A New Painting!

Ranger-dragon-chase-DONE

Here’s that painting I mentioned I began whilst in the Lake District! I’ve kept having to put it on the back burner, but I’m now calling it done. I drew inspiration from the walk we did on our penultimate day in the Lakes. We climbed Scafell Pike on a beautiful morning, with dew that caught the light coming over the mountain above us and turning everything blue and rim-lit… I tried to capture that feeling with this picture, using reference photos that I took while on the walk, but which failed to fully recreate the atmosphere. This is perhaps the best one (if you ignore the glimpse of my finger where I had to shield my phone’s lens from the glare!):

IMG_1866

I had an idea for doing a series of female heroes based on some of the typical D&D classes, taking inspiration from the real-life women that I’ve met on all the long backpacking trips I’ve done. My mother and I seem to have a habit of striking up conversations with the most eccentric ladies whilst out walking! This painting was an experiment in that vein – a ranger based on fell runners. The pose is one I’m very familiar with from watching my mum (a former fell-runner) jog downhill!

Method:
I began with a few value sketches, chose the thumbnail that worked best, then blew it up and layered gradients onto it using Overlay layers to quickly build up colour. Then I began painting with a larger brush designed to emulate traditional paint, and a rectangular chalk brush. I put in the simple dragon silhouette, after experimenting with a few more complicated options for it based on hawks, and imported a sketch of the runner onto which I laid some flat colours. Then I faffed around for a long time trying to work out what style I wanted to go for with the runner and dragon, trying different lighting effects, rendering the runner, deleting the layer, changing the colours… Eventually I just sat down and forced myself to paint, beginning with neatening up the edges of the sketch of the runner, then refining the background in an organic way, following the chaotic brushstrokes laid down in my second pass. That broke through the block, and allowed me to render the runner and bring the image to a point of completion.

There are quite a few problems with this image that I could try and fix, but I think most of them were to do with the foundations of the image rather than things that can be mended with rendering. So I’m leaving it here, and will take the lessons from it forwards into the next painting – thus progress occurs =D I am still quite pleased with this one!
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