As a professional Illustrator and colorist, I believe that my job is not to "copy" what I see, but to make my art unique, expressive, and appropriate for its purpose.
When you work on your art you need to ask yourself 2 questions:
- What do I want to communicate to the viewer through my art? (Vision)
- How am I going to do this? (Knowledge & Tools)
What to communicate depends on your vision. What is the story you want to tell? You can then use your tools, try different approaches until you find the best visual solution.
Knowledge & Tools
Just like a surgeon needs to study biology before she grabs a knife and operates on a patient, a composer learns to read musical notes before he can write his own music.... YOU too, as an artist, need to learn composition, color theory and anatomy - among other stuff- to get the best out of your tools.
If there's nothing new to learn then there's no where to go. Even if you already have an academic education, there's always something new to learn.... a new style or a new medium.
As an example, I am sharing this coloring commission I worked on. I got the art from a client who by the way is a really nice guy and a great communicator. He explained what the poster/cover is for.
I started with laying down the flats. It helps if you get the colors as close as possible to what you want but even if you don't, you can always change them.
I kept the illustration low to medium key, that's to say somewhat dark. I wanted to communicate a sense of mystery and fear.
Since the blood trail was obviously the focus of the illustration, I want it to be more saturated than everything around it.
Then I started to work on the light and shadow to add more depth, but I wasn't sure whether to ink the blood on the snow or not.
I tried both approaches and it was better left uninked. If I ink it I would be copying or tracing the existing art which is not my job. My job is to make the visuals tell the story better.
I added an invisible spotlight effect on the area of most interest, where the legs and snowboard are. I left the light white-ish to mimic a moonlit environment. and the cherry on top was the trail that the snowboard left behind as it swerved.
With every project I work on I get to the same conclusion.... Do NOT trace. Art direct yourself. Learn constantly. Master your tools.
Also... have fun! :D
More Digital Painting Blogs:
Digital Painting (Soon)
and more of my projects.
Heidi Ahmad (@heidiGFX)
Digital Illustrator & Colorist
Telling Stories Through Light & Color
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Third Culture Kid (TCK)
Freelance Writer/Translator - Design Guide Magazine
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