Put a fresh spin on an old tale
Rafael Sarmento turns Arthurian legends sci-fi.
When I start the illustration process, it’s rare that I already have a final image in mind. For me, much of the journey in the digital realm is about using the pixels and digital canvas to pursue not just an idea, but a storytelling concept, to find the mood that will fit that feeling I have in my head.
The original brief for this is about a personal interpretation or deconstruction of Merlin and Morgana, from Arthurian legend, which I happen to be incredibly passionate about. I have a glimpse of an atmospheric scene in mind, which I’m not 100 per cent certain about at first. We’ll find that mood together, here, opening doors in your minds to this kind of intuitive approach for image-making. One that the digital tools enable us to do.
I suggest you embrace this intuitive approach. Not setting a specific goal makes possible explorations, discoveries and happy mistakes (yes, they do happen in digital painting all the time), which ultimately help us to define our vision, to trust our instincts, to develop our visual and artistic sensibilities, and start finding our own voice. Our artistic voice is the sum of everything that we experience – and most importantly, everything we allow ourselves to experience.
Let your intuition lead you through your creative process. You may be surprised with what you’ll discover. Be free, be chaotic… okay, let’s create!
1 Sketching the idea
First I lay down chunks of pixel paint, both lines and blobs of digital pigments, to start figuring out what the next steps will be. As you see, the real process is getting through all the changes I’ll make, in pursuit of the atmosphere I’m looking for in the final image. The sketching and blocking will be a major part of the workshop, before getting into the real deal.
2 Defining the direction
Here I start to define the shapes and overall direction. I’ll leave all the anatomy stuff and details for later stages, I’m just putting some elements together right now. I’m not sure how our Morgana here will be sitting (or even where). So far I only feel that Merlin will be trapped somehow – perhaps tied to that tree in the background? I need to start planning this right now!