Friday, August 12, 2016

Red on the Mesa Process

I'm home sick drinking all the ginger ale in the tri state area so I thought I'd do a little write up on the process of a recent illustration I've finished!

I secretly want to call this 'Red on Top of the World' but I think a Pride & Prejudice film score reference is too esoteric.

I've been wanting to do another piece with Red for a while, a character I first drew a couple of years ago, as seen here in this file photo:

A month or so ago the idea of a really brightly colored desert really started to appeal to me, her story that I've been slowly putting together (to eventually be a comic or some other media) isn't 100% happy but I didn't want to set it in a grimdark kinda place and deserts aren't always just brown, I'm from Utah I'm an expert on deserts.

I knew I wanted her observing the landscape, I think these kinda of compositions are my favorite, the lone traveler and the vastness of the landscape behind them, or maybe I just really should admit I really like painting landscapes (I've always said I was more a character than environment artist, maybe I'm lying to myself, haha). Or maybe I'm just always super inspired by NC Wyeth:

ANYWAY, I did a ton of little pencil sketches during work meetings and on the bus trying to figure this painting out, and I can't find them otherwise I'd post them here, but imagine a hastily drawn rectangle with a bunch of indecipherable shapes in it. I then attempted to draw it out on the computer, thinking I'd figured it all out, which I hadn't and it was hard. So I jumped straight to color & shape because for some reason I'm starting to really like doing that lately, figuring things out in shapes instead of line sometimes really helps with environments for me. This whole scientific process is seen here:

So for choosing colors, it was actually pretty easy. I have this fantastic Photoshop addon called Coolorus. I put in the red of Red's #D71215 poncho (her namesake). I wanted to keep it warm since the desert is hot, etc, and as red is already warm I picked an analogic (essentially means 'the same', think analogy) color scheme. 

The addon has a handy button for schemes above the color wheel, I picked an accent too because maybe some green would look good in there somewhere. For Red herself I chose the colors in the original and oranged them up a bit, I mostly wanted her poncho/head to stand out, didn't care as much about the boots/legs.

Using these colors as a base I just changed the brightness/saturation/hue a bit for the different levels of the painting; foreground would be the the darker, cooler fuschia, midground a light orange, background, a paler, bluer (atmospheric perspective) version of the fuschia and the sky a very pale green.

I struggled with the composition of this one, as composition is not one of my strongest points. I tried to make the lines of the landscape lead to and frame her, as well as abusing the rule of thirds just a little bit.

I also checked my values a lot, with a white layer set to color above everything. I wanted her to be the darkest darks and some of the lightest lights (the clouds had to be white tho, that was in my vision) 

and there ya go!

Here's this again in case you forgot after reading all that.


~under the red poncho~

Thanks for reading!