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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Star Wars GM Screen: A look into my process

So, the gaming group I am a member of (SparkForce7) commissioned me to create a GM screen for the campaign. It's been pretty rough to tackle but I'm currently enjoying the work. The project started out with thumbnails, I did a total of six different concepts in a vertical layout and when an agreement was reached I went out and bought the materials I was going to be needing. 

I'm working on 140lb 4ply hot press illustration board. I wanted to use watercolor paper for this, my ideal media, but given the size it was inappropriate to do so and would have been nothing but trouble. When I had my thumbnail done there were some slight modifications needed before I did the pencils, but that issue had already been resolved. 

Above is a portion of the piece. The dimensions are 11inx32....or possibly 34in. I don't recall, but I did make sure it's to size so no worries =}

This is the starting pencil. Normally I don't go into detail with shadows and what not because it will have a negative effect on the watercolors that I put down, making them seem heavy and muddy. But because I have two lightsabers I wanted to be sure of some of the darks early on.

BTW.....I have never attempted to render a lightsaber in before, so I hope it turns out. Consequently, nor have I ever used watercolor on illustration board...

Ok. First step was to block in some of my pure tone black areas. Another first for me here, as I don't normally work this way but given I am switching up my media a bit for this piece I am adjusting. I have a rather bad habit of not getting dark enough with my work and having very even tonal values, so adding in some black in areas will help me to be aware that I do indeed have to deal with this. After all, you can't have lights without darks, and because I want the sabers to pop, laying dark areas is going to be very important.

Here I have begun with a black acrylic wash and watercolor. Again, I am paying attention to my darks, but also the lights. That red and blue light is going to factor in later, so I need to tackle it early on.

Okay, I added in some basic color to my main focal figure. Instead of painting in black where the shadow of the face is I left that for later. I want to hit the face and the shadows with a blend of the blue and red light, so if I paint in a black acrylic wash here I will not be able to achieve the effect I want of some reflected light in the shadows. All the colors at this point are pretty basic and most of the colors are laid in with watercolor so far.

I threw in more of the red and blue into the figure here because my first washes weren't strong enough. I also laid in some darked tone in the face shadows, using a minimal amount of acrylic wash. I  also hit the lightsaber hilts and the figure in the background with some basic colors. Later on I will add in more tonal values. Though you can't see it in these images, I am working the entire piece in unison, laying in washes consistently so that nothing gets washed out or look separate from the rest of the piece.

I still have a ways to go on this piece, but will have it done by the end of the month.

I just realized how much of a help painting Mona (see previous post) was in the rendering of this piece since the light source is similar if not the same. Goes to show how helpful studies are. Glad to see the tuition is good for something.

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