Can you give me some ad­vice on sim­pli­fy­ing a com­plex com­po­si­tion?

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation -

Timmy Be­van, Eng­land

Jakob replies

When I ap­proach a com­plex paint­ing I al­ways try to think sev­eral steps ahead to work out the eas­i­est and fastest way to my de­sired goal. So for this task I want to paint a Vik­ing ship fig­ure­head with a va­ri­ety of ma­te­ri­als. I also want the ship to fea­ture dif­fer­ent and in­ter­est­ing colours and pat­terns, and place it in a at­mo­spheric set­ting. Paint­ing these ideas all at once would be a real pain. So how do I ap­proach it? By split­ting all tasks into lit­tle di­gestible bits.

I start off with the draw­ing, where I just fo­cus on com­po­si­tion and de­sign. It doesn’t have to be too clean, but the more de­sign ques­tions I an­swer at this point the less work I have to put in on the de­sign later on.

Af­ter that I’ll block in the most im­por­tant shapes on sep­a­rate lay­ers and lock the trans­parency. This way I can go wild with my brushes, but will al­ways main­tain a clean shape.

Now that I’ve got my shapes I start adding colour. I just pick the ones I need and put it in with­out think­ing about light and shadow.

Af­ter that I get to the light and mood part. I use layer and brush modes such as Color Dodge, Mul­ti­ply, Lighten and so forth. I es­tab­lish my light sources and start ren­der­ing the ma­te­ri­als in the way I think they would re­act to them.

Oc­to­ber 2015

I al­ways try to push the look with dif­fer­ent ad­just­ment lay­ers. Even af­ter I’ve fin­ished paint­ing, the art is al­most never com­plete! At this point I just think about the value. I pick a red tone I like and

paint the tongue.

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