ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation Artist Q&A -

How would you paint a fun­gal land­scape?

Len Avery, Eng­land


Nick replies

A quick look at the weird and won­der­ful ex­am­ples an in­ter­net search throws up should fuel any imag­i­na­tion. There’s a sur­pris­ing va­ri­ety to choose your in­spi­ra­tion from. For this ar­ti­cle I go for more recog­nis­able, mush­room shapes to base my com­po­si­tion on, but hope that a low eye-level will sug­gest an un­usual sense of scale. With this in mind I also elect for a por­trait for­mat.

I fire up ArtRage and start sketch­ing with the Pen­cil tool, with the Pre­cise set­ting tog­gled on (just my pref­er­ence). I base the im­age around a fo­cal mush­room shape with a sort of dou­ble cap. An ini­tial idea of light­ing is brought in us­ing sev­eral lay­ers of wa­ter­colour shad­ows (I set my lay­ers to Mul­ti­ply blend mode). I go on to in­tro­duce some bolder colours, us­ing the Chalk tool, on a cou­ple more lay­ers, just to make them eas­ier for me to edit.

Af­ter work­ing at these for a while I feel the need for some sense of back­ground, so I splash some sim­ple colours on lay­ers be­hind with the Light Pres­sure Chalk, which is set to Mot­tled, so as not to make them ap­pear too bland.

The key point about mak­ing this work, to my mind, is mostly about mak­ing the odd shapes con­vinc­ingly lit. Get that right and you can paint them just about any colours you want. Mine is a fairly con­ser­va­tive ap­proach that doesn’t stray far from colours you’ll find in na­ture. But please do push it any di­rec­tion you fancy. I keep work­ing at the line, colours and tones un­til the scene makes some sort of sense.

It’s easy to be in­flu­enced by iconic im­ages such as Alice in Won­der­land, but the amount of ref­er­ence avail­able online should en­able you to stray

in all sorts of di­rec­tions. I chose a por­trait for­mat for this land­scape to help em­pha­sise the strange­ness, but also to en­able me the show the full height of the cen­tral mush­room from closer in.

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