Monday, August 25, 2014

Tomato Wyrm Project

In an effort to tackle more character design, I have decided to create a detailed reference sheet for a creature I call the tomato wyrm. 

This my initial sketch. He's a flightless dragon, which are sometimes called a wyrms, but not always. I am fusing together a tomato caterpillar and a gecko to get a balance of wormy and lizard.

The next step (after amassing a pool of reference photos) was building the maquette. I'm using Sculpey as usual, which is built on top of a foil and tape skeleton. I photographed the maquette in direct and diffused light. The direct light I will be using more frequently to get those dramatic cast shadows, but the soft light is nice to refer back to since sometimes dramatic light can make it hard to read the anatomy.

I'm not one to create very detailed under-drawings, but I've learned my lesson that taking more time at this stage is going to mean less corrections in the future. The little circles help with imagining the the creature standing on a flat surface in perspective.

In this next stage I'm painting in occlusion shadows, which are the shadows you see when two surfaces meet and there's a gap between them. I like to think of what a 3D model looks like before you add "lighting". This is the first time that I have tried this technique, which is the method that illustrator Sam Nielson uses.  After the occlusion shadows are painted, I will move on to the cast shadows and color!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thumbelina Final

The entry deadline for Jon Schindehette's Personal Poster Challenge was today. I finished my piece just in time!

I have a couple more process shots: 


Check out all the other spiffy entries at the Infected By Art website.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thumbelina WIP 2

Some progress on a small part of my Thumbelina illustration:

I'm using a basic round brush with canvas texture built in and then a mixer brush made of several parallel lines, giving it a nice brushy look. It seems like I'm using a different tools every time I paint digitally, but I think this combination might stick around.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Thumbelina WIP

The most recent "challenge" put on by Jon Schindehette has me really excited. The challenge involves creating a poster and is very open-ended with the only strong suggestion that it relate to "legends, lore, myths, & fairy tales". This makes perfect sense considering the audience of fantasy fans who will be purchasing the prints.

This thumbnail is sort of where I started. I say "sort of" because I went through two other related concepts that had a fair amount of thumbnailing and research involved. One centered around a griffin in a regular taxidermy shop and the other around a guy sewing up a jackalope in a mythological creature taxidermy shop. The voice of reason a.k.a my sister pointed out the morbidity of the concept, so I went searching again for ideas. I don't really remember how I came up with doing my take on Thumbelina, but I settled on that idea relatively quickly because it's a fairytale familiar to most in the fantasy community, providing some basis of connection with my audience. I also knew that I would have an opportunity for some cool dynamic poses with the narrative that I was developing for this illustration. You can't go wrong with cool dynamic poses.

A lot happened between the thumbnail and here. I gathered a ridiculous amount of reference including my own photos of myself in my figures' poses, google images references of general plant and animal anatomy, images of a maquette frog I made and its cast-shadow on the water, and my new favorite, DAZ3D images for scale, anatomy, and perspective reference. This last one I will get into more detail later. One big change from the thumbnail was removing Thumbelina's wings. She does get wings at the end of the story, but she reads better as Thumbelina when she doesn't look like a fairy at first glance.

Several more large changes here. The fairy prince was just was not working in the previous version. The composition was ok, but the angle of his body was not very flattering, even if it was a dynamic pose. It's also easier to read that he's a fairy by having more of the wing in the picture (sounds like the opposite problem I had with Thumbelina). There are a couple things I have noticed work better in the previous version, including the values and the toad's pose. The Lilies may be a little too overbearing as well...We'll see what I can do about that in the next revision! 

 Just a little bit more on DAZ3D. It's pretty awesome. It's free and if you have to find a new pose like I had to, it's much easier to change your 3D model than having to remodel yourself or re-pose a live model. Not the best for lighting reference (or clothing), but then again if you have a better handle on the program than I do, I bet you can simulate very accurate lighting reference. I bought the frog model (very inexpensive) but the other two are part of the free package for DAZ.

Here's the re-posed dude with some floating frog phalanges.

Some fantastic submissions have already been submitted to the challenge, which you can check out at the Infected By Art website. If you want to get DAZ, you can go here. Have fun with it!