How can I paint an inan­i­mate ob­ject com­ing to life?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation Artist Q&A -

An­swer

Mark replies

I imag­ine an an­cient war­rior, rot­ting in a for­est swamp for decades, com­ing to life to aid his sum­moner, with help from some kind of dark magic.

The key for paint­ing some­thing com­ing to life is to show the process be­tween the two stages. In this case I want to show the skele­ton in a rel­a­tively dy­namic pose, to show that it’s alive. But I also want to de­pict it just be­fore its bone struc­ture has re­formed. I de­cide it could be cool to show the up­per part of the skele­ton al­most com­plete, but some of the ribs and bones still com­ing out of the wa­ter.

To make the im­age more dy­namic I tilt the hori­zon line and or­gan­ise the bones com­ing out of the wa­ter to point to­wards the most com­plete part, the up­per torso and head. This area be­came my fo­cal point.

The ex­tra light ef­fects of the dark magic help me to cre­ate a tan­gi­ble face, in­stead of show­ing sim­ply holes in the skull – and to have more value con­trast around the fo­cal area. I also use these lights to con­nect the fly­ing bones vis­ually, sug­gest­ing where they’re go­ing to end up.

I want to de­pict the skele­ton’s move­ment as it re­forms from small pieces of bones. I sug­gest move­ment by build­ing shapes around dy­namic lines. This also helps with sto­ry­telling and di­rect­ing the viewer to­wards my fo­cal ar­eas.

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