Step-by-step: Creating a strong story moment
I begin by making sure the body language and facial expression are telling the story I want it to. The warrior is hurt, so the pose needs to reflect that. She’s slightly hunched over, gripping her side, and is having to shift her weight on to her longbow in order to stand. Her facial expression needs to show exhaustion. I now choose the colours and values. To maintain my theme of a quiet aftermath, I avoid anything that would imply or evoke excitement: stark contrasts of value or colour, overly saturated hues, for example. I try to keep my value shifts subtle, and confine my colour choices to one area of the colour wheel. I add small details to suggest at what has happened to her. I paint dried blood spatters of her enemies, show scratches and dented armour, place one remaining arrow in her quiver and give her torn clothing. The image should be successful without these details, but they add an extra level of depth.