What’s the best way to re­al­is­ti­cally paint some­one frozen in ice? Di­eter Wolf, Ger­many

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Paco replies

Ice is mainly translu­cent, so you should be able to see the char­ac­ter in­side – un­less the ice is cov­ered with snow, frost or some­thing else. Light pass­ing through ice is refracted in one way or an­other, so the thicker and more ir­reg­u­lar the ice is, the more dis­torted the things in­side will ap­pear. Fur­ther­more, al­though light can pass through ice, it’s not to­tally trans­par­ent, so lights and shad­ows will be cast over it, just like any other solid ob­ject.

Find some pic­tures of ice and ob­jects frozen in ice, and ob­serve how the re­frac­tion usu­ally dis­torts how we see the ob­jects in­side, com­mon shapes of ice, how the light passes through it, and how it shines when it’s clean. Once you’re fa­mil­iar with the ma­te­rial, you can start paint­ing it.

I would ad­vise paint­ing the full fig­ure (you don’t need to put too much de­tails on the parts that will be in­side the ice) and then, us­ing dif­fer­ent lay­ers, be­gin paint­ing the ice en­cas­ing your crea­ture.

Be­fore I fin­ish the im­age, I add de­tails such as ici­cles and snowflakes to boost the feel­ing of a cold en­vi­ron­ment. If you spend some time study­ing the

na­ture of ice, its shape, how is af­fected by light and so on, then paint­ing ice shouldn’t be a prob­lem.

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