On the Wing

The drawing posted last Thursday, “Wing”, went through many stages before reaching a satisfactory state.  Here’s a little look into what went into building that picture.

Note: you can click on any of the images below for a much larger view.

The first for me is always the line drawing.  This is the stage that makes or breaks a piece.  If the composition is off, or the idea is uninteresting, or the character’s anatomy/construction is wrong, then no amount of Photoshop trickery or flash coloring will make up for it.  Against my better judgment, I proceeded on to the color stage before the central character was ‘right’ in “Myths” from the preceding week (click here for a reminder).  The finished work especially suffers from the poor foreshortening (perspective) on the middle boy’s arms.

I was determined to get the drawing right this time around.  I spent all the time I needed to get the contortions of the figure right.  Usually, I will twist my own body to get a feel for the pose.  As usual, a good deal of the underlying sketch is left in the finished linework, instead of erasing it.  Here, it’s especially visible on the back and in the face.

Wing - lines - blackWing - Grayscale only

From there I started to get the lights and darks (values) which are ‘painted’ on a separate layer, under the drawing, in differing values of gray.  The second image above is the grayscale layer on its own.

The first image below is what the lines and grays look like put together.  The next one shows the same drawing with some deeper shadows and a much different relationship between the flowers in the foreground to the elfin figure.

Wing - Grayscale and Lines - I Wing - Grayscale and Lines - II

The result is a greater emphasis on the parts of the picture where the action is and less homogeneity as well as an increased sense of depth.  It’s more like you’re looking “into” the picture.  The darker values were added on a new layer so the work underneath would be preserved.

Color was added using yet another layer.  In Photoshop, the color layer was set up underneath the grayscale layer which was set to “multiply”.  This causes the grays to interact with the colors underneath; resulting in a blend of the two layers showing through.  The color layer (and lines) without the grays are shown below, as well.

Wing - Less SaturatedWing -clean

Finally, the finishing touches were added.  First, the intensity of the color in the line drawing was manipulated using the “Burn” tool.  Using the Hue/Saturation window, I increased the intensity of the color overall, and then used the “Sponge” tool to increase it even more in some areas.  With a few miscellaneous tweaks of the Dodge and Burn tools, an adequate balance of light and dark was achieved.

Below is the finished piece along with a copy of the earlier stage (also pictured above) so you can compare the effects of the Saturation, Dodge and Burn tools.

Wing - smallerWing - Less Saturated

At this point, all that was left was to sign it, and get ready to begin work on the next piece.  The new one is off to a great start.  I hope you’ll check back to see how it turns out.

This entry was published on February 4, 2013 at 12:27 am. It’s filed under Animals, Digital Drawing, Figures, Illustration Friday, The Artistic Process, Tools & Equipment and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

9 thoughts on “On the Wing

  1. Georgie Lorimer on said:

    I absolutely love this piece (a delayed response I know, sorry) but it reminds me of riding through the home woodlands in autumn. But yes, fabulous stuff, I really like the way you capture curious characteristics in your whatnotings. x

  2. just one more tiny note for today… At the moment I’m taking drawing lessons again at the university art department here in Amsterdam.In class we are using pencils,crayons and paint and having a nude model in the centre of the space(first time for me).
    Anatomy…It looks so easy but for me it’s still hard.
    You really have the mouvement here, like he’s throwing a disk, or at least that’s what I see

    I love this image of yours

    • I’ve been blessed with many opportunities to draw from the nude from a surprisingly young age. It’s indespensible.

      On this drawing in particular, I really focused on getting the anatomy and movement close to correct, since I had let that skill slip a little bit (someone called me out on the awkward figures in the “Myths” drawing.)

      I’m less thrilled with the washy randomness of the color, though.

  3. I can’t decide whether the boy killed the eagle to take his wings or weather the eagle was already dead and then he took the wings. It makes me wonder if the painting is evil or wishful.

  4. I really like the amount of effort you put into your artwork, Gabriel – it really shows. I just leap in and hope for the best… that really shows as well! 😀

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