Can you offer some tips on painting twisted metal?
Barnaby Dobson, Isle of Man
For me, the trick is deciding what type of metal you plan to depict and just how it has been damaged. It can be a good idea to have intact metal elements in the composition, to help inform the viewer. Most of us aren’t used to seeing mangled metal in everyday life, so it has to be recognisable for what it is.
Furthermore, metal behaves differently under stress, depending on how it has been prepared. For instance, cast iron can be brittle, and as a result this might be more likely to shatter than tear. How thick is the metal? What shape did it take originally? All these factors should affect your mangled metal’s look. Thinner, sheet metal tears with jagged, sharp edges that may pick up the light. It may dent with sharp creases that also catch the light. Think of how the light in your composition falls on your example.
Using a deep shadow to disguise the gore also enables me to accentuate the glints of light on torn metal, making the scene more dramatic.