How to de­velop strong light­ing

Rudy Siswanto cre­ates a com­pelling cover.

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

Baby Bes­tiary was a com­mis­sion I had a lot of fun do­ing, es­pe­cially be­cause an­i­mals and crea­tures are my favourite sub­jects to paint. The client, Metal Wave Games, ap­proached me with a sim­ple brief: to cre­ate a mir­ror com­po­si­tion. I found it a chal­lenge be­cause I needed to make a sim­ple com­po­si­tion look in­ter­est­ing.

I usu­ally be­gin a paint­ing by adopt­ing a work­flow that’s used by many artists. I start by pro­duc­ing thumb­nails to help me de­cide on the over­all com­po­si­tion, then pro­ceed to put to­gether a ba­sic colour rough, be­fore even­tu­ally fi­nal­is­ing the colours by ren­der­ing the scene. This ap­proach en­ables me to fo­cus on the com­po­si­tion and the light­ing, rather than fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing my brush strokes on the can­vas and steadily ren­der­ing the paint­ing.

Be­cause of the sim­plic­ity of the com­po­si­tion, I needed to put a lot of ex­pres­sion into my char­ac­ters. In par­tic­u­lar, the fo­cal point was my op­por­tu­nity to ramp up the vis­ual in­ter­est in the com­po­si­tion. I al­ready had some­thing in mind about the flow of the im­age. I wanted the au­di­ence to fol­low the beasts’ jour­ney through life, start­ing from their in­fancy and all the way through their adult­hood. This means I needed to treat the light­ing in this paint­ing in a very spe­cific way, in or­der to tell the story be­hind the im­age.

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