Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How I Illustrate

I call this blog Words and Pictures, so I thought it was time to let you into the artistic part of my brain.

When I sketch and paint traditionally (pencils and paints), I usually start with plain white paper but this is a digital painting and I usually do those a little differently. I usually start with a coloured background, chosen depending on the mood I want to express.

Subject: Groat.

Groat is a character I have been developing for a possible graphic novel project.

(I have always liked the classic TV show 'Land of the Giants' and thought it would be pretty cool to on day write a story with tiny people living unknown along-side us).

But, I didn't want to write about fairies or pixies. I wanted something different. I created the Scarrow. The scarrow are about 6cm tall and basically humanoid, tribal and have no knowledge of metal or humans.

Back to Groat. He is a very large, scarred and often aggressive lizard that wanders the countryside near the Scarrow's Territory.

Preliminary sketch.

I wanted to highlight Groat's massive size compared to the Scarrow so I decided not to sketch him completely. I thought if he crept up on one of the Scarrow and they turned in surprise, what would they see?

A big mouth and a big eye.

Detailed Sketch

After I have sketched in the basic shape, I add some detail to the sketch to give Groat some character. I wanted him to look old and gnarly so I added lots of bumpy scales, especially around the eye.

Basic Colour Block

Next I blocked in the basic colour scheme as a guide and to sort out the tonal values of the picture. (Ratio of dark to light)

A lot of people tell me they cant draw to save themselves. I believe they just stop before they add the detail.

Adding the Detail

The focal point of the picture is the eye, so that's where I started to add the detail. I sketched over the scales to darken and texture them. Added in some hot red and yellow tones to draw the viewer's eye to meet Groat's.

More Detail

Basically, I continued to fiddle in the detail out toward the nose and mouth, adding some highlights to the darker scales.

This is the most time consuming part of the painting.

The more detail you want to add, the longer it takes.

Final Painting

I continued to darken and texture the picture to give it a solidity. Finally, I added in a dark background with just a hint of stems and foliage

This digital painting was created on my A3 size Wacom graphics tablet and stylus and took about five hours of sketching and painting tme to complete.