Michael vs. Lucifer, is a two part illustration of a scene from my original story.
The universe that my Lucifer and Michael are part of, is ruled by five elemental deities; Earth (Bruntos Tæmblor), Fire (Leodan Whiteflæm), Shadow (Rahmvar Darkhæl), Water (Nuhria Mælstrom), and Air (Deyhuan Wholegæl).
The Angel race, also known as Lan’Huan, that Michael and Lucifer are part of, was created by the god of Air, Deyhuan. “Lan’Huan” stands for, Children of Deyhuan.
Michael is the Viceroy of the sky-continent, Naraan (Heaven), whilst Lucifer is the Archon of the deepground realm called Basvaria (Hell).
These two illustrations originally started out as watercolours, but I changed my mind half way through, for I felt the watercolour either required less detail than I originally wanted, or the effect was lost when zooming out.
This is as far as I got with the watercolours before deciding that it will not work for these illustrations:
I deleted the watercolour layers, and switched to making these illustrations in my usual cell-shaded style.
This required that I modify Lucifer’s sketch though. When my intention was to create the watercolour illustrations, I drew all the links of his chain-mail, but those had to go for the cell-shaded style or they would end up cluttering the image too much. Also I discovered his right wing was a little too straight, so I gave it a softer curvature.
Next came putting down a solid base colour for all clothing, skin and armour pieces. This helps me select a certain part of the painting easily for editing.
Painting the background comes right after the solid colours were filled in, so as to give me an idea of the direction of the light and atmosphere. Also at this point, I usually add one single main shadow on the characters using a medium blue colour set to multiply.
During the following stage, I hide the main shadow layer, as well as the background layers, and just focus on finalizing the characters in my cell-shaded style.
Once all details were added, I re-enable the background and the original blue shadow, and start working the two together, so it should appear as if the character belongs in the environment.
Lastly, I tweak the lighting, but especially the colour scheme. I tend to work at a low contrast, low saturation, so as not to get too distracted by the colours. It’s easier to adjust colour schemes using Selective Color, Color Balance, Curves and —best of all— Camera Raw.
And that’s that.
Here are a couple of gifs illustrating the major steps: