Please help me depict a character who’s been turned to stone.
JD Blackwell, US
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.
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.