Thursday, 28 April 2011

Digital Painting - "Beyond the Darkness"

As with my last post (Digital Painting - "Let this be a dream..."), I have been working on another painting for the Imagine FX monthly forum competition, the winner of which is often printed in the magazine. In contrast to my entry last month, I decided to take a lighter approach with April's entry, despite the clearly dark suggestion of the theme: "Beyond the Darkness."

I initially chose to create a woman with a glowing light in her palm staring into the darkness to see what is beyond. For a while, this concept just didn't grab me enough. It felt too simplistic, to the point that I even sketched together a couple of completely different ideas. However, I came back to it when I thought of a few additional elements. I don't quite know where the inspiration came from, but I hit upon doing a fantasy scene with a nod to Snow White. Instead of dwarves, I wanted small goblin-like creatures, huddling around the main female character. Given the somewhat gnomish quality of the creatures, I also decided to sit my main character on a toadstool in a dark cave. Hopefully the toadstools help emphasise the fantasy and light-hearted atmosphere, even in that setting. I decided that she would still have the glowing light in her palm, but the mystery would be that she and her followers appear to be delving deeper into their subterranean world for some unknown purpose. Hence, searching 'beyond the darkness'.

Here are some of the 'Work in Progress' (WIP) images, to show its creation.

At one point, I even included a partly eaten apple in the design, to make the Snow White analogy more obvious, but I decided to leave it a little more ambiguous. It's there if the viewer wants to see it, and if not, it is what it is. When placing the apple, nowhere felt comfortable, and I finally realised it just wasn't meant to be there.

Stylistically, I also chose to go for a somewhat 'comic' or 'graphic novel' feel, with clear lines surrounding and emphasising the details of the characters and main elements. Below you can see the finished piece. For a number of the background cave details, I was able to use some photographic cave reference I had taken a few years ago. There is something admittedly satisfying when you find a purpose for the photographic library of reference you build up.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the image. There may be a few too many points of interest that draw the eye, but given the type of painting it is, I think it compensates by having a number of things that you can keep coming back and enjoy examining the details. It's certainly been fun to paint, at the very least.

As of posting, voting has yet to start on April's competition. We'll just have to wait and see how it goes, and I'll report back what happens!

All work is the © copyright of W.D.Lee and/or the respective companies, individuals or organisations to which the work is related. No infringement is intentional. No reproduction or copying is permitted without express permission.

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