This is a small illustration of Cruce and Papa Roach, from Chapter 3, of Feverborn, by Karen Marie Moning.
Sadly with the final year of Uni, plus work, I only have the time for “small illustrations“, rather than the really complex scenes with multiple characters that I so love from the books.
The Making Of GIF for this piece:
This illustration proved to be a bit of a challenge where it concerns the lighting. The environment is very dark, and there is little to no light-source anywhere, so I had to improvise on that.
To make certain that the feeling of depth is not skewed, I often desaturated the image. Greyscale enables me to see much better what is too bright, or too dark.
Greyscaling is especially used by artists who prefer to paint everything in shades of grey first and, then using an overlay/multiply method, add colour the piece at the end. I’ve tried this, several times, and it just kills my soul. I need the colours! That’s what makes painting for me such a joy: playing with colours. Staring at a greyscale image for hours or even days on end takes all the fun out of it.
A good work-around I found is creating a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer in Photoshop and lowering the saturation completely. This way I can paint using colours, and from time to time, I enable the adjustment layer, turning everything greyscale, to make sure I am still on track with the depth of light and shadow.
For the sake of comparison, I created a version of the painting, without using any greyscaling.
In the “Before” version on the left, the light isn’t right on parts of the character. Bits that are further in the background, and thus should be darker, have the exact same highlights that the foreground parts do, thus giving the impression that his right leg (further in the back), is actually closer to us than his left leg.
This is fixed in the “After” image on the right, which is why I find greyscaling, to check depth, so useful.
Here is a comparison between the two images finished: