Sunday, 9 February 2014

Big Hug Mug

From HBO's new series True Detective starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
A warm up painting before beginning a poster design - and posted before tonight's episode airs in the States!
It's a really great show; very eerie and feels oddly real.  Hyper-real.  But maybe that says more about my head than anything else.  You can tell everyone involved is in on the project together without any real outside influences meddling with their vision.  Watch it!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

LUTHER Process

I always enjoy seeing artists' processes and, as the process I used for my BBC Luther work was so basic, I thought it would be useful and encouraging to any beginners to digital painting out there to post the step-by-step.  Hope it gives someone help, even just a little bit to one person out there!

Here is one finished portrait used for my Luther#1 poster of the character DCI Ian Reed.

Source Material - this is the photo I based my painting on, at its original size (I know!).  I don't mind smaller images to work from as it simplifies it before I start my own simplistic drawing.  It also allows me to add my own details without getting blinded by the original's.  As you might be able to see, looking at the final, simplifying was partly the colour tones, choosing my own blues, more on the slate side, and keeping from drawing too many lines, particularly from the coat collar. 
Pencil Drawing - on A3 watercolour paper, 4H and 4B pencil.  As I was going for a comic look in the final piece I made all of my lines strong and angular.  The eye on the left was a little off which I could correct in the next stage....

Inking - to mimic comic book art and artists I inked over the top of my now-scanned pencil drawing in Photoshop.  My digital ink was a little paler than solid black (personal preference) and done with my new favourite 'round angle' brush which felt akin to using a brush pen as I would in real life, but with less smudges. 
Base Colour - here you can see my palette, cold blue, very much towards purple end of the colour spectrum.  With each portrait on the poster I used a similar colour palette within the image, to separate them and again to keep it visually as simple as possible.  Simple = bold.

Shading - from here on it's a matter of adding new Photoshop layers per colour I use, only as there are so few.  This stage is the mid-tonal shadow; the tone between the deep dark shadows and the softer lighter shadows.  Note that I used this tone to create the details of wrinkles on the face rather than drawing them in at the 'inking' stage.  To create the look of bigger brushier strokes I used a 'fan' brush.  I also used a layer for a pink shade to add variety and more of a touch of realism, to the lips, nose and around the eyes.

Highlights - here is the other end of the shading!  I prefer to do shading and highlighting to add depths before I get involved in all of the iddy-biddy mid-tones.  Not too iddy-biddy though, keeping it simple remember!  Keep bold whites to a minimum unless your portrait is being blasted by sunlight or is a cartoon geisha.  You need places on the spectrum to go to.  

Light Bounce - after finishing all the shading stemming from the base colour palette I add variance by reflecting the environment's lighting - more blue!  I lower the opacity on this colour to blend in with the skin tones; keeps it a softer, more natural look. In more realistic paintings this detail of environmental light reflecting off your subject creates a sense of realism that can easily be overlooked and makes a HUGE difference.  I easily neglect this after drawing too many cartoons from my head but is important to remember. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013


I've begun to plan a poster for BBC's tv series 'Luther'.  I've begun by sketching portraits of the show's various characters in a very basic, linear style; I want to replicate a comic book style illustration for the final piece.  Whatever that may end up being...

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Menu Illustration

Something I worked on in between Wales, Paris and moving.  I'm settled now so I'm drawing now. :)
This looks better than I thought it'd turn out, but I'm not happy with the composition overall.  Guess I ran out of steam.  Think it needs a few more details, possibly - what do you think?  What was your first thoughts?
In the mean time I'm onto the next self-directed project:
comic-style posters of BBC's tv series, Luther!
Initial pencil sketches on here very very soon...

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Happy Birthdaaay...

A week before his birthday L.H. told me he thought he looked like a llama - what a foolish mistake to make!
Really fun to draw and keep secret.  He took it very well, the lovely man.

You've not heard from me for a while as I've been busy moving in with said llama, had a trip away with family, then another with llama, then REALLY moved in.  And we have the internet here now!  Getting back into my routine, and there are a couple of things I had been working on before the hectic weeks began.  Expect to see more drawings soon :)