Thursday, January 8, 2015

Process Post: Incoming (Monsters)

Nothing personal to talk about here - I'm in a terrible place so I'd rather be positive and talk about one of my favorite pieces of 2014.

I’m pretty excited to talk about this piece as its completion was a bit different than most in that there was a large time span between starting it and finishing it.

I originally concepted this piece as part of my ‘Janaris’ project. I know I wanted to meld these two pieces –


- and show the main character interacting with and/or in the same frame as the monsters in the above picture.  Here was an original sketch (overlaid with grey)

I left this piece alone for a while.  I forget the exact reason – it was probably during my time of self-criticism and lack of effort.  I also remember being unhappy with my rock formation depiction and I was wavering back and forth on how I should have the monsters look and if they should be there at all.  (I was also having a hard time finalizing the monsters’ design – the original piece came from accident).  Overall, while I had some color blocked in, nothing looked right to me.  

I tried to add in more characters, the monsters, and color Jannis, the main character, in an effort to motivate me but it wasn't working.  I somewhat liked the sky (only in colors, it overall needed a lot of work), I didn't like the rocks, or the second character. 

Then came a large gap in my work and I moved, self-reflected – basically did everything covered in my last two blog posts. If you recall, I also made a commitment to change my style and embrace this sketchy outlining.

So I went back to this sketch and redid nearly everything.  I drew with a heavy hand, I left lines, I sketched and I felt much better about everything.  I also made the decision not to feature any monsters – while it loses a sense of incoming danger, I mostly wanted to have a foreshadowing of something coming, enacted by my character.

I was also really happy with my character's posing. It was much more dynamic and his left arm, along with the little rock formations on the ground (another detail I enjoyed), your eye is (I hope) drawn towards the center. The cliff face had a face as well. My problems when drawing rocks, and landscapes in general is that I treat them very flatly when they should be much more interesting as a 3D object, catching light in a variety of ways (I hope this makes sense, because I'm not exactly sure what I'm talking about).

However, it wasn’t all nearly as easy.  In my original sketch, the sky was giving me problems.  The issue was the same here as well. 

I googled ‘skies’, ‘clouds’, and ‘red sky’ and found a few pictures that were very interesting.  I took a lot of reference from there and was able to reproduce the sky you see here.

One thing I’ll note is that during all this, my color choices came to me naturally.  When the sky became redder, I added a red tint to the rocks and the ground. However much redder it got, I was able to apply that in the rest of the elements in the piece.  It’s a somewhat big step in the right direction as I often treated objects and elements as standalone.  The fact that I’m now thinking of color in context with its surroundings naturally make a big difference in how integrated my paintings are, rather than just difference elements places together.  I also tried to add a little bit of shadow on the rockface from Jannis' body. I hope it translates well as it's something completely new to me.

After I got the pose and clouds done, I just made a few little textural changes and played with the outline. I considered leaving the black outline to the cloud but realized it clashed with the piece as a whole so I left a dark outline to the figure and a fainter outline to the rocks to accentuate edges.

This is one of my favorite pieces and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Thanks for reading.