zondag 6 augustus 2017

The Resurrection of the Ouwlaw King (2016)

Hi everyone,

Here is another Walkthrough from one of my recent more succesful paintings (1 yr). It depicts William Wallace, After being slain by the english. His king makes a pact with the Gwyllions of Wales to resurrect him, by stitching him while he is nailed to trees. Just playing around with history and myth around the same area and time.

Resurrection of the Outlaw King

''The Guardian of Scotland is Dead; Betrayed by our enemies, branded traitor and mercilessly executed.''

Hope is lost among the Clansmen, but I, Robert the Bruce, Heir to the Scottish throne did not. The Gwyllions of Wales want to play.They have recovered William's dismembered bodyparts and restitched them together for our cause. They even clothed him in old scottish manner and donned his warpaints.

With their unholy blessing our hero will lead us to victory once again, but at what cost? When we win this war, what will these hags do once they have access to the Throne of England? '' 

 Idea sketches

 In this painting i wanted to depict the battle fought when WW is already been resurrected, as some kind of frankensteins monster, next to Robert the Bruce, the future Scottisch King. I liked the motion but i didnt use it because it wouldnt emphasise the entire selling point, which is that WW is resurrected by a mystical power.
In this painting i wanted an stoic scene where WW and Robert are ready for battle. As with option 1 it just didnt emphasise the selling point, and just wasnt that spectacular in general. The background seems a bit weird as well (doesnt fit the mood and narrative)

This is the sketch i eventually chose to pursue. It has an interesting angle, it tells the story in a clear way, and it has the best mood of the 3 sketches. I also chose to retain humanoid proportions for WW because i didnt want the character to look too comical.

Here is the chosen sketch after some work. It looks pretty decent so far, but the more i worked on it, the more i got overwhelmed by the piece. It was all to blame to not using the proper reference or only using it halfway.

I used my girlfriend as reference. As you can see this doesnt look like anything i am painting. She doesnt wear the clothes of WW. she doesnt have the body type of WW and her arms arent leaning on anything. This reference is 99% useless besides the pose perhaps.

Here is when things are starting to get hard. I started to lose control of the values when moving to color (Thats why you should check your values at ALL TIMES through a Hue/Saturation layer). The piece lost its mood from the sketch and i did not use proper reference for the kilt/body. I just grabbed something from the internet and tried to integrate it on the pose of someone lying down, which i can guarantee you NEVER looks 100% natural, as you can see above.
Here is a comparison of the greyscale version from before and after i added color (so you can see how it went wrong)

Left piece has a pretty intense mood, accompanied with a wide value range, while the right piece (where i started to add color) started to look messier in general, while losing the sinister vibe the first sketch had.

This is where things started to become frustrating. I started to render only realising after a while i am not anywhere near a realist level. The mood is still missing (its a tad better due to the darker background) the folds are slightly better but not perfect (as i will show you later) and the anatomy is so, so. Alot of guessing again from reference that isnt in the same pose whatsoever, and no time is spent emphasizing the muscles.

Here is a reference piece use for the piece above. I shot a photo of a male friend to better suit the subject. Its slightly better than the first reference but again, not there at all. The cloth is just strewn on his body, not wrapped around like a kilt, nor does it have the same pattern as a kilt. The upper body of my pal should have been exposed to show muscles to help me paint them.

At this stage things are starting to look brighter. I used proper reference on the clothing and it shows. The background is painted decently but the mood has been lost again after a 
while of painting. Always make sure to check earlier stages of your painting to find parts you lost but could use again!

At this stage i started to take things way more seriously. I asked another friend to tie a sheet around his middle and a another sheet around his torso/hips (fastened with a belt) to make it as realistic as possible. Too bad i didnt take the time to find a checker sheet to emphasise the kilt itself, but the largest part has already been done. However, i still needed to find reference online for prominent muscles (no offense to my buddy ofcourse!) but at least right now i knew where to place them. 

At this stage things are starting to look more finished. Rendering to its fullest, as well as finding proper reference for the little Gwyllions for which i used my girlfriend. She wasn't comfortable with doing nude shoots so we shot the photos with stretched clothing. The lady sitting bottom right was hard for me to do with clothes, i couldnt see certain muscles bending with the movement properly, so she agreed to take one photo without clothes.(which i am not going to share for obvious reasons :-p)

At this point the piece if finished. I emphasised the focal point to be the center of the image, where all the seweing is taking place. The golden beltbuckle serving as a bounce light source to light the gnomes and part of WW's face. When characters are lit from below it always give you a more dramatic and foreboding vibe, so i took full advantage of that. I darkened the surrounding area of the image to get the sinister feel back, but i had to watch out to not get TOO dark. The most important part is just to have the gradiation going of the values (from dark to light).

This piece took alot out of me; It was hard, challenging, but i learned alot when it comes to preparation and proper reference usage. Taking things to the next level so to speak.

I will try to make these blogpost a 1/2 week thing. I really like to share knowledge and hear positive things from people. Sharing is caring after all!

Please let me know what you think of this post,

Have a great one!