Please help me de­pict a char­ac­ter who’s been turned to stone.

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation -

JD Black­well, US

Mark replies

To paint re­al­is­tic nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als such as stone the key isn’t just to show the ba­sic struc­ture and sur­face tex­ture, but also an ob­ject’s age and how it fits into the sur­round­ings. Think through what’s hap­pen­ing with boul­ders, and study nat­u­ral rock for­ma­tions. You can add more de­tails by age­ing the ma­te­rial: cre­at­ing cracks, paint­ing on signs of weath­er­ing, adding ex­tra colours to de­pict mould, moss and marks.

To an­swer this ques­tion I’ll cre­ate a gi­ant who was turned into stone hun­dreds of years ago. I start with a sim­ple, eas­ily recog­nis­able sil­hou­ette. Af­ter block­ing in the back­ground and de­cid­ing on the light source, I paint in the main lights and shad­ows in­side my sil­hou­ette to es­tab­lish the crea­ture’s over­all form. I keep adding tex­tures us­ing cus­tom brushes.

It’s im­por­tant to vary your brushes, try­ing to em­u­late na­ture. Use ran­dom spots for mould, grainy brushes for moss, and pal­ette-knife-like brushes for hard and rough sur­face qual­i­ties.

I add de­tails un­til I’m sat­is­fied, and I start to in­te­grate the fig­ure with its sur­round­ings. I add bounce lights on the lower part of the body, and ex­tra moss and grass on up­ward-fac­ing sur­faces where the crea­ture merges into the ground plane.

Af­ter this the im­age just needs some fin­ish­ing touches, colour ad­just­ments and a scale ref­er­ence with the hu­man hiker fig­ure, which also serves to add ex­tra sto­ry­telling to the piece.

Au­gust 2015

Cre­at­ing a crea­ture that’s been turned to stone isn’t just about paint­ing a re­al­is­tic tex­ture, but also in­te­grat­ing your char­ac­ter into its sur­round­ings nat­u­rally. I al­ways try to block in the main ma­te­rial with var­i­ous tex­ture brushes in the first phase, and then add some age­ing, wear and ad­di­tional colours.

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