This week in Noah Bradley’s Art Camp we’re studying figures, gestures, and flesh tones, and one of the assignments is a long digitally painted color study of a full figure. I highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to level up their digital painting skills, especially for professional illustration or concept art.
I chose to reference Jenni, from Art Models 7: Dynamic Figures for the Visual Arts. This book is full of amazing model reference photos in dynamic poses and comes with a CD in which every gesture is photographed from 360 degree angles. She posed with another model, Misha, as if slain by her, but I concentrated on just Jenni and painted Misha out. I included the reference photo below so that you can see not only how closely I matched it, but also the quality of the photographs on the CD. I highly recommend adding this book to your collection.
Tracing is not allowed in Noah’s class, and we’re only allowed to use photographs later in the program after practicing drawing from life. In this I referenced a photo, while I studied the relationships between the different shapes. It was fun to try drawing Jenni with her face upside-down – and this time I didn’t flip the canvas vertically to check my work – I wanted to practice painting people from different angles.
Sometimes I practice figure drawing and painting when the models are clothed so that I can study how they drape on the model and the different materials and textures people weare. But nude figure studies are also helpful for studying all of the musculature and what’s going on underneath the layers of cloth. So it’s a trade-off. This particular study is also preparation for an personal project I’ll be making later, based on a nightmare I had recently, for which I’ll need a nude reference.
I’ve been developing the design of Kvothe, the main character in Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicle, for my thesis project dedicated to visually developing the story for game pre-production. Above are my color experiments for Kvothe as an adult. It’s helpful to make quick study of color combinations in the process of visual development before creating the final character painting. I chose these color combinations to compliment his hair, which is described as flame red. Some of the combinations are simple monochrome or complimentary, others schemes include more colors. Sometimes the simplest combinations are the most striking.
If you’d like to check out this wonderful series, start with The Name of the Wind here:
The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1)
…then proceed directly to book 2:
The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2)
Title: Study of Daenerys Targaryen
Size: 8.5″ x 11″
Notes: This is a study of Daenerys Targaryen I worked on from a still frame of the final scene of HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 1. In this scene rises from the funeral pier cradling three newly hatched dragons. I chose this to study this shot in order to practice my digital painting skills – particularly rendering form and texture – and because I hadn’t yet painted a dragon.
I started with a lineart sketch with the scratchboard pen, then rendered the forms with dull conte, worn oil pastel, and a touch of digital airbursh with generous blending – all in Corel Painter. Working in greyscale first helps me concentrate on getting the lighting and forms right before I introduce color. I took some small liberties with the design and adjusted the lighting slightly in order to make Daenerys and her dragon read better.
Do you get bored setting up your perspective lines when drawing a landscape or cityscape? Want to save time and get back to the fun part – drawing?!
Well, thanks to Johnny Quan, a member of DigiPaint, the Facebook critique and resource network I founded for Academy of Art University members, I learned about a fantastic tool today which was developed by FreddieArtMedia at DiGi Art QuickTools. And even better, it’s free! So, with thanks to his generosity and a nod to his awesome work, I’m sharing it here with you! Go to Digi-Art QuickTools here or here to download and then view the tutorial below. Enjoy!
City of Shadows Poster | Commissioned by Skeleton Crew | Featured in the 2013 Academy of Art University Spring Show
Notes: Poster illustration commissioned by Skeleton Crew for their City of Shadows web-series; text by Dustin Sklavos. The theme is a complex one - it’s about coping with psychological injury suffered through unavoidable attraction. Allyson is still recovering from her last relationship when an accident renders her comatose; as a result she must confront her demons or risk losing her life. The story is painted with surrealism and psychological horror with an understated film noir style. I wanted to capture all of these elements in a single, clear, image.
Title: Self Portrait
Size: 8.5″ x 14″
Notes: This piece was an exercise applying new techniques I recently learned for digital painting, in particular when applied to portraits. I thought it would be wise to try this out on a portrait of myself before applying it to a family member, friend, or client. In the end it was a wonderful opportunity to experiment with brushes I hadn’t used before and learn to create digital portraits more efficiently. I was also surprised by much of what I’ve learned from traditional oil painting worked for the digital medium – it really goes to show how interconnected the disciplines of art are!
I’ve also included the draft sketch as a before-and-after glimpse at my process. It also served as the first layer of the painting. Big thanks to my friends and fellow classmates, especially Ideation: AAU’s Production Art Community, for their excellent feedback to help kick this up a notch!
Alex is available for freelance, internship, and contract positions. If you would like to work together, send an email to email@example.com.
Alex Bond grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, studied Psychology at Reed College in Portland Oregon, and completed a thesis project on Internet RPGs before discovering it was a lot more fun to draw cool things for the entertainment industry herself. She returned to the Bay Area in to earn her MFA in Illustration at the Academy of Art University and pursue a career in art. Her splendid knowledge about people, creatures, and history; her mad research skills; and excellent team playing nature are assets on any project.
Alex is passionate about the potential of digital art and interactive entertainment, and is deeply interested in the growth of both mediums. She believes art in the application of games serves to immerse the audience in a character’s point of view and is constantly searching for ways to enrich these mediums. She brings a unique and diversified perspective to her career as a digital concept artist, matte painter and compositing artist combined with regular jaunts out of the studio to practice traditional plein air painting.