Auckland in Middle-earth?
I start working from the back forward. I don’t want the background to be too sharp, so I’m using only the rougher brushes and smudgers. I‘m asked to include the Auckland skyline, so I take the buildings with characteristic silhouettes, and make them a little less modern. I also want to imply a battle, but leave enough space for our characters to have their duel.
Remember those spheres they made you render in art school? Me neither. But it turns out they have a purpose beyond confusing and boring young people! I’ll often create reference spheres for my scene’s lighting scenarios, and use those as both my guides and my palate. They’re particularly helpful for metallic surfaces. Great modern masters like Donato Giancola will take chrome spheres to their reference shoots.