Create a fantasy environment
See how Tyler Edlin paints an enigmatic scene that evokes a sense of wonder and adventure
Tyler Edlin illustrates an enigmatic adventure scene.
This is the type of image that I enjoy painting the most. It was a private commission and I had 99 per cent control over it. The client simply requested a village in a forest.
That left with me with a lot of options, so I wanted to go with something that felt ancient, mysterious and grand. I usually start with this three-word premise. It serves many purposes, including helping to clarify my vision, providing an objective and boundaries, and simplifying my focus in the early stages. Trying to come up with environments that feel both otherworldly and yet still comprehensible to the average viewer is definitely a fun challenge. I find that altering the scale, shape and context of normal things (such as trees, waterfalls, even a town perhaps) is an easy and effective way to approach this.
So really all I did for this scene was enlarge a tree to an enormous scale. I changed the shape of it to a mossy dome with branches, and I adjusted the context of the scene by putting in a naturallooking cave with an organic-looking town. If all these make up for 90 per cent of the scene set-up, all that remains is a character for scale and some minor details, such as the fungi that ties together the design language throughout the scene.