How can I convey a chrome effect in a line drawing?
Janina Rothstein, Germany Answer Tom replies
Chrome effects can be a little difficult to create on the canvas, because sticking too close to reference material can often make for an overly busy drawing.
As an illustrator often working on comic books, I don’t really want there to be any visual information in the image that I haven’t put there for a reason. It would distract from the elements that best tell the story and, worse still, look fussy.
As such, I tend to keep any reflected detail to a minimum. A few lines that follow the contours of the object usually do the job; just enough to suggest that something is being reflected on the surface, but very little in the way of complex information as to what that might be.
With something a bit flatter, such as the sort of lens that’s at the business end of this retro-looking ray gun, I can justify putting in a little more detail because it’s a focal point for the image and will be less distorted by surface curvature. Keeping your painting approach relatively simple like this can make for a far more appealing visual and enhance the impact of the image.
For this image of a futuristic weapon, I wanted a sense of impact and drama, so it was important to keep the visual information simple. I try to balance black and white at the line drawing stage so that the image appears engaging, but not cluttered.