This is a (very crappy) scene I came up with, for the Portfolio Building Challenge some students of the Watts Atelier have organized. Each month a different topic. This one was about a “Genre Mash-Up”, an illustration for a fictional book cover. I choose Detective and Dinosaurs as themes (if dinosaurs can even be called theme).
It was quite a struggle, as it’s the very first time for me to do anything this complex.
I started with a few thumbnails to put some ideas down on paper:
The first one was my favorite, I couldn’t really beat the original idea, so I carried it to a more complete stage in pencil:
And finally rendered the first image in gouache. Everything is from imagination, although I did use references to plan the composition and add believable elements. I used a couple of action figures for the detective and body poses, while I built myself a simple maquette to replicate the Velociraptor’s foot:
All in all what gave me more trouble was perspective, although I did not really dare venturing into color yet (I tried something digital but miserably failed), as that would have been a complete disaster.
I have been thinking of making a painting out of this scene for the last… 9 years? I guess so.
I didn’t pay much attention to fine details, since everything will be covered with opaque oil painting soon, but still, I tried to be as precise as possible on the main shapes of both summons, as well as the town. I did modify a couple of things compared to the original, as I felt it was a bit too bulky on the rooftops and chimneys.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been having a weird concept in my head. The basic idea was of a dark scene with a floating castle made of something blue-ish like ice, reached by a stone bridge suspended in the air and sorrounded by nothing but dark miasma and evil mist.
Eventually, I worked on the concept and added a few differences, like the energy vortex and a perspective that is totally different from my original idea, where the castle itself was seen only partially from a first-person view at the entrance.
This is my very first complete illustration, as well as the first oil painting on illustration board and not primarily wet-on-wet. There are at least 6-7 layers of paint overall, the last one being mixed with a good amount of medium (50/50 of linseed oil and turpentine)
The following images are the very first overall concept, followed by the entrance (yes, there is a strong Lord Of The Rings inspiration here!)
I had to go for something a lot simpler given the size and my incapacity (ugh) of rendering fine details in oil, still.