Juan Carlos (Juanco) Alegre shares the process he used to create his image The Lost Mission, demonstrating texturing techniques along the way.
This tutorial is about the steps I followed to create the concept, design and illustration of my work titled The Lost Mission. The concept of the work arose from reading about the cold war and the space race, where scientists from both the U.S. and USSR were experimenting with the effects of space travel on living organisms, and how they could test what humans would experience by using mammals such as dogs and monkeys.
After reading about this I came up with idea of a story about a lost mission at that time, where the pilot would have been a young ape lost for years, mysteriously returning to earth. But the ape returns with clear evidence of having lived an odyssey to get home, as well as a strong change in attitude, as if the journey had made the ape become cold and more intelligent.
With that in mind I started to design a composition. At first the main idea was to make two pictures, one with the ape at the time of the test and another when he returned years later, to see the comparisons between these two great moments.
In this tutorial I will focus on the second illustration, the ape returning to earth. In this tutorial we will explore and develop the concept, as well as focus on the use of light to give more intensity to the drawing and the advantage of using of texture brush effects to finish of the work.
Trial and error: the sketch
The first step is to start the sketch. I try to compose the image according to the concept of illustration, after several attempts and sketches I decided that the most important thing was to display a foreground image of the ape looking straight at the camera. After many attempts the composition ended up as a close up of the apes face up staring at the viewer, as his face and suit reveal that he has gone through many difficult times before returning to Earth!
I try to compose the image to reflect the concept of illustration
Definition sketch and documentation
After I finished the sketch and had finalized the composition, I began to define it by cleaning up the line work and bringing the idea to a more realistic level.
At this point I used references of real images in order to achieve a higher level of accuracy. I searched for images that showed the spacesuits that were used at the time to research the materials and helmet design, for both the American and the Soviet side. I did the same with the appearance of the ape, to capture their expressions and proportions.
A close-up of the cleaned up line work