Music has been, and still is, a great source of inspiration for me. There is nothing better than the right song for the right image. Music has, at least for me, the ability to intensify emotions. Sometime I browse through my iTunes library and get drawn to one of the songs. While listening to the sound again and again an image starts to pop into my mind. This image was inspired while I was listening to Keep The Streets Empty For Me by the band Fever Ray. The song is pretty intense and has a dark brooding mood to it. The idea to paint my own interpretation of this was set into my mind.
I already had some images in mind as to how the final illustration could look and I wanted it to have a more illustrative feeling in comparison to my other works. Normally I use a lot of custom brushes and shapes to speed up the process but for this image I wanted to use a different approach and just used three main brushes: a basic round, a painterly brush and a smudger.
The Tools And Painting Process
The Smudge tool is pretty cool when blending hard edges together. But you have to play with the right settings. When I'm using the Smudge tool, Strength is set to 20% and the brush itself is set to Sensitive pressure. The scale is 100%, with no effect. Even if I work with the Smudge tool I still use my layer technique. This mean I have my base color on one layer and my shadows and highlights on separate layers. By using the Smudge tool on the highlight you'll get some pretty nice, happy color accidents. The only downside is that this will slow down your computer a bit (but this happen when using separate layers). When I'm happy with the look I merge the layers together and create a new one for the next steps (Fig.01 - 03).