So I thought I would put up a couple of pictures to show the process I used to create the Vex’ahlia painting.
Originally I was just looking to create an image using a dynamic pose. Rather than trying to imagine one (and possibly throw the entire painting out of whack), I searched until I found an image I was happy with – A female archer in a striking pose.
From this pose, I dissected the major shapes – the torso, arms, head and limbs. From there I painted and erased the line work – a process called line sculpting – until I found the rough shape I wanted. At this point I decided that this would be a picture of Vex’ahlia from Critical Role, an RPG liveplay I listen to at work.
Finding reference images, I determined what the character should be wearing and sculpted those items onto the sketch I had outlined. Some more line-sculpting created the final line art I was pleased with.
I sampled what seemed to be the ‘local’ colour – which is to say the natural colour, as though without lighting and without shading – and filled in the colours on individual layers. I then duplicated these layers and changed the tones to suit the shaded colour, so the entire image was painted as though in shade.
From there I started painting the light, referencing the local colours and painting onto the shadow layers using ‘Lock Opacity’ to avoid colouring out of the lines. Using lock opacity on the line art, I then shaded the lines a dark version of the surrounding colours, making the line art less comic-like and a little more painterly.
Finally I flattened the players and started a process of over-painting and blending lines into the painting. I colour corrected the entire piece to give a more fitting colour pallet and added a fun background using a couple of dots and a lot of motion blur. To finish it off, I painted the lightning arrow and lines and emphasised them with inner and outer glows.
Though I have learned a lot from this piece, it has become clear that there is much more left to learn – I am not happy with how the cloak has come out, or the look of the fur, but I am pleased with the outcome in general.
I have decided that I should spend some time looking at some rudimentary drawing and painting techniques, sketching more and painting direct from reference. I hope to get onto this pretty soon.
Cheers for reading, guys!