Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reference, Part 6

Okay, so another example.  For the piece, "Duress," I used a single photograph.  First I did the sketch.  Again, part pencil and part digital due to some changes that were made to the piece.

©Wizards of the Coast

Then the reference:

©Amy Belledin

So, the first thing you'll notice is that I'm not a female.  And not an elf, for that matter.  Though I did take some shots of my wife in a similar pose, I really wasn't happy with the result, and I ended up using this one of me.  As the drawing was pretty well settled, I didn't need to worry about any kind of feminization (something I've done plenty of times before).  This reference was more about light mapping and value structure.

As such, I went ahead and did a quick digital value study to iron out a few questions I had about the piece.

©Wizards of the Coast

Having settled a few questions I had, I moved forward with the painting, seen below.

©Wizards of the Coast

The first thing I want to point out is the placement of highlights on the elf's skin.  These are pretty much stolen directly from the reference photo.  I pushed the contrast where I felt it necessary and generally just tried to sell it all as well as I could.

The shadows on her face from the needles were arrived at quite simply.  I took my deathmask of Beethoven (seen here), lit it the same way, then held a pen at the same place and at the same angle as each needle in the piece.  This gave me the general size and direction of each shadow, which I then glazed directly onto the painting.  Using the same pen, I figured out the direction and degree of highlights on the various needles in space.

One of the things you may notice is that there really should be to some extent shadows of the webbed visceral all over her face and head.  Initially, in the value study I tried to account for it, but the piece felt a little too busy, and I figured it was better to ignore reality in order to keep her expression and the overall image as clear as possible.  It was going to be reduced for use on a playing card after all, and it's pretty likely that those shadows would have become a real mess.

Just as an aside, in case you're wondering, the piece was oil and measured 11"x8" on a piece of illustration board that measured 13"x10".  It resides in a private collection.

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