Sim­plify your lines and val­ues

Shows how he starts with a sim­ple but strong mono im­age to en­sure ef­fec­tive com­po­si­tion

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

Robh Rup­pel starts with a sim­ple mono im­age.

very­one’s ap­proach to paint­ing is dif­fer­ent, but there are a few univer­sal truths in art mak­ing. Hav­ing a clear idea of what your paint­ing is about and un­der­stand­ing how shapes, de­sign and com­po­si­tion tell that story should never be over­looked in favour of tech­nique.

I al­ways try to de­velop a de­sign that works. I used to paint in the field all day, then come back, look over what I’d done and re­alise that most of the time I’d recorded ac­cu­rately what was in front of me but it was no great com­po­si­tion. The pieces lacked a strong sup­port­ing idea. It was like record­ing great di­a­logue on a film set, but hav­ing no over­all sto­ry­line.

So I set about es­tab­lish­ing a process that worked for me, to ad­dress what I per­ceived as my weak point. The sim­plest

Es­o­lu­tion was to see if I had an idea worth paint­ing be­fore I in­vested time and ef­fort into some­thing that couldn’t be im­proved after vi­su­al­is­ing the ini­tial con­cept.

Great de­sign works in only a few val­ues, much as a com­pelling story can be sum­marised in a few sen­tences. So I looked to the great de­sign­ers of his­tory, from Car­avag­gio, Wyeth and Frazetta to cin­e­matog­ra­phers I ad­mire such as Roger Deakins and Con­rad Hall. All their com­po­si­tions have a main idea and parts that support the idea. To that end, the first thing I need be­fore de­vot­ing time to a piece is to lay down a good de­sign, idea or com­po­si­tion. The fastest way to do that is to work in mono and if the re­sult isn’t com­pelling in its ab­stract form, dy­namic or in­ter­est­ing, then it’s best to try another lo­ca­tion, re­work the de­sign or go home.

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