Most of the time I tried to work with more textured brushes, but because the scene is at night most of the texture wouldn't be visible. To counter this I tried to bring out the texture more in areas that were lit.
At this point I was still working out the design of the city and the immediate area around it, so you may notice that quite a few changes take place in Fig.06 – 07.
Being that I'm Canadian I have a lifetime of experience in the snow and I can remember how different snow feels and looks. I can even remember how it reflects light differently, so when I try to apply this kind of stuff to my paintings it adds another level of enjoyment. If you are less familiar with the subject in your paintings I would recommend gathering as many references as possible.
One of the things I really wanted to paint was snow weighing down the pine branches and dead, leaning trees toppled over by the weight of the snow (Fig.08).
At this point I was getting ready to start finishing the painting, so I looked for faults or areas that I didn't think worked, like dead spaces, or contrasting elements that pulled too much. The bottom left didn't seem to be doing anything so I thought it might be good to have some directional elements to support the eye's movement (Fig.09).
I can't quite remember where or who I heard it from, but someone once told me that the edges of an illustration should always push the viewer and not pull them. To reinforce that rule I strengthened the values closer to the edges to add a kind of vignette (Fig.10).
The final touches are usually slight color adjustments, but I also adjusted the contrast a bit around the focus just to try and match what I had originally envisioned (Fig.11). I added a bit of glow to the city to try and sell the mood a little bit more, and then called it a day.
Overall I'm fairly happy with the outcome; the mood is close to what I wanted and the concept is what it needs to be.
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