Environment & Landscapes PT 2 with Alex Tooth 

IT’S ART present all the members and fans a series of video lectures and articles about Fantasy Art during the whole year of 2013!

IT’S ART FANTASY WORKSHOP will cover from characters and landscapes to ornaments, costumes, props and weapons. Besides the main themes in the Fantasy Realm, there will be also discussed trends and the evolution of what we know as the art of the fantastic!

Watch bellow a quick animation with the steps of A Creepy Forest Tutorial:

A Creepy Forest –  TUTORIAL /Photoshop CS6

For this tutorial I wanted to show most of the process I go through when painting an environment piece. This usually involves creating thumbnails and sketching out ideas, using reference, fleshing out a sketch, adding colour, details and then putting the finishing touches in at the end.

This was originally a commissioned painting and the brief was quite simple, a very old and creepy forest, densely populated with really gnarled old Oak trees. The painting should have an ominous, dark and magical feel to it.

1. Reference

I don’t often look at any reference before sketching out thumbnails, but in this case I thought that looking at some gnarled oak trees would really help – trees aren’t the easiest things to draw, especially those twisted branches and trunks. So first I got familiar with the general structure of an old tree. Here’s an example of the kind of pictures I looked at. I didn’t go overboard with reference at this stage, just enough to get some mental shape structures swimming around my head for when I sketch.


2. Thumbnails

Next, and quite an important stage, is sketching out thumbnails – you can do this with lines or tones. Pencil in your sketchbook is definitely a good place to sketch out ideas, for that hands on approach. Digital is of course great too. In this case I used Photoshop as I really wanted to get a strong tonal composition down quickly. It’s a good idea to limit the amount of tones you use. I usually use a light tone, at about 20% black, then a dark one at around 50% and finally a very dark one at 80-90% black. Limiting yourself to 3 tones is good practice for strong simple compositions. I paint them at 100% brush opacity. You still have the light of the canvas underneath too as an extra light tone. When sketching out thumbnails, remember to actually look at them at a near-thumbnail actual size – zoom right out – is your composition readable? Does it look interesting? If yes, then your final piece will certainly have a good start. You don’t have to do lots and lots of thumbs, but it’s generally regarded as a good idea to do as many as possible. Even if you get attached to your first idea, often it’s the case an even better one appears as you brainstorm on the canvas!


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