Paint a moody gothic art­work

Rov­ina Cai com­bines tra­di­tional and dig­i­tal.

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

This work­shop will ex­plain the tra­di­tional and dig­i­tal tech­niques I use to cre­ate an il­lus­tra­tion based on Beauty and the Beast. I’ll start sketch­ing in Pho­to­shop, then make a graphite drawing, and fi­nally I’ll take it back into Pho­to­shop for edit­ing and colour­ing.

The sub­ject of the il­lus­tra­tion is one of my favourite vis­ual tropes: that of bal­anc­ing beau­ti­ful and dark themes. I en­joy the chal­lenge of tak­ing some­thing ro­man­tic and in­tro­duc­ing some­thing dark and un­set­tling to it. There’s a lot of po­ten­tial for cre­at­ing a moody, haunt­ing im­age with this sub­ject mat­ter. Colour is cru­cial in set­ting the con­cep­tual tone of an im­age. A muted pal­ette with sub­tle touches of colour sug­gests a haunt­ing at­mos­phere. Edges are an­other way to heighten the at­mos­phere within an im­age; soft edges con­vey a sense of mys­tery, so when I’m drawing I’ll cre­ate sharper edges around the fo­cal area, and softer loose pen­cil strokes around the rest of the im­age. I con­stantly as­sess and tweak the colours and edges as I work, to keep the tone of the il­lus­tra­tion on track.

My method of colour­ing a drawing uses ad­just­ment lay­ers, solid colour fills and gra­di­ent fills, all set to var­i­ous layer blend­ing modes. This tech­nique is in­tu­itive, and it’s fun to play with the dif­fer­ent set­tings and stack one ef­fect on top of an­other. Once you get to know the tech­nique, you’ll have a pow­er­ful set of tools that can be used on your own work, whether tra­di­tional or dig­i­tal.

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