Illustration from Imagination
Artist and designer Cameron Scott Davis demonstrates how a successful painting is one that stays true to its central concept.
The painting looks simple, but Cameron Scott Davis’ video shows it’s anything but. This making of Blood Eels of the Siren’s Ossuary is a wideranging, freewheeling talk covering concepts, composition, pencil line art, Photoshop painting and much more. The most critical topic under discussion, though – and the idea that sets this training video apart – is Cameron’s approach to composition.
Much has been written about the technical aspects of composition, but insights into how the picture’s underlying concept shapes the composition are harder to come by. Cameron explains how the swirls of a whirlpool inspire the arrangement of the scene’s elements, lending extra weight to the central idea of a siren pulling her victims in. He makes it sound simple, but if you can embrace the principle of using composition as a symbolic device, it could potentially transform your work.
The rest of the video is more traditional in its approach, but no less valuable. Cameron shows how he switches back and forth between paper and Photoshop, blowing up his chosen thumbnail and printing it out so he can render the drawing in pencil, then scan it back in. It sounds laborious, but he doesn’t want the finished illustration feel too digital.
The closing stages, where Cameron presents a warts-and-all look at the decisions he took before changing his mind, will give comfort to anyone who believes professionals somehow produce perfect images effortlessly.
You’ll also see how every decision Cameron makes (or un-makes) is informed by the concept, right up until the end. And learn an important lesson about knowing when to stop, as he reveals the things he’d do differently if he were starting the painting afresh.
It’s a video that appears simple on first viewing, but, like the painting itself, reveals hidden depths.
Cameron Scott Davis’ video reveals the concepts and techniques behind his Blood Eels of the Siren’s Ossuary painting. Cameron believes that working up the line art in pencil and scanning it in helps keep the final image from feeling digital. Later in the video, Cameron turns his attention to detailing, – he’s happy to experiment with new ideas constantly. The central idea at the thumbnail stage is to find a visual symbol to give the composition extra power.