Saturday, April 06, 2013

"Welcome To The Party, Pal." Break-it-down.

So I decided to post my first ever how I did it post. Being the first, and somewhat unplanned, there wont be too much to this. But it is the first, so future posts will have more detail. But come with me on this experiment, and we'll see how it goes.

First off, the painting started as a sketch in on of my sketchbooks. I had decided I wanted to draw an octopus, one of the most unusual creatures in the fish world, and something quite different to other fish. After sketching him, I thought it might be fun to have him seen as an outsider, but being welcomed in. He is, after all, one of them. And I found, while looking up octopus... octopi... that other tropical fish were quite unique and might make good characters. Here's the final sketch-

After this, I redrew the sketch on a sheet of A3 watercolour paper. I changed some details, like the appearance and positions of some of the fish. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a photo of this stage, so lets go on. At this stage, I painted the water surrounding the fish. This was a basic wash of blue which I made heavier down the page, showing the depth of the water. I added some reds and darker blues, as well as some green so the water would be a bit more abstract. Once this dried, I proceeded to paint the fish. I started with the main character, the octopus. I used a very small brush and thicker paint so the characters of the piece would stand out more. Here's the (almost) finished octopus-

After that, it was just a matter of painting the rest of the fish. Again, working small and building, using plenty of reference, and painting one fish at a time. It took a few days to get them all done. Here's the final painting... I should just note at this stage that I am photographing these images, and not scanning. Hence the slightly different overall tone of each shot-

Now came the very experimental stage. This was all done in Photoshop. I started playing around with hues, saturation, and colour balance. I separated each fish onto their own layer so that they could be worked on individually. I darkened the lower stage of the image to emphasise the depth. I also put a layer of white behind the octopus and the main fish so that they would stand out more. And I gave them a slight shadow to emphasise the light coming through the water. Here's the final image-

So what started out as an experiment turned out quite well. I'm very happy with it. Hope you enjoyed the process of how I made this image. More soon!


Unknown said...

I love this image Pete and found the breakdown very enlightening regarding the multi-media approach. My only criticism is that the angler fish should have been at the bottom with his lure lit (but that's just the pernickety designer & scuba diver in me! Can't believe your Missus didn't point it out though?!?).

Unknown said...
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Peter Slattery said...

Oh, she did, Ciaran, she did!