Jo-Anne Melbury, England
Creating a creature made out of slime requires getting comfortable working with a tricky material to render. There are two key factors to consider: the subsurface scattering that occurs in translucent materials; and the specular highlights that form on wet surfaces.
As with anything unfamiliar you paint, reference is key. However, reference gathering can be more fun than a simple online image search. I use an online recipe to make my own slime using borax, clear school glue and some food colouring. This gives me a great resource to refer back to throughout my process.
Working in Photoshop, I paint a creature that has a core skeleton inside a mass of slimy tentacles and an eerie internal glow. Getting creative with this effect inside of the creature has the two-fold benefit of creating more light to play off the internal structures, while also helping to create a focal point against the dark background.
When creating lighting effects, whether it be the internal glow passing through the material or the shine on the surface, Overlay layers are an artist’s best friend. They enable the colours underneath them to show through while applying whatever new colour you select, and are a great way to layer in light. I use Overlay layers to punch up the internal glow as well as creating the specular highlights where the light directly hits the slime.
Don’t forget the effects of reflected light on your slime. Adding some subtle highlighting on rounded areas not affected by light directly can help give them form. I use an program called PureRef ( www.pureref.com) to create boards of reference that can remain on top of my Photoshop window while I work.