Can you give me some ad­vice for il­lus­trat­ing sheer, flow­ing fab­ric?

Emma White, Scot­land

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imaginenation Artist Q&a -

An­swer Kelley replies

By us­ing a few dig­i­tal paint­ing tech­niques, you can cre­ate the look of sheer fab­ric rel­a­tively eas­ily. First, I’d rec­om­mend tak­ing a look at some ref­er­ence pho­tos of chif­fon or bridal veils, to get a sense of how they flow and drape.

It’s im­por­tant that the fab­ric falls over your char­ac­ter or flows in the wind (or both) in a way that looks nat­u­ral. When de­pict­ing the sheer fab­ric, a key point to re­mem­ber is that where the fab­ric over­laps it­self in folds and gath­ers, it will be more opaque. I im­i­tate this ef­fect by us­ing a num­ber of low-opac­ity lay­ers.

First, I paint the fab­ric as a flat shape on a sin­gle layer, then re­duce the layer’s Opac­ity – more or less, de­pend­ing on how sheer I want the fab­ric to be. On a new layer, I paint a few folds where the fab­ric over­laps it­self, and re­duce the layer Opac­ity again.

I re­peat these steps, paint­ing a few folds on new lay­ers and drop­ping the Opac­ity strength un­til I achieve the look I want. Re­mem­ber to keep things sim­ple and don’t over ren­der the fab­ric.

I chose to de­pict the Or­a­cle of Del­phi with a dark veil over her face, to show that her vi­sions come from some­thing other than earthly sight. The move­ment of the veil im­i­tates in­cense and smoke.

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