Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Final Bullet

This week I embarked in earnest on my latest digital sci-fi/fantasy painting endeavor. It's about a man being hunted and chased by a pack of enemies. He has put up quite a fight so far, but now he's tired, trapped and down to one last bullet for his pistol. I wanted the story to suggest that this man wants so badly to avoid being taken alive by these people (or things) that he's contemplating what to do with his final bullet, and seriously considering using it on himself.

I started with a thumbnail composition and value study, trying to set the tone of a dark, post-apocalyptic environment in which savage beings roam the landscape. I blocked in the main character easily enough, hiding in shadows with the enemy searchlights casting upon him a nice outline of rim light. Then I blocked in some distant silhouettes of characters, and that's where my first hurdle appeared.

I wasn't sure how I wanted these fiends to appear. Are they human? Alien? Machine? Animal? I started putting together character studies involving mostly silhouettes to try to see which type of character cuts the most threatening profile. I'm still unsure about which one I like the most, but I do like several of these - particularly the dreadlocked rag-wrapped person carrying a hatchet. I might give him a gas mask as well. He looks like he might be some sort of cannibal. I also like the tentacled alien-thing, who looks as though it might want to experiment our protagonist. But then I've always thought that the most barbaric creature to man is man himself, so perhaps that's how I'll proceed.

So I started painting the actual illustration in high-resolution this afternoon. I am, as one of my art instructors used to say, "on the board". I've got a nice composition, I think. His face is supposed to be the focal point of the painting, and I've got that smack in the center. I've got his body shape and hands fairly well blocked in, and I added a layer of rim light to see some contrast and separate him from the background. I'll be posting some more updates soon.

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