My cozy bar lacks at­mos­phere. Help!

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Your Questions Answered... -

Kerri Wicker, Scot­land

An­swer Tom Fox replies

First, I con­sider what sort of lens and per­spec­tive to use. Here I’ve cho­sen to draw the char­ac­ters with a mid to long lens. The vanishing points con­verge rel­a­tively slowly: it’s very close to draw­ing in one-point per­spec­tive. A long lens cre­ates an ob­ser­va­tional feel to the im­age, as if view­ing from a dis­tance and zoom­ing in. Sec­ond, I think about de­sign­ing the light. I want a cozy scene so I chose a warm, evening light, which im­plies a com­fort­able set­ting and lack of dan­ger. This light­ing, com­bined with the choice of lens, helped to cre­ate a re­laxed scene be­fore I even con­sid­ered the sub­ject of the char­ac­ters.

Draw­ing peo­ple drunk is a chal­lenge. Ob­serv­ing drunk peo­ple, you’ll see of­ten they talk in an in­tense way. They ges­tic­u­late, wave their hands around, stamp their feet and do just about any­thing to sup­port what they’re say­ing. It’s hard to make your­self un­der­stood when you’re drink­ing, so they use all the tools at their dis­posal. There are also vary­ing de­grees of drunk­en­ness and it can be easy to mis­judge it. Here, the char­ac­ters are lean­ing in to­wards each other: they’re re­laxed and com­fort­able, but not danc­ing on ta­bles just yet. I’ve painted the back­ground loosely, to help draw at­ten­tion to my fig­ures.

Keep­ing the pal­ette of the back­ground muted and in­creas­ing sat­u­ra­tion within the fig­ures helps to draw fo­cus on where you want to viewer to look. Use Pho­to­shop’s Lasso and Paint Bucket tools to fill in a flat sil­hou­ette layer. Above, add colour lay­ers for sep­a­rate el­e­ments: skin, hair, clothes… and beer!

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