Wednesday, December 23, 2009

To the Sky - Finished painting and progress images

As can be seen in my previous entry, I posted four progress steps for a painting titled "To the Sky." This is the completed painting:

This was primarily an exercise to push contrast. I noticed much of my previous work was lacking in contrast, falling either too light or too dark with not much variation between. While I definitely still see room for improvement, I was able to iron out some difficulties and definitely have ideas on how to improve for next time.

Although I included them in a previous post, I think it's worth posting the progress images here to show the steps leading up to this painting.

Thumbnail sketch:

This is where I figured out my composition and the basic figures. This was not my first thumbnail, as I did quite a few before settling on the composition and poses.

High contrast study:

Before even putting paint to paper, I wanted to determine the areas of light and dark. Anything below 50% is black, and anything above 50% is white. I still need practice on this, but I was able to figure out the basic areas of shadow.

Final pencil drawing:

This is where I fleshed out figures, forms, and details. The full tones will come with watercolor and not with graphite, so this is why this version is so low-contrast. There are many areas where I do not want graphite showing through the watercolor, and some areas where it's desirable.

Color comp:

A bit of digital color over the pencil drawing helps me decide my colors and detail the contrast a bit. For this, I wanted the vibrant blue of the sky to compliment the yellow and orange tones of the gryphon and cloak. These colors aren't meant to be a set in stone, however. Often I deviate slightly from the color comp if I find certain colors work better with the watercolor; digital color never quite works the same as watercolor.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More pen sketches

12/15/09 Edit - I added a color comp to the gryphon rider images below

Here are some more quick pen sketches I did to include with calendar orders. These are my favorites out of all of them:

A peregrine with a huge head. Since these were quick sketches, often my bird anatomy gets wonky. They're all fun, though, and great exercises in hatching:

Possibly my favorite out of all of them. A Gray Crowned Crane:

It would make sense that if a burning phoenix landed on a branch, that it would catch fire too!

Anthros are something I haven't had much practice with, but they're pretty fun to draw! This is someone's eagle-anthro character on DeviantART. When they bought a calendar, they requested I draw their character:

After spending some time on, I've been really trying to do more figure drawing, and practicing contrast. When I was at SCAD, I took an amazing class taught by professor Shawn Crystal called Drawing for Sequential Art. The class primarily taught constructive figure drawing, and a large portion focused on breaking things down into pure black and white. I've strayed a bit too far from that, and I need to get back into practice. Today, I did some more sketches and decided to try to practice contrast in color.

Color can be extremely tricky if you have difficulty with light and dark. Yellow does not necessarily always equal 'light,' and purple does not always equal 'dark.' Taking a painting into Photoshop and desaturating it can show you just how 'muddled' your tones can get!

Below are three preliminary steps for a piece I'm working on before I even touch color, and then a digital color comp. Thumbnail sketch, tonal study, and then the full pencil drawing (color comp added 12/15/09):

Usually I try to get the composition down in the thumbnail stage, but as I was doing the final pencil drawing I felt there needed to be something in the middleground to the right. I'm also trying to experiment with compositions that fall out of my comfort zone. Instead of placing the subject smack-dab in the middle, what about having a large expanse of sky? The subject still falls within the 'focus' area of the rule of thirds, but I wanted there to be a feeling of vastness. It will definitely be a challenge.