I have an assignment to paint a rotting animal. Any tips? Jason Mandrake, US
I imagine a scene where a cowboy finds the cadaver of a giant mutated creature in the desert. I want to depict the carcass in a condition where most of the rotting phase is over, but the skin and skeleton is almost fully intact. The dry climate has preserved the body, so we can still see the overall shape of the beast.
I start by blocking in the creature’s silhouette and then roughly paint the composition. Then I introduce parts of the skeleton that’s visible through the dry skin. The next step is to integrate the bones and skin and also add some holes to the skin to show the hollow insides of the carcass. Layering is important here, because I don’t want to end up with a flat animal pelt.
Finally, I add more textural details to the whole body, primarily using Overlay layers to preserve the painterly details that are already in place. I use various textured custom brushes in this case, but this is also the opportunity to be creative. For example, in some of my projects I’ve used photos of rust and concrete surfaces to achieve the look of an uneven rotting skin. I also fix the lighting and add a few more details to the focal point to finish the scene off, so that the image communicates the story perfectly.
Layering the carcass reveals some of its skeleton (1) and the hollow body (2). I try to follow the bones with the skin (3) to create an interesting silhouette.