Got any ad­vice for draw­ing a scary skull that’s not too fan­tas­ti­cal in ap­pear­ance?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Your Questions Answered... -

Jakob El­lis, Aus­tralia

Damian replies

Paint­ing a scary-look­ing skull be­gins with paint­ing an ac­cu­rate skull, and then ex­ag­ger­at­ing its shapes and fea­tures. I start with a lot of the same land­marks that I use to con­struct a face, and look for the ma­jor plane changes that oc­cur along the edge of the face, from the ears along the bor­der of the edge of the cheek, down to the cor­ner of the mouth.

Once I have a rel­a­tively solid base I start to craft the neg­a­tive space to give the skull’s var­i­ous fea­tures a men­ac­ing, barbed look. Mark-mak­ing is also im­por­tant, be­cause the abra­sive us­age of brushes adds to the sense of vi­cious­ness to the skull’s character. I make sure that any fur­ther ren­der­ing re­in­forces the jagged el­e­ments that I con­tinue to in­fuse the piece with.

Fin­ish­ing the paint­ing with spooky light­ing en­hances the sense of dread.

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