Thursday, May 31, 2007

Painting Process/Peter Popken

For those who are interested I uploaded some pictures showing a step by step painting process:

(1) I started off with a drawing I had done a long time ago. A simple marker sketch showing some basic proportions and an idea for a costume design. After opening it in photoshop I duplicated the background layer and set it on “multiply“.

(2) Underneath, on a third layer I started blocking in warm colors using a low key palette.

Sometimes it helps to look for color reference before starting on a whole new picture. Open it in a new window and pick the colors you like.

(3) I wasn’t really happy with the face so far and while fliping the image back and forth I realised that some of the features were slightly out of place. I decided to paint it all new and continued painting while constantly fliping the image and work either on the regualar or the mirrored image. Then I established a few cold colors in the reflections of the skin and hair.

(4) I did the same to the dress and the sword: cold reflection from an imaginary window above and warmer ones from the light reflected from the floor. As you can see I also started to change the proportions of the whole figure by cutting and pasting parts I felt were too long or too short. Also the silhouette needed some more refinement.

(5) To give the whole picture a bit more dimension I thought the figure might cast a shadow on the wall behind. Further I had to check my values to not loose the silhouette of my character. I wanted the focal point to be around her face, collar and a few accents on the belt and sword. Thats why I saved the brightes tones for excactly those areas. The same goes for the amount of detail. Areas close to the center would get more attention than those further away. Some highlights and makeup are added to the face but the surrounding is treated more rough and blurry almost unfinished.

(6) To brake the vertical symmetrical composition I added a few diagonal shapes suggesting shadows casted by a light from above. In this case I put composition over realism and not trying to find out what is right but what looks good. Again lighter and warmer areas in the foreground and cold/dark areas in the background add a sense of depth to the image.

(7) Once the character was set up I decided to add some texture to the background. I chose an image of an aged wall I found on one of the various sides on the net, pasted it on a new layer with “overlay“ setting. The textures on the dress were painted with a simple round brush with “opacity“ set to “50%“.

(8) The trickiest part for me was her hands. I didn’t want to give them too much attention but then again they needed some more refinement since they play a big part in a characters personality. I changed the positions a couple of times and treated them like the face by fliping the image constantly. Keeping the allover value down helps to draw attention away from them.

(9) After turning the background layer on again I cropped the image, merged the layers down and played a bit with the contrasts.

See the all of the tutorial at Peter's blog:
more info on his websites:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Illustration Academy

During the summers of the past several years, The Illustration Academy has brought together some of America's most accomplished and best-known illustrators to share their insights and advice with students. The students range in age from eighteen to sixty years old and have come from not only the United States, but as far away as Hong Kong, England, Belgium, Sweden, Brazil, and Argentina.

Unique to the illustration field is the fact that a graduating student is thrust into the market place and forced to compete with established illustrators. The mission of the Academy is to shorten the gap that exists between the student and the working professional. This problem is resolved using a rigorous hands-on approach implemented by the faculty. The students work through each assignment with a logical step-by-step approach to produce finished illustrations. Driven by real-world examples and deadlines, the students are encouraged to focus on concepts, techniques, and to pursue a personal point of view to make their work unique. Along side the technical demonstrations of media and life drawing skills, the Academy focuses on the functional business practices in the field of illustration. These include self-promotion, advertising, contracts, taxes and accounting.

website, lecture week info, samples
Ringling College of Art and Design
Attn: The Illustration Academy
2700 North Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34234-5895

Thursday, May 24, 2007

vyle-art/David Levy

Leading concept artist David Levy shows how to paint a piece that’s full of drama, using custom brushes to create a nuclear winter image.
Creating dramatic concept art means capturing the correct mood for your piece. The mood that I’m going to try to achieve in this workshop is one of a nuclear winter, which still has a poetic atmosphere to it. Opposing or contrasting ideas always make for great painting subjects, and a saturated winter is not a very common way to approach an image. With that rough idea and direction, we will let chaos direct the first part of the painting, then slowly give it a meaning and a more concrete perspective, lighting and mood(source:

visit Davids Website:
the tutorial:
more tutorials here