Making of Sea Creature by jessevandijk

Published on: 02-20-2008 | Views: 103612

Work title: Sea Creature

Software used: Adobe Photohop CS2

This image was created specifically for the January 2008 Image Challenge over at the Gnomon Workshop. The theme was, unsurprisingly, "Sea Creature". I try to participate in such contests whenever I can, as they help you get started by providing you with a subject or theme, and most importantly, a deadline. As these things go, regardless of how tight that deadline is, one always tends postpone the work until it's almost too late... and this painting was no exception. Read on for details...

Before I paint anything, I roughly decide what I want to paint and consider colours and composition. In this case, that came down to 'a blue/greenish underwater scene, with a big monster chasing a submarine of some sorts'. While I sometimes start in black and white, here I began with a rough colour scheme right away. I feel that for natural environments especially, it makes for easier achieving of some slight natural variation of hues. I start with a simple gradient, lighter at the top to suggest the surface somewhere above the canvas, and a darker greenish blue for the bottom. Next thing to do is to quickly suggest some landscape. After every few brushstrokes I adjust the hue of my foreground colour a little, to achieve subtle natural colour variation.

Good enough for now. It's important to get the original idea I had on the canvas as soon as possible, to see if it's actually going to work or not. So the next thing to do is to get the sea creature itself and the sub in there. I'm not at all bothered with their individual designs at this point; first I need to be able to see if my compositional idea is any good.

I'm pretty satisfied with the motion suggested here: the sub seems to be going from left to right in a curve, and the creature is following it. What I'm trying to depict is to have them follow the same path of motion, even though the monster is oriented with its head to the left and the sub to the right. What I don't like is that the sub's side is nearly perpendicular to the camera. Another thing that bothers me is the fact the the creature just 'floats' out there; it needs some sort of connection with the landscape to provide some sense of scale and proportions. Also, its design is starting to bother me. I'm messing around a bit with the general shape of the monster. This is really a process of experimenting, but it's not going the way I want it to, and it's not at all very brushstroke-efficient. After I waste time going nowhere, I decide it's time for a different approach. I grab a pic from my collection of reference pictures, change its transparency to about 20%, and slap it on the monster's head.

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