Step-by-step: Picture the carnage after a heavy feast
1 I sketch out a rough composition, using a raised eye level so the viewer’s looking down on the pair. This is a well-worn trick for making the subject seem more vulnerable and suits the scene. Things like that can add to the overall effect. I resist exaggerating the pose because I intend to make the point without resorting to caricature if possible. 2 I block in a base colour and hint at some shadow areas very early on, and then move on to consolidating some of the colours. I block in colours on the helmetwearing character’s clothes. I do this by painting on a layer above, set to Multiply Blend mode and using the Oil brush, as I have for the base. A Multiply layer enables me to ‘glaze’ the scene. 3 I need our main man to be rather slack jawed, so delicately is he balanced between feeling full and feeling sick. I zoom in and tweak his lower lip and simultaneously angle his brows up slightly. This expression should help the effect of looking rather helpless. Spend time on expressions. People notice them. I mark in some food splatters down his front. 4 Thinking medieval banquet or Viking feast, I mark bones discarded this way and that. The idea is to have everything eaten apart from one grape. I block their shapes in with solid oil paint on a layer above the base layer. I bring several layers of shadows (Multiply Blend mode) using a warm ochre. Finally, highlights go over everything to crisp things up.