What tips do you have for de­pict­ing a vol­canic scene?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation -

Sandy Skel­ton, US

Bram replies

When paint­ing an en­vi­ron­ment I al­ways think about the mood and story I want it to con­vey. An im­por­tant fac­tor in cre­at­ing a con­vinc­ing story for an out­doors set­ting is the weather and tem­per­a­ture.

In the case of this vol­canic scene I want to en­hance the feel­ing that it’s a dan­ger­ous place to be. This is be­cause it’s full of red­hot lava! One way to do this is to use sharp, pointed shapes in­stead of soft, rounded ones. It also helps to use a warm, or­ange colour scheme, with a hazy yel­low, al­most poi­sonous, sky. Once you have an idea about the mood you want to con­vey it’s im­por­tant to have ev­ery el­e­ment in your scene sup­port that choice.

My process for paint­ing lava is fairly straight­for­ward. I start by block­ing out the big­ger shapes of the rocks and moun­tains and then add a layer on top. I then paint the lava in a dark, warm or­ange on top of this. Then I add an Over­lay layer on top and use a big Soft brush and a warm red to go over the lava and give it a glow to heat up the el­e­ments sur­round­ing it.

Af­ter that I add another Over­lay layer on top and go back in with a smaller brush and a bright yel­low to boost the lava in places where the streams are thick­est. The denser the lava, the warmer and brighter it will be­come. Fi­nally, I add small de­tails such as ris­ing smoke, em­bers waft­ing along on the warm air cur­rents and a dragon to the en­vi­ron­ment, which helps to give the im­age some nar­ra­tive.

The key to mak­ing an en­vi­ron­ment feel warm is in the colour tem­per­a­ture. Us­ing a lot of warm colours such as red, or­ange and yel­low helps

to make it feel just right.

Mak­ing lava feel hot isn’t par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult. Just keep on adding Over­lay lay­ers on top of each other to boost the heat com­ing off of it.

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