The scale of the prob­lem

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation News -

Do you strug­gle to paint scales? Then see Sara For­lenza’s ar­ti­cle in this month’s Q&A sec­tion, where this and other art quan­daries are solved in style.

Sear­lait Boucher, Canada

Sara replies

There are many types of scales, and paint­ing each of them re­quires a dif­fer­ent ap­proach. For this ar­ti­cle I’m il­lus­trat­ing a half-dragon girl. Be­cause dragons are fan­tas­tic crea­tures in­spired by rep­tiles, I ob­tain some ref­er­ences for those types of scales, in par­tic­u­lar pho­tos of lizards and croc­o­diles.

Such scales are tough, rough or leath­ery, and in some ex­am­ples take the form of spikes. They ap­pear in a reg­u­lar pat­tern (more or less), de­pend­ing on the area that they cover: the back, stom­ach or snout of the beast, for ex­am­ple. This means that you can’t use a de­fault pat­tern brush to recre­ate their look; they need to be drawn into place.

Once I’ve got my ref­er­ences I sketch the fig­ure and lay down ba­sic colours. With a sim­ple brush, with­out any tex­ture, I paint cool lights that I con­trast with warm shad­ows, and I de­fine her face, neck and shoul­ders, even go­ing into de­tail be­cause the scales will fol­low the shape of the body. Then I start paint­ing scales one by one. When I paint the horns, I make their colour fades into a darker one on the ends, for a more re­al­is­tic look.

Adding cracks and ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties to the scales and horns helps to give th­ese el­e­ments a more re­al­is­tic ap­pear­ance.

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