Step-by-step: Develop a group dynamic
1 I start the design phase of the image by drawing medians and diagonals, locating the centre of the image. In this case I create a grid, dividing the width and height in three, but other artists might use the Golden Spiral or different kinds of grids – each solution is valid! I sketch the characters in a rough way, so I have an idea of the pose and perspective.
2 Active characters help to ensure the scene has dynamism. The sorceress casts a spell, the raven-woman spreads her wings, the deerman charges with a spear. Next, I focus on the anatomy, which is essential to ensure credibility and gives a naturalness to the characters’ gestures. Only at the end do I add details such as hair, clothing, weapons and armour.
3 At this point in the creative process I introduce colours. I usually start by painting the background, so I choose the type of lighting and where to place the light sources. In this case, the environment is characterised by a leaden sky, a prairie and some mountains, so I paint a cold, ambient light. I also use a warmer rim light, which introduces visual contrast.
4 Ambient light doesn’t cast sharp shadows, but gives a more defined look so I can show off the characters and their details. I pick desaturated colours to maintain the dark look of the sky, except for the magical light of the spear and the spell of the sorceress. I ensure that my characters are affected by aerial perspective, so I desaturate colours where necessary.