Having recently completed a character illustration for an author i got into contact with through instagram, I thought i would upload a few images of the creative process this illustration went through from sketch to completion.
Preliminary sketch. (above)
Not always, but sometimes especially with character design i like to start off with a simple sketch. I find this epecially useful with characters that may have certain traits and objects that they are holding, like in this case a ball of flame. As well as getting the idea for the character design im also considering the composition of the painting and the perspective or viewpoint the camera is using to observe the creature. Before attempting a sketch i always find it useful to get inspired and have a look at some similar ideas and themes.
Adding values. (above)
At this stage i will be adding the values (lights and darks) and blocking in all my big shapes. This really starts to bring depth and structure to my paintng. Here. I work out where the main light source is coming from, in this case its from behind the creature, from there i can work out where the light will illuminate his body. The last thing on my mind is detail, from my experiance the details should be left to the very end of the painting. The most important steps to take care of first is the composition, values and shape/simplicity of the image. The image needs to be able to be read with ease and make sense to the viewer, we are visual storytellers!
Adding a colour overlay. (above)
Now i begin to think of a colour scheme, I use layer settings like overlay, colour or multiply in photoshop which are very useful for adding colour to a greyscale painting. In this case i used some good old complimentary colours (blue and orange). As i have already established the values of my painting, i can simply paint my entire character in blue and ill automatically get my lights and darks taken care of through my values underpainting.
Adding details. (above)
So now the sketch, composition, values and colour are established i can now relax and start to detail my painting. I begin to add some little cuts in the wings, some highlights to the cloth, some tribal type tattoos and other details like hair and glowing effects. I call this bit the relaxing stage because the main fundamentals of the painting are completed, the details can be seen as the iceing on the cake. I can really have fun at this point, normally ill listen to a podcast and loose myself within the image.
Final render. (above)
Overall im happy with the end result. I think concetrating on light and how it interacts with things is very important for realism. Ill be sure to think more about dynamic lighting for my future paintings. My favourate style i want to be known for is dark, atmospheric and cinematic imagary, lighting is very important in this style. Which reminds me of a great book i own but havnt paid much attention to !!
More Demon commissions please !