|In creating this painting 'Claire de Lune,' the artist |
Graven Tung had two characters in mind.
There is always an image of a dark, stoic-looking man. His tattered robe spreads out like black wings or tentacles, sort of like a dead samurai turned grim reaper. He is also often accompanied by a lady in a red dress.
While I could see the two characters being somewhat connected, there really wasn’t anything else beyond that. Later on I did a few rough sketches just for fun, trying to visualize their looks. The drawings turned out OK, but I didn’t really know what to do with the idea until one day I came across a photo of a little girl standing next to a hooded figure. There’s this creepy tension that relates to my characters, and I wanted to do a painting that captures the similar mood.
Next I went through some photos and started generating thumbnails. As you can see I still kept things very loose at this stage. The point of doing thumbnails is simply to help me find the right image. Although there were no specific concepts behind these characters, I was still looking for a scene that would at least suggest some kind of story.
Here are the sketches that sort of caught my eye. After looking at them side by side for a while, I felt the two battle scenes were a bit too bland. Sure it’s a harsh confrontation, but still lacking a personal touch that connects the characters. The dark forest scene however, had the potential for some subtle chemistry. With the two figures facing each other in a small flower field under dim moonlight, it just might do the trick.
I spent a few moments analyzing the thumbnail. The main things here are the two figures of course. The large shape in the back would likely be a big gnarly tree. I used a blurred-out picture for thev flower field during the block-in as a place-holder, which needed to be completely painted over since the red was too intense.
The next step was gathering the references needed for the scene. For me it always helps to look at the real thing while working, just so I have more information to draw from.