This was going to be a quick piece – a bit of drawing from life, but then I got carried away. As with every illustration I do, I get to a certain point (usually when all the flat colours are applied) and I think “I hate this stupid picture and myself! Why do I even do this?! Aggggghhh!” Then I unfold myself from my desk, stretch, and contemplate jumping out of a window. Luckily I’m not a complete moron, so I just go for a walk instead. This one took a long time. Not because the lighting is complex, but because there are so many bloody books that had to be individually detailed – which is my own fault, so maybe I am a moron. My computer is old and slow as well, so I had a couple of instances where Photoshop refused do anything, then promptly died, losing me about an hours worth of work, which is not at all causing me to lose hair. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as it was inconvenient to draw. Cheers.
This is a two hour study of a photograph I found Pinterest. I find that I don’t really do that many studies, which is stupid really, because drawing from real life is so informative. I’ve taken some artistic liberties with the scale, as well as few adjustments here and there. I like the composition in this piece and the way the eye is drawn to the man reading the book. The reason your eye is drawn here is because the shape of the man is so different from the geometric and angular shapes of the books and doorway, so it interrupts the pattern. Anyway, I need to get on with colouring it. Enjoy!
I tried something different with this one, that being the light being overcast and thus diffused, rather direct light. Not sure how I feel about yet. I think perhaps I haven’t fully grasped how to paint this type of lighting yet – it could be my values are off a bit or maybe my use of colour is wrong. Either way it’s good to do this type of work because it breaks me out of my comfort zone. I also messed around with the hue and saturation to give it a bit more atmosphere and washed-out look. Enjoy!
This took a little longer than anticipated, but it’s finally finished! So… the final part of the process is by far and away the longest and most tedious. I can kind of switch off my brain a little bit here and just settle in for the long haul. I’m adding contact shadow, detail (like giraffe patterning and cheetah spots), light and occlusion (for volume), and texture. I use line work very sparingly here – usually only for facial features and defining areas that might otherwise lost.
From a compositional standpoint a couple characters had to be adjusted here and there. The painted dog had to be shifted because it’s dark colouring blended in too much with buffalo, but luckily I was able to swap her out with the meerkats. The secretary bird’s look also had to change because… well, it was crap and I didn’t use enough reference for the initial sketch. I also reduced the size of the iguana because it was originally almost as big as the dragons from Game of Thrones.
So that’s it! Hope you enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed working on it!
This isn’t finished yet (maybe tomorrow), but I wanted to post up the work-in-progress to show the general process of how I work and how much things can change from the original idea.
I almost always start with a rough pencil drawing (left) – this can take a few tries, but the sketch is only small, hence why we call it a “thumbnail”. These type of drawings should only take a couple of minutes and often they are barely comprehensible to anyone but the artist drawing them.
The second stage shown here (top right) is just an expansion of the original pencil sketch, but done digitally and more refined. Personally, I move quickly to digital because it is far more forgiving than traditional media for erasing and changing things – again I can be super loose here, sometimes expressing characters as simple shapes that get tightened up as I progress. The original image was pretty similar to the thumbnail sketch, but then I added the cheetah and the water buffalo… and then I got carried away and made things difficult for myself… Anyway, because things became more complex I had to balance the composition. The Lion is central, while the giraffe splits the image diagonally. Either side of the diagonal are five animals, not including the lion and giraffe.
Once the overall composition is complete it’s time to add colour. I tend to use blocks of colour first to get the basic shapes of the characters down and then after that I go in with a different value (tone/shade) and a textured brush to give the basic colour some variation.
I’ll post the rest of the process tomorrow… see you then!