Process: Autumn

Autumn! It's the season of pumpkins, lattes, candles, and costumes. Where I live, the leaves are already starting to fall. I finished up this piece to celebrate.

This piece is special because it's a redo of something I've done in the past. At the risk of being very embarrassed, I'm going to show you two previous versions of this painting, when I was still learning how to navigate Photoshop back in the good old days of yore. 

I place these ugly ducklings at 2012 and 2014:

Lockamy_Old Autumns_2012 and 2014.jpg

In the first version, I was just playing around with Photoshop as a painting tool. I had gotten my hands on the program in high school and experimented with it a lot, before going on to use it more effectively in college. The second version showed some improvement, but there still wasn't much structure to the forms. And I was still using that darn leaf brush!

OK. Ready for the new version?

Lockamy_Autumn Redo_1

The winning thumbnail, AKA the messiest step. The colors had already been established for this piece, so keeping a red undertone helped it along. I also love starting with a good texture. It enhances the feeling that I'm drawing on paper instead of a tablet.

Lockamy_Autumn Redo_2

Drawing right over the thumbnail, and pushing line weight to show that the leaves are at different points in space. (Also, I want this coat.)

Lockamy_Autumn Redo_3

Building up black and white values and establishing depth. I was happy with where it was going at this stage, and I think the piece would look just as nice in black and white – but autumn is all about the beautiful leaves!

Lockamy_Autumn Redo_4.jpg

Adding colors that were used in the previous versions of the piece, while being reserved about the reds. I've learned that red can get out of control pretty fast, so it will be layered on gradually over the somber palette.

Lockamy_Autumn Redo_5

At this point, I continued working on the piece in Procreate on my iPad. It's been a game-changer for me, because now I can take my digital work with me anywhere. And if I want to pop into a cafe to sip some pumpkin spice goodness while I work, that makes the process even more fun.

Autumn Redo_6.jpg

Lastly, I took it back into Photoshop for some final tweaks. And there you have it! Here's a process GIF of each step:

Autumn-Process.gif

Pssst... Autumn is available for sale on my Society6 shop.  It looks nice on a coffee mug with your pumpkin spice latte, hint hint.

Thanks for reading. Happy autumn!

Process: Demons

So at the moment, I'm kind of obsessed with claws. I keep drawing hands with claws in my sketchbook. I also appreciate sharp scary teeth. I've done lots of different creatures while freelancing, and they have informed my personal work in ways that I never anticipated.

This piece stemmed from a project for a client. Ultimately, they chose a different concept, which left this one open to continue on my own. Thus, Demons was born!

Sketch

Sketch

1. Sketch

I'll spare you the thumbnails on this one and skip straight to the drawing. Originally, the character running from the monster was going to be a woman, but my client wanted a change of pace from previous works.

Then I thought of all the possible characters that might deserve this fate – so here you have a character inspired by the look of Mark Jefferson from Life is Strange. It made it that much more fun to draw! Anytime you get a chuckle out of your drawing, you know you're on the right track.

Also, working in those swirls and curls is always a plus for me!

Value

Value

2. Value

This monster is like ink, not bound by the confines of gravity. It has the ability to move in any direction in pursuit of its prey. The value stage reflected this. It's starting to look pretty spooky! I knew that I wanted the monster and the Mark Jefferson doppelgänger to be generally darker than the background, but at the same time, I wanted room to play around with color. Perfect blacks are kept out of the picture to allow for this later.

Color

Color

3. Color

There were other color studies that I gave to my client, but because we went with another concept, I was free to switch up the color on this. What I love about color is all the different variations you can create with small, simple tweaks. It can make as much or as little impact as you need it to.

Just a tad psychedelic, you say? You know, as soon as that hot pink was placed in the eye and on the horn, well, everything changed. The monster seemed possessed of an inner fire that it wouldn't have had otherwise. The fuchsia was here to stay.

Detailing

Detailing

4. Detailing

The piece had already been destined for gold accents, so that was worked in along with other details. At this point I turned up the tunes and hunkered down with some snacks. There was also a lot of getting up out of my chair and staring at it from a distance for long periods of time. You need to do that no matter what medium you're using, but I've learned this especially holds true for digital work. Unless, of course, you want to rock the hunched-over-monkey-with-bloodshot-eyes look.

Final Tweaks

Final Tweaks

5. Final Tweaks

While staring, and tweaking, and staring some more, it became evident that the piece was missing something. More could be done to make it engaging from the viewer's perspective. What would really make this monster larger than life?

Concept art for movies and games uses this trick all the time: overlapping elements to create a sense of distance. I added more of these mysterious green masks to push the depth. This could be tough to do if you're really attached to your initial drawing, or you're working with an inflexible medium. Luckily, that was not the case here. And the result was worth it!

Check out these detail shots and a step-by-step GIF:

Detail 1

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 2

Detail 3

Detail 3

Step-by-step GIF

Step-by-step GIF

Thanks for reading!