Friday, May 30, 2014

George R. R. Martin Portrait Process

When I started this piece, I knew I wanted the image to have a design fitting for a Tshirt, so it had to have an interesting silhouette. I didn't want it to look like it was just a rectangle pasted onto a shirt, I wanted it to look like it belonged.
1. Initial Sketch
1. With my sketch I established the overall shape of the portrait, as well as a base color to serve as a suggested shirt color. I was trying to make sure I had all of the features where they needed to be so that things wouldn't look wonky once I started painting.
 2. Here I start to give the face some form, I'm working in broad strokes, trying not to think about detail for now, I want the bigger shapes to work on their own first.
3. Punching up the values with an overlay layer. By saturating the blues I'm trying to give it more of an icy cold feel to it. I knew from the start I wanted to give him bright, glowing, blue eyes like the wights / white walkers are described as having, and I was following the visual cues from the show. Also started blocking in the beard, again broader strokes first, detail comes later.
 4. Hey, it's starting to look like George! Here I added in the rims of the glasses, brightened up the eyes and started laying in the fine beard hair details. Now that it looks like the right person, time to rough him up a bit...
 5. Snow. He had to be covered in snow. This was pretty much a requirement if I'm going to make him an Other. I thought icicles hanging down from his visor would be a cool touch too. I tried to make sure it didn't look like the ice was melting, because after all he isn't emitting any heat, he's a source of cold. I also start working on the fur-line.
 I wasn't entirely happy with the fur the way it was, so I thought back to the show, and looked up some photos of good-ole Ned Stark, and took a close look at how his cloak worked. I saw the fut didn't actually completely encompass his neck, but instead, it came to intersecting leather straps in the shape of an X that keeps the cloak on the shoulders of the wearer. Much happier with the change. In order to get the leathery texture, I downloaded some photos of leather from CGtextures and placed them over the straps to make them look real, and from there I added hand painting to keep it from looking too photo-like. I was having trouble painting both sides of the fur cohesively, so I copy pasted and flipped the one side onto the other, you can see their identical above.
7. Even more snow. Seriously, every inch needs to be covered, these guys are from a place called "The Land of Always Winter". I also covered up the fact that I mirrored the fur by adding the snow on top, I'm pretty happy with how that worked out. From here I just kept adding more and more detail, including the little gem that I saw usually accompanying the hat George is always wearing, I thought it gave another interesting element to the piece.
8. At this point, I decided to do some end of the painting level adjustments to really make the piece pop more, especially with the eyes. Also, since I didn't bother masking out the piece in the beginning, I had to do it at the end, the red area shows the part that is masked out. Everything that isn't red is part of the actual printed image if it were to appear on a shirt.
9. Final Painting
9. After some consideration, while I still think the painting would look awesome printed on a Navy Blue shirt, I decided that for showing off the image online, it looks much better on a black background. It just makes everything pop out more in my opinion.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my process of how I turned George R. R. Martin into a White Walker. I know it doesn't happen that way in the books but I hope that other readers can enjoy the homage.

And a sincerely warm thank you to George R. R. Martin for creating my favorite world to get lost in  and explore. I can't even begin to add up all the hours I've spent enjoying this story.

Buy a print of the above piece on my InPrnt shop! CLICK HERE
Buy a print of the above piece on my InPrnt shop! CLICK HERE

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