Illustration from Imag­i­na­tion

Artist and de­signer Cameron Scott Davis demon­strates how a suc­cess­ful paint­ing is one that stays true to its cen­tral con­cept.

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews -

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.

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