In this Making Of I will tell you in detail how I made this work and I will try to show as much as I can about how these kind of works can be made (through my own techniques). When I got inspiration for this piece I was working on another picture and searching the web for references. When inspiration comes, it does not matter where it's coming from; I think it is very important to write it down (especially forms and colors). This is the picture that inspired this image and that I later based the composition on (Fig.01). Now I will show you my train of thought and my methods.
In the photo there was a hole in the top of a cave (the famous Batu Caves in Malaysia). This gave me the idea to create a huge and imaginary subterranean cave system. My goal was to make it as effective and realistic as I could.
Sketch and Planning
I started by making a simple sketch based on my initial vision (Fig.02). This was the basis for my further work. I wanted to create a balanced composition, which looked roomy despite the limitations of the space.
First, I created a new blank document and placed the main picture in it. I put the brightest part in the middle of the picture to lead the eye from there. Then I sketched my vision in black and white. I always plan in black and white, so I can later deal with the colors and because it is easier to set the light/shade differences. In this case, the colors of the base image were the benchmarks for every color modifications.
I used my favorite self-made brush for sketching, which imitates the texture of rocks (Fig.03).