Thursday, 30 May 2013

'Muireanns Departure' Illustration- Step by Step

Right I have been asked recently to show some of my process, so here it is with the latest piece I just finished, 'Muireann's Departure'.

Step 1: Establish elements or figure out what the feck is going on

When sketching,  the first thing I do is establish what are the essential elements of the scene, what can help tell the story, set the mood and atmosphere, and what I want to say.

Step 2: Design overlays or Confuse everything stage

After that I use designs to boil the illustration down, I have books full of prehistoric design and artwork, in this case I looked to European La Tene Celtic Art. I then take these designs and try use the as a guide as to what is in the scene and what isnt, I do this same process in my paintings. I created a little box beside each sketch to show you the original Celtic design used as the guide.

This proces helps break me out of any bad habbits, forces me think outside of the box and find interesting ideas that I couldnt by myself. I very rarely use a design exactly as is for my final piece, but the ideas they give do help me develop the image. I usually do a few pages of these, above is a few samples

Step 3: Pick and Develop or pretend I am not lost phase

After those 2 stages I know what are the essential elements, I have some design ideas and a good feeling for what the mood and story requires. So then I go into trying out these ideas, so in the above I try to find my final from the previous sketches, I even do one (The white background one) in the local drink and draw club in Cork city one night to see what comes out.
Right, now I kind of know what I want, what works and what doesnt, so I go to try to finalise the image, combining aspects of the sketches.
Step 4: Finalise Image and Values or Find out Im not so lost and wrap it up phase

Then after that I finally work out the final values and textures in the piece. I notice some problems and ideas I would prefer accentuated which I do in the final drawing.

Step 5: Final Drawing or 'phew Im done!' phase

But after I am finished, I decide to do something different and play with the drawing digitally. Firstly this involves correcting mistakes made with the drawing that couldnt be fixed traditionally. Secondly I add textures, specifically I scan in a hand made paper I have and then overlay the image with it and make final changes to the different parts of the image. I dont usually do this but its something I have wanted to give a go for a while.

Step 6: Digital Retouches or 'ok I wasnt done, but thats it! no more!' Phase

Ok and thats it! The above is the final digitally remastered finish. I hope you enjoyed the step by step and learned something along the way. Any questions and comments are welcome :)

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