Do you have any ad­vice for cre­at­ing a dy­namic group shot?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imaginenation Artist Q&A - Rosanne Hayes, Ire­land

An­swer

Sara replies

A well-bal­anced group im­age should show the var­i­ous char­ac­ters in an ef­fec­tive man­ner, and em­pha­sise their char­ac­ter­is­tics and dy­namic na­ture. The fig­ures in the fore­ground will clearly have more promi­nence, but they can’t all be in the fore­ground. I’ve found that a use­ful way to show them is to use a view that’s slightly from above, which es­pe­cially suits a por­trait-for­mat im­age.

One tech­nique to lift the char­ac­ters from the back­ground and give them a de­gree of di­men­sion­al­ity is to in­tro­duce ar­chi­tec­tural or nat­u­ral el­e­ments. Note that these el­e­ments need to be in keep­ing with the scene’s set­ting. In my il­lus­tra­tion I add a stair­case and put in semi-nat­u­ral ob­jects (some stand­ing stones in the back­ground). I also add tufts of grass and worn rock, be­fore cre­at­ing a very rough and ready sketch of the char­ac­ters. I keep my el­e­ments on dif­fer­ent lay­ers, which en­ables me to make cor­rec­tions to the im­age to­wards the end of my paint­ing process.

Usu­ally, I’ll want to em­pha­sise the im­por­tance of the main char­ac­ter and so I would nor­mally place them in the cen­tre of the com­po­si­tion where the viewer’s eye will look first. How­ever, in this case I’m keen to cre­ate greater dy­namism and so I leave that area free. I want the viewer’s eye to move from top to bot­tom, tak­ing in all my char­ac­ters as they do so.

Leav­ing the cen­tral point of the il­lus­tra­tion clear of im­por­tant el­e­ments means that the fo­cus isn’t placed on a sin­gle char­ac­ter.

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