Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Tuesday 6th May 2014 - The Enlightened Emperor Workflow

Yes! I'm back after an impromptu bank holiday break, and this is the next workflow - The Enlightened Emperor.

I think this image probably gives the best look at how an image advances from the initial stages to the finished product, as I was very sensible with my saving process.

This image is also probably the most authentic one to the pencils, some minor parts were altered, but a lot of it remained as it was sketched. Background first as usual, I really like painting these mysterious mountains with clouds floating amidst them, so this wasn't traumatic in the slightest.

The midground - I wanted to put some form of shrine or temple in this image as well as one of these twisting bonsai tree formations, but thought against it as the environment wasn't the focus.

First pass of the emperor himself, it had started to dawn on me at this point that the longer I worked on an image the less vibrant, and more muted the colours became, so started out very saturated and bright, knowing the colours would change as the painting progressed.

It's also possible to see the very annoying thing of how the figure isn't integrated at all with the environment, this is still something that really frustrates me, but I can't think of how to overcome it, as I like to paint my image in layers, and integrate the subject and its environment later in the painting.

The colours are already changing a lot, I started painting blue into the yellow, as it was meant to be a reflective silky material, so it would reflect a lot of the ambient light. I also focussed on the folds, and made them quite hard and sharp - a quality of sheer materials. I really wanted a difference between the yellow cloth and the red under-robe, which I planned to be a thicker, cotton like material. So as well as different reflections of light there was also a difference in the folds.

Can also see the minor integration of having some of the grass in the foreground peek over the robe.

Details! This is the part that takes like, as long as the rest of the painting, for very minor changes. Just refining refining and refining some more. The embroidery patterns were both fun and infuriating at the same time - I used the bevel and emboss tool in Photoshop to basically cheat into making them look 3D without having to paint all the shadows.

Last little touches, mostly altering the colours slightly, tiny highlights, more flora flying in the wind, and bringing some clouds in from the right to further push the inclusion of subject into environment.

And that was basically it! This took about 1 day's worth of studio hours split over 2 days, day 1 was to lay in all the background and basic colours on the emperor, and day 2, coming back refreshed, was adding all the details and error checking.

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