|The detailing part was relatively easy and full of the joy of painting. I love the way John Howe handles detail in his water media paintings and I wanted to have a similar feeling to them: lots of detail, but handling them discreetly. For me, details should be there for the viewer to explore. I started building the detail on brushwork I’d put down in the value sketch phase. With textures, I relied almost exclusively on my all-in-one wonder texture of a tree bark. |
Combined with basic round or spackled brushes and jitter functions I had the level of randomness I needed and still sufficient control over the use of it. Additional tweaking to the details was made mainly with a small round brush. Adding to those, I kept experimenting with custom brushes (my own ones and Photoshop defaults) and used those discreetly to create more interest to the piece.
|The small three-leaf clover plants were painful to get right with drawing free hand, so I chose to create a mask for them in 3ds Max. With few variations of these I had enough randomness to repeat in Photoshop with scaling, rotating and mirroring. |
Also, with enough reference around for the shape it was easy to repeat the shape free hand with small modifications. The plants were kept in their own layer, so after the initial quick masked selection was filled with solid base color, it was easy to paint the details in with locking transparent pixels of the layer.
The background was something I did not dare touch for a long time, since I didn’t want to ruin the work done in the value sketch phase. Once I had the courage to start working on the background it turned out bleak and monotonous at first, using only few basic and scattered brushes. I wanted to have more deep and vibrant colors.
At this point, I experimented further with Photoshop shape brushes and pencil-drawn and scanned scribble brushes, and found the right combination of interesting ones to use in overlay and color dodge modes to make the colors in the background more lively and bright.
Adjusting the colors with different blending modes for the brush is a good way for me to have a similar process as with oil paints when I apply transparent glazes of paint, building the colors and tones slowly to create more depth to them. If I wanted even more control over this, I could use new layers with different blending modes: as with oils, I could wipe the new and undried glaze of paint off if not satisfied with the result. Nevertheless I usually prefer using brushes with different modes right on top of the color, and usually undo is sufficient to prevent the most dramatic errors.
|I had a lot of uncertainty and indecision going on with which elements to have in the final piece. With digital media, I love the possibility to make adjustments and refinements to what I have in the piece altogether. |
The effort it takes to make changes with traditional media calls for detailed planning beforehand, while digital media allows me to get started with painting right away and make quick and dramatic changes during the process. I can more easily build up the entire piece towards perfection when seeing how the painting develops, what works and what doesn’t, and not be concerned whether or not it is exactly right from the beginning.
I included many different things into the scene but in the end I chose to discard everything else but my absolute favorites, and decided to balance the scene with the play of light instead of creatures and vegetation. This is because the creatures were supposed to only contribute to the atmosphere and composition and not take over the whole image. For me, the main concern with the content is to have only the necessary bits and focus on the aspects I love the most.
My name is Jussi Lehtiniemi, 25 years old. I’m from Finland where I first attended a university course leading to an MA in Architecture. Although architecture interests me greatly, I always felt it took me away from my true calling, which is telling stories with images and fleshing out non-existent worlds.
At the moment, the architecture degree is on hold after getting three years into it and I’m now attending a BA in Illustration course in a British university. Although the content of the course is dealing almost exclusively with contemporary illustration and not with craft skills and technique, I still have the opportunity to draw and paint all the time and hone up my story-telling skills. And of course, I have brilliant friends on the course who have the same interests as I have and the same opinion about ‘contemporary’ art.
Between university course projects, I’m devoting time to my personal projects, occasional freelance work and creating concept art, models and content for a ‘Half Life 2’ multiplayer modification titled ‘Warbreed.’ Modding gives me the chance to develop my concept art skills and workflow in a context that’s more tangible than a personal project. Developing ideas in a team is always more fruitful than doing it alone.
I started with oil painting after getting hold of Boris Vallejo’s book depicting his techniques for fantasy art. Lately, almost all of my work has been digital but I enjoy the occasional chance to paint with oils as well. I think it’s possible to take ideas and approaches from either media, digital or traditional and use those in a creative way in the other.
I’m glad for this opportunity to share my thoughts in this tutorial and I hope that I’m able to contribute something useful to the digital art community that has taught me so many things.
Thank you, everybody!