Halloween is coming, and whether you celebrate it or not, you may feel compelled or tempted to indulge in the supernatural legends and stories. To celebrate the dark and mystical mood of the season I prepared this workshop for you @ It’s Art Mag 🙂

This piece was done with Painter X3 and Wacom Intuos Pro, brushes Fine Tip Soft Airbrush and Sponge – but you can apply the principles on any painting software and with the tablet and brushes of your preference.

A sketch, please!

I usually have a very chaotic way to sketch down an idea. I may simply do a minimalistic thumbnail doodle, sometimes a more elaborate pencil sketch or simply write down a note of what the idea is about. For the workshop, it had to be a doodle clear enough so that others could understand. In this case, I imagined a quasi-classical witch with a Gothic twist and a magical hourglass, to give us the idea of time/season.

THE WITCH AND THE HOURGLASS SKETCH3 THE WITCH AND THE HOURGLASS 1

A color sketch, please!

It could be a good idea to play with colors as I imagine a basic color palette for this work. So I try out some color combinations before I start the real painting, so I know more or less which direction to take. Already in the color sketch, I also do some playing with the lighting as well.

Piece by piece, limb by limb, like Jack The Ripper

Now, most times, I paint like this: “I paint the area I am going to paint” with a flat color, which will serve as base. Or underpainting, if you may. This is a nice way to spot the silhouette for that particular area you are painting. For example, if you’re painting a hand or an object such as hourglass, by painting it first with a flat color, you can see whether the shapes and forms are working or not.

In a particular part of the video you will notice I open one of the reference images and use the color picker to pick up some skin tones. I am doing it there as a test to pick up not exactly that tone, but something approximated, which will match both the skin tone I want and the palette of the work.

THE WITCH AND THE HOURGLASS 6 THE WITCH AND THE HOURGLASS 10

Some basic lighting

So I start adding some basic lighting and shading on each part, separately, just like I did with the flat colors. Note that the idea of volume starts showing quiet well now. Already here the work becomes more tridimentional. I go erasing anything which goes out of that particular area I am painting. Why add shading and lighting on each part like you do? – you ask. Well, that’s so I have control over how the light affect each surface, as it does affect each kind of material differently, and if you want your work with a realistic look, you ought to think about it. You can in fact light and shade all together, but I do like this to have more control.

The face of your embrace

Now, in the case of this character’s face, I didn’t have a reference for the features or the lighting, which made things more difficult… Experimenting, of course… Well, I always recommend and I also use it as common practice, most times, to have a real reference – or several – at least for the facial features. So you know the proportions for the mouth, nose, eyes, cheeks, etc. and have a good basis for expression as well. You can also use a mirror and mimic expressions and play as your own reference. I did it for the hands and arms in this work. I posed for myself in a mirror 🙂

THE WITCH AND THE HOURGLASS 14 THE WITCH AND THE HOURGLASS 15

Never-ending hair

I paint with a thick and low opacity brush the shape I want the hair, how I want it to flow. So from there on, I use a very thin brush to build up the lighter tones… I alter between thin brush for hair strands and very low opacity thick strokes to help building volume. In the end, I may add extra lighting using light tones and overlay blending mode.

Let there be rock… Ops, light!

The light is done on a few layers, with high values and overlay mode. I do experiment with a variety of light colors, specially blue ones, to follow with the idea I had in the beginning… But I like the warms tones so much better that this idea is now dismissed. Warm light, that is. I also do some finishing overall, to make sure the lighting is proper all over the painting.

THE WITCH AND THE HOURGLASS -detail1 THE WITCH AND THE HOURGLASS -detail2

FX or no FX?

Basically I try different brushes – these ones on Painter 2015, which I have installed recently, but am not completely used to it. So I continue to use the X3, while learning more of the 2015 version. I experiment with different brushes to simulate light FX, but you know what? I think they disturb the sense of harmony which we see so pristine in the painting. So I won’t use any light FX on this one…

From beginning to end – Aesthetical decisions

I dismissed a lot of things from the original sketch and color test along the process. Sometimes, less is more, like Leonardo DaVinci said. Here is a short list of aesthetical choices I did along the journey:

Feather in the hat: not used
Leaves flying: not applied
Eyes: hidden by the hat, to give more mystery to the painting
Light color: from blue to light warm

THE WITCH AND THE HOURGLASS-web

Watch the time-lapse for the process bellow and enjoy the tunes:

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/110079591[/vimeo]

Music Credits: Creative Commons License / Youtube Audio resources by Silent Partner
Track 1: DC Love Go-Go
Track 2: Watch it Glow
Track 3: Diner for One
Track 4: Hiking

Thank you for watching! 🙂
Visit my website: www.isissousadesigner.com

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