Il­lus­trat­ing the fu­ture

ImagineFX - - Artist Portfolio | Marc Simonetti -

Marc ex­plains how he il­lus­trated a book from the in­flu­en­tial Dune se­ries I made this il­lus­tra­tion for Dune Mes­siah by Frank Her­bert for Cen­tipede Press. Dune is one of my favourite books: it had a huge im­pact on me and on thou­sands of peo­ple, so it was a big thing to able to il­lus­trate one. This im­age rep­re­sents the walk of the Rev­erend Mother to­ward Paul Muad’dib, in his huge re­cep­tion room – a room that could con­tain the big­gest cathe­drals from our world. I had sev­eral ob­jec­tives: con­vey the sense of scale, make the two char­ac­ters clearly vis­i­ble, cre­ate a kind of ar­chi­tec­ture that fits the book, and show the time pe­riod – a time thou­sands of years ahead of us (the first Dune starts at the year 10,191). It had to re­flect an alien ar­chi­tec­ture, with mil­lions of known plan­ets, and a huge em­pire. So I had to take some ac­tual ar­chi­tec­ture ref­er­ences and cre­ate new pat­terns and shapes.


I first did a very sim­ple, cen­tral com­po­si­tion: the sub­ject had to be ex­tremely mas­sive and im­pres­sive, and the char­ac­ters have to be dwarfed there. Then I did a very fast sketch on 3D-Coat that I ren­dered into KeyShot. This first step took me less than one hour, but helped me de­velop a solid base for this il­lus­tra­tion.


To cor­rect a com­po­si­tion, I fol­low two paths. I try to avoid tan­gents and graph­i­cal nodes that would make the il­lus­tra­tion hard to read. Sec­ond, I just try to feel things out. When a com­po­si­tion is good, things just feel nat­u­ral.


I be­gan adding colours. I wanted some­thing very coloured, as com­plex as pos­si­ble, to cre­ate con­trast be­tween the very sim­ple ta­pes­try and the very com­plex bas-re­liefs of the wall.


I could then start to paint us­ing the val­ues I had from the colours and the tones of my base.


This project en­abled me to make a very per­sonal piece with a pro­fes­sional sub­ject. I think mix­ing the two is best, both for me and my clients, be­cause in these cases I can give them some­thing a lit­tle less usual, some­thing that just comes from me.


This piece was a long push to the end, but it’s the kind of work that makes me go fur­ther and adds new worlds to my vis­ual li­brary. A new sub­ject can bring new shapes and new ar­range­ments of colours, and spend­ing a lot of time on it just em­beds it deeper into your mind, mak­ing those as­sets part of your vo­cab­u­lary.

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