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