How can I paint an inanimate object coming to life?
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.