Step-by-step: Paint de­cay­ing plants quickly

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

1

I start with a curved shape for the stems of dy­ing plants. I choose a dark green to in­crease the sense of de­cay. I keep some stems straight to show that they’re grow­ing next to the fig­ure. Then I add the leaves, keep­ing their shape sim­ple. The edges aren’t clean and that’s the key trick when paint­ing de­cay­ing mat­ter. The same tech­nique ap­plies to the flow­ers in the scene.

2

I choose this colour scheme to show the difference be­tween healthy and dy­ing plants. On the left are the green pas­tel colours I use to cre­ate my Eden, and on the right are the au­tumn brown tones that will rep­re­sent dy­ing, de­cay­ing plants. I use some nude skin colour high­lights in­stead of grey to cre­ate a link be­tween my char­ac­ter and the dead veg­e­ta­tion.

3

Now I start to add de­tails on the leaves. The stems don’t need much work be­cause they’re very thin el­e­ments. To cre­ate the wilted tex­ture I sim­ply scrib­ble on my leaf base with a very small Round brush. I need to cre­ate a rough ap­pear­ance with plenty of colour vari­a­tions. I en­hance the sense of dy­ing veg­e­ta­tion by adding an­gu­lar out­lines in­stead of the nor­mal curves of leaves.

4

Now I play with the light, in­creas­ing the con­trast be­tween the dead plants in the fore­ground and the back­ground. I add more light on their wilted leaves, and sharpen their out­lines slightly. I re­ally want to cre­ate a crisp look here. I use a ba­sic hard edge Round brush to add dots of light. Fi­nally, I choose some de­sat­u­rated colours to ramp up the feel­ing of de­cay.

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