May 31, 2016

Serpent Dragon in the Abyss

This must be my first dragon painting ever. I did some drawings before but only after I realized I needed a dragon painting for my portfolio I decided to make one.
I used this sketch, I did earlier in ink, as a base for my painting.

But I didn't sticked to it too closely. I liked the composition and values so that's what I took from the original sketch.
The background is very blury and not defined which is one of the things I like about loose sketches especially the ones done in ink or watercolors. You get these random effects and shapes which can spark your imagination later and these random shapes can turn into something you would otherwise not thought of. Or you can leave them abstract and let the viewer decide what they are.
In this case I thought it would look nice if the scene took place in the deep dark abyss.

Here are all the stages of the painting. From ugly to finish. Enjoy. [Click to enlarge]

When I'm working with a sketch on the paper, I scan it to Photoshop and put on a separate layer set to multiply. Then I create another layer below the sketch and start painting in color. At this stage I try to experiment because it's still a sketching stage.
In this case I choose two primary light sources. One cool blue light from above and the other is a fire (warm yellow) from the dragon. This created a nice cool vs. warm color scheme.
I also added some fallen trees in the background to make the place look more like a place where this dragon would live. To give it the sense of depth I used lots of atmospheric perspective in the background which gives the idea that the place is really wet and humid kind of like a swamp.
As you can see I changed the dragon's head because I didn't like the the way it was looking. I wanted more interesting angle. Another think I changed was the knight. Original idea was, that he is taking cover behind the shield but later I thought it would look better if I made him in more of a dynamic pose, like if he is jumping away from the flame.

At the end I re-cropped the image for better composition. I usually like to keep the rule of thirds  in mind when designing or adjusting the composition. I also did some color adjustments at the end, using color balance although this time I didn't have to adjust as much because I was pretty close with my color choice at the beginning. Sometime I'm not as lucky and then this thing turns into a recoloring mess with lot of time wasted on recoloring. So make sure to get the color as close as to what it should be, right from the beginning.