Saturday, October 17, 2009

WIP* me!

People often ask me how I create a piece of artwork from scratch so here's a quick guide to a picture I recently created. It all starts with a series of sketches that culminate in a final rough:As this was going to be a computer-based art piece, I scanned the sketch into the computer and then greyed out the rough. I then overlaid blocks of flesh colour and began work on the finer details of each figure.
The technique I like to use involves isolating areas and block filling with colour before playing with darkness and tone to create shadows and highlights. Although I have access to Adobe Photoshop, I still prefer to do this kind of work on an older competitor called Paint Shop Pro.

The image of the Earth was grabbed from Google and dropped into place. The illustration is to accompany a native American creation myth. The Apache believed that the early Earth was the size of a bean so the gods kicked it around like a football until it started to grow. Then the Creator – The-One-Who-Lives-Above - told the wind to get inside the ball and inflate it. Finally, Tarantula the Trickster attached a series of cords to the sphere and with a mighty tug, stretched the Earth to its current size. I just latched onto the football idea and created a team of 11 players.
Individual characters are first blocked in with black on the heavier shadow areas. Then shade and highlights are added. I try to give the overall picture a certain 'tone' so the choice of colours for the various costumes and masks is important.
Here's the finished item. Click on it to see a larger version. A picture of this complexity usually takes me a couple of working days to complete. I hope you like it.

*WIP - Work in progress.


joelmead said...

Very nice. I almost prefer the black and white…

Stevyn Colgan said...

Thanks Joel. There is an honesty I like about using good old traditional pen, ink and pencil. However, when you have deadlines, the computer allows you a pro finish in half the time. Plus, it's like the difference between a typewriter and a word processor; so much easier to correct mistakes. At the end of the day, it's still hand-drawn ... I'm just painting with light instead of pigment.