Learn to control visual contrast
Demonstrates how he’s able to balance the competing demands of a complicated illustration using just three simple rules…
ainting digitally is almost without its limits. You have access to any colours you want, a massive selection of brushes, as many layers as your computer can handle, and the power to introduce tons of detail and texture very easily.
However, bringing these factors together in the same piece is likely to result in a poor illustration. For this reason, half of good painting is about knowing anatomy, texture, light and so
pforth. The other half is about controlling those choices and aligning conflicting elements to what the image is saying. Most of the tricks I use to discipline my art process come from one design principle: contrast control in composition. The rules for contrast control have three parts. First, people’s eyes are drawn to higher contrast areas. Second, too many high-contrast areas are fatiguing to the eye. Third, areas of interest should be surrounded by areas of simplicity or rest, and this fluctuation of rest and detail should create paths you want your audience’s eyes to travel along. These rules are simple to remember, but difficult to apply while painting.
This control over contrasts must be expressed simultaneously in the colours of the piece, the values, the edges, the textures and more. All these things must also be done in context: the detail areas should communicate the story, and the rest areas can’t be too boring or messy!