Can you help give my warrior’s armour a mottled shell look? Seb Laughton, England
To emphasise the armour design, I open up Photoshop and start working on a character pose that will sell the design. Usually a three-quarter view of the character is best because one side of the shoulder plates and the chest plate would be clearly visible, with plenty of detailing on show.
I sketch out the figure’s pose and the armour pieces first, making an effort to integrate some shell shape outlines to the basic armour design. Then I do a black and white sketch, which is good for determining the volumes of the design. I always start with a mid-tone background, and use dark grey and light grey to bring in the shadows and highlights. This method is similar to the traditional oil-painting process.
Then I start to gather a range of interesting shell references from diverse sources such as books, magazines and the internet. Then I create the basic colour palette from these images and start the basic colouring phase.
Once the primary colours are all down, I carefully integrate some photo textures on the armour pieces to further enhance the mottled shell quality, which mostly comes from the subtle colour nuances and its overall shininess.
And finally, I paint over the photo textures so that they’re better integrated with the drawing base.
Here’s the final result – notice how I’ve ensured the armour looks like it’s made from the shell material, rather than looking like a shell layer has been pasted on it.