Can you help me paint a noble-look­ing char­ac­ter?

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation Artist Q&A -

Kurt McCready, Canada

Mark replies

Paint­ing a noble char­ac­ter de­pends on the con­text. Your cho­sen set­ting may fea­ture a lot of cul­tural dif­fer­ences, but also a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties that have their roots in his­tory. In essence, richer peo­ple can af­ford to buy more high-qual­ity cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories – which are ob­vi­ous sta­tus sym­bols – and you could choose to re­flect this in your art. There was a time when pat­terned fab­rics were cre­ated by hand, and cer­tain cloth­ing dyes were ex­pen­sive to pro­duce, so only noble fig­ures were able to af­ford such cloth­ing.

In this char­ac­ter sketch I’m de­pict­ing a medieval duke who trav­els to the Mid­dle East to trade. I’m not go­ing to paint a fully de­tailed il­lus­tra­tion, but rather sim­ply cap­ture the key el­e­ments of the char­ac­ter. Af­ter quickly block­ing in the sil­hou­ette of the char­ac­ter, I move straight into colours us­ing highly sat­u­rated red, purple and yel­low/orange for the golden parts. I want to build on the feel of sta­bil­ity that I cre­ate with the tri­an­gle shape of his cape, so I di­vide my main val­ues into an even midrange (the cape) and a darker range (up­per body and legs) to cre­ate even more bal­ance.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing the rough paint­ing stage I add some photo tex­tures to bring a bit more re­al­is­tic de­tail to the char­ac­ter. It’s dur­ing this fi­nal stage that I add his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate pat­terns to most of the sur­faces and cloth­ing ma­te­ri­als.

His­tor­i­cally, sat­u­rated colours were al­ways as­so­ci­ated with higher so­cial sta­tus. The pos­ture of a char­ac­ter can tell a lot about their so­cial sta­tus. Us­ing a tri­an­gle as the main shape sug­gests sta­bil­ity, while a head that’s point­ing up­ward sug­gests an air of su­pe­ri­or­ity.

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