Step by Step: Get­ting the colours right

ImagineFX - - Fantasy Workshop -

1 Gath­er­ing ref­er­ence

Of­ten dur­ing a pho­to­shoot with a model I’ll take plenty of pic­tures and experiment with dif­fer­ent poses and vari­a­tions. This re­sults in lots of ex­tra ref­er­ence, and this im­age was cre­ated with re­cy­cled scrap ref­er­ence from past projects. As for the birds, I spend a lot of my free time at the zoo. Stock photos fill in the gaps.

2 Cre­at­ing a de­tailed pre­lim­i­nary

I usu­ally make my sketches about a third to half the over­all size of the fi­nal. In this case the sketch was 12x18 inches and the paint­ing was 20x30 inches. For these I use tus­can red Col-Erase pen­cil, white char­coal and ei­ther pre-toned pa­per or a cot­ton pa­per that I tone with a wash of wa­ter­colour.

3 Dig­i­tal colour study

A dig­i­tal study en­ables me to experiment with a range of colour schemes. I scan in my pen­cil study and then cre­ate a sep­a­rate mask for all the dif­fer­ent el­e­ments. It’s a te­dious step, but I can then ad­just ev­ery­thing sep­a­rately with ad­just­ment lay­ers such as Lev­els, Color, Soft Light and Color Bal­ance.

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