Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The birth of the "Head of Uuhlj"

I was at the laundromat recently without anything to do while waiting for my laundry to do it's thing when suddenly I pulled out my sketchbook and started doodling. As usual, I started out sketching a bunch of not so great drawings that looked really bad, but after enough tries I eventually came up with a sketch I liked and would later wind up painting...
"Head of Uuhlj"
Jim Pavelec's new demon book "The Golden Ones" was finally distributed, and since I donated enough to his Kickstarter for it I got a copy. It's a really amazing book full of some very impacting, and creepy artwork. It made me really want to sit down and take another stab at designing my own demon, and that's what I had in mind when I did the following sketch...
1. Initial Drawing
1. A tight drawing leads to a tight painting, so it's good to really put the effort into nailing the drawing. Looking back, there are a few things I could have described better at this stage, but overall I was happy with what I came up with.
2. Flat colors, hints of form
2. Here, I laid in some flat colors to help me separate the creature from the background. I knew I wanted this painting to have strong shadows, with a feel of emerging from the darkness, so I filled a layer with a dark purple to unify the colors and to give me a good base from which to build up my lighting.
3. At this point, I'm starting to figure out all of my forms and I'm trying to introduce some color variety so it has more life to it. Trying not to get too detailed.
4. Here, I introduce a spotlighting effect. This is where I decided that I would leave the lower half in shadow and illuminate the top half. I'm really thinking about the mood I want to get from this piece. I also hint at the lighting off camera with the red in the lower left and the glow in the upper right.
5. Pushing the lighting, trying to describe the tumorous forms on his face, borrowing a trick I saw in Donato's Mechanic tutorial video. I also decided this needed to exist in an environment, so I came up with the idea to add a staircase to help lead the eye up and around the piece, and I echoed the staircase in the background to give the piece some depth.
6. Since my environment is mostly blue/purple and along with the help from Stephen Najarian who gave me a paint-over critique, I came to the conclusion that red just wasn't working for a back-light, it just didn't make sense in the environment, so I in some bluish bounced lighting into the shadows, to make it feel more like it was a part of the setting, plus it gives a good hot/cold dynamic between my highlights and shadows, also added some colorful glow to the steps. I originally called this piece DONE when I reached this point...

7. Final
7. ...but then I got another really helpful paint-over critique from Sam Flegal, who encouraged me to punch up the colors and contrast in my values. I also got a lot of feedback saying that he should be more wet and slobbery. So I took another couple passes at the piece and I'm really glad I did because I think this new version has a lot more impact than before.

I mentioned on my Facebook that I had something special in store for this guy, but I'm leaving that for the next blog post, so come back Friday and check it out. Thanks for stopping by!

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