Step-by-step: De­pict a phys­i­cal strug­gle

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The base is im­por­tant, be­cause I can quickly see if my com­po­si­tion is work­ing and can make ad­just­ments if nec­es­sary. So I start with this sketch, and de­cide to keep every­thing sim­ple to fo­cus on the char­ac­ter’s body. I keep my line art rough be­cause it’ll be un­der­neath the real paint­ing, and be used as a base for the shad­ows in the scene.


Now I start to re­fine the body shape. I work the mus­cles on the arm and back, be­cause it’s where the sto­ry­telling takes place. The light needs to be strong here, to ac­cen­tu­ate the mus­cles. I also add strong lines on the legs, cre­at­ing some ten­dons to add more in­ten­sity to the fig­ure’s ef­fort. I work every­thing with a Soft brush to blend the colours to­gether.


I re­fine the arm mus­cles and en­hance their ex­er­tion with a strong light. The shoul­der is the fo­cus point of the body, so I add more light around this area to at­tract the viewer to this part. Then I work more on the mus­cles and ten­dons on his fore­arm and on his hand. I use a ba­sic Round edge set to Shape Dy­namic to pro­duce clear brush­strokes.

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