Step-by-step: Paint­ing an emo­tional and up­set char­ac­ter

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation Artist Q & A -

1 I first gather ref­er­ence of an­guish from the web. The im­ages I’ve used show peo­ple with their hands on their heads in dis­ap­point­ment, mouths open and eyes and eye­brows squinted and fur­rowed in pain. In this ex­am­ple, I don’t copy the ref­er­ences ex­actly. I only use the ref­er­ences to get the ba­sic fa­cial ex­pres­sion and pose, but I draw it at a dif­fer­ent an­gle in this scene.

2 I first sketch out the ba­sic pose and com­po­si­tion, show­ing the rea­son for the char­ac­ter’s pain. In this scene, the char­ac­ter is a young in­ven­tor and me­chanic and the ro­bot friend he built has been bro­ken and is ly­ing in pieces in front of him. The cam­era an­gle is placed above the char­ac­ter to cap­ture his fa­cial ex­pres­sion in de­tail to com­mu­ni­cate his an­guish and sad­ness.

3 I then de­tail the im­age with line art, clar­i­fy­ing the fa­cial ex­pres­sion and im­por­tant de­tails. Other sto­ry­telling de­tails are im­por­tant in this phase, like the gear shapes on the char­ac­ter’s ar­mour, com­mu­ni­cat­ing that he’s a me­chanic or in­ven­tor. I re­peat the gear shapes in the ro­bot, im­ply­ing that it was pos­si­bly built by the char­ac­ter. I also add de­tails to hair and cloth­ing.

4 Once the line art is fin­ished, I add the colour, light­ing and ren­der­ing. I use red to make the viewer look at both the char­ac­ter’s face and his bro­ken ro­bot. I then add rain and at­mos­phere to dis­tant ob­jects to show that the en­vi­ron­ment is rainy and moody, fur­ther com­mu­ni­cat­ing the sad­ness of the scene. I also use cool colours in the scene to make it feel sad and dreary.

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