaking out my sketchbook, I did a quick doodle of the idea. Once I worked up the sketch, I realized that it was not working conceptually, so I thought about it and came up with a much better idea. Again, I worked up the idea, made revisions and finally had a a drawing that I liked.
This was the final drawing that I scanned into Photoshop which became the base for the painting. For the color palette, I wanted to keep the colors toned down and warmer to emphasize the friendship between the two characters. Usually my colors are very vibrant, this was something different for me.
Just like working traditionally, I did a gray underpainting to establish my light direction. I was happy with my first attempt and decided that the values would work. Oh, I made it a "multiply" layer some that the pencil work would show through.
I copied my gray underpainting and added a deep brown tint to the copy. Again, the "multiply" was turned on for that layer. This made the underpainting very dark which is what I wanted to build the colors upon.
The sky was painting first which keeps the traditional way of thinking of working from back to front. It was hard not to put a bright sky in but I wanted to stay try to the color palette that I wanted to use. I built each component in layers with the "normal" setting on since I wanted to paint over my base painting. This allows me to tweak or redo something as I progress.
Once the sky was completed, the grass was next to be added. The colors are flat except for the bright yellow and a few highlights. This was intentional to help draw the eye up towards the figure.
The next step was to paint the oafish, troll-like giant. Having again to fight the urge to use bright colors, the bulk of his vest is an olive green and his pants a maroon red. The skin tones where built up in many separate layers which were flattened once I got them to my liking. I feel that I still need some work in the color theory for skin tones but it is getting there. Practice, practice, practice!
His vest seemed to missing something so I laid in a burlap texture from an old scan I had. It worked really well. The layer is set on "multiply" and the opacity was set to around 35%. The tree branch and bird was also painted in at this time.
The next step was to paint the girl. With the muted colors being a backdrop for her, I focused on brightening up the colors for her. I wanted to her to airy and very lively looking. Lots of purples and pinks were used in her clothing and a base of orange for her hair helped me achieve the look I was after.
The final touches like highlights, some lines, and a few dollops of color were added to bring the final piece to life. I was very happy on how the final turned out. Seeing the textures of the brushes helped make this look less digital and more traditional. Your thoughts and opinions are greatly welcomed.
Until next time, I leave you with this quote:
"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all." ~ Michelangelo