Can you help me paint the de­tail of oc­to­pus ten­ta­cles?

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation -

De­cem­ber 2014

Si­mon Du­rant, Eng­land

John replies

Oc­to­pus ten­ta­cles (which are arms, to be more ac­cu­rate) are made up of two sur­faces. There’s the up­per, rough part, which tends to be roughly tex­tured, and the lower sur­face con­tain­ing the suck­ers, which is gen­er­ally smooth. There are many vari­a­tions found in real life, so don’t feel like you need to stick with the pat­tern I’m draw­ing here.

Both sur­faces will gen­er­ally have glossy high­lights, but feel free to try dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions and colours. Just look at an an­i­mal visual en­cy­clopae­dia or do an in­ter­net search for ‘cephalo­pod’ and you’ll find plenty of ideas.

Here I’ve cho­sen a clas­si­cal archetype of paired suck­ers with an over­all red­dish hue. I give the up­per part a bumpy, glossy tex­ture us­ing cus­tom brushes and keep the suck­ers rel­a­tively smooth and glossy, but over­all main­tain­ing a loose, painterly style. I spend an hour work­ing on the im­age, but I’m sure I could spend much longer re­fin­ing the de­tail and clean­ing things up. The im­por­tant thing is to first sub­di­vide the two sur­faces, then sketch in rough oval shapes for the suck­ers. Al­ways work big to small.

You can save time by us­ing 3D sculpt­ing pack­ages to cre­ate a base for your de­signs.

Al­ways try to come up with your own story be­hind your char­ac­ters – this will make them mem­o­rable.

Use a smooth brush for the suck­ers and a tex­tured brush for the up­per sur­face.

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