Hey guys and girls! Today I’m going to explain to you a little bit about the process I went through when I painted my image, “Beacon Tower”. I’m going to try not to go into every little detail as this picture was created on and off over a period of about three months time, in-between paid work. With that said, I’m going to aim to give as complete a picture as I can about how it was created, without boring you all!
The overall theme I was going for with this piece was to create a sense of solitude and coldness, but keeping the focal point feeling cosy and warm – secure from the wind and chill. Initially, the design wasn’t going to be as dark and foreboding as it ended up, but it was to be more of a sunny seaside lighthouse, over-looking a bay in the background.
I wanted the tower to look distinctly stone-built, rather then a rendered surface, as I had a hankering at the time to draw older style buildings and architecture. I’ve also learnt to love the detail of rock and stone, so the mountain quickly changed into a jagged outcropping with lots of cracks and crevices which, as I was surprised to discover, was possibly my favourite part in the creation of this whole picture... that and the crystal growths!
Speaking of the crystal growths, this feature came from a slight urge to draw faceted stones breaking out of the rock and adding something different to the scene. But enough of that – I’ll get on to the process now!
As always, I started off by just doodling in my sketchbook until I found a composition that I liked, and then scanned the ratty little thing in (Fig.01). Touching on a much larger note for a moment here, I used to find one of the most annoying aspects of having not sketched the idea directly on screen was that it was always hard to integrate the sketch once I finally embarked on it in Photoshop! I have found though that the best option for making your sketch into a transparent guide for your composition is to desaturate the image completely and turn up the contrast until everything is as close to black and white as possible, and then set the layer to “Multiply”. I just thought I’d mention this here in case it helps out a few people who may also find this slightly frustrating!
Keeping in mind that this was going to be a brighter, more cheery image to begin with, the blocking in took a few hit and misses until I finally realised the direction that I was going in.
The hill initially was just that: a hill with a pile of rocks sloping up (Fig.02). But as I turned it into a craggy outcrop, I started blocking in more direction to the flow of the stone and tried out a few colours. In the end I settled on a stone grey (Fig.03 and Fig.04).