Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gryphon Tarot - The Lovers

The Lovers is an interesting card. Taken literally, it can me simply the love between two people. A more in-depth look at the card itself however reveals that it is about relationships. Whether it be romantic in nature, or friendship, or the relationship between yourself and say a job, or a career. This also leads into the interpretation of a difficult choice at hand. Traditional decks showed a man standing on a forked road, with two trees at hand. One bearing flowers, the other fruit. It's ultimately about love though, be it being in love with another person, a career choice or something else.

I chose the yin-yang layout as it is a common symbol of balance and the relationship between the female yin (white), and the male yang (black). The symbol in the lower right I initially had as the symbol for Venus but later changed it to the correct one, Gemini.

What I have done so far here is to mask off the gryphons with masking fluid first, and then go over the background with a wash consisting of Alizarin Crimson, and Dioxazine purple in about a 30-70% ratio between the colors. I wanted the focus of this to be the two lovers in the center, so I opted for a minimal background to this piece. The gryphons themselves are done in gouache and paynes grey respectively.

Here I've darkened the background considerably to get a more vibrant shade of the pink that I was initially aiming for. The gryphons are now more refined, having used a mixture of gouache and paynes grey for the highlights on the black feathers and adding some yellow ochre and cadmium yellow on the beaks and paws to pull the viewers focus towards the linked hands.

And here we have the finished card. The symbol in the lower right has been replaced with the corrected one for Gemini. I added a very thin border around the white gryphoness to add contrast and make her pop out from the background.

Next card up, Card XIII Death.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chasing the Sky - Final

This is a continuation of my previous posting on here regarding this particular piece. The shading and scaling details are beginning to be put in and refined. Which you will be able to see better in the next picture.

Not really too much to say about this shot here, except that I work at 300-600dpi usually when I do digital artwork. This allows for good quality when printed, as well as providing me with the room to add more detail than a lower resolution would. Each dragonlette is on its own layer, which allows me to work on each on separately and/or move them around if I need to. This is a habit I am trying to get out of however, as it's not possible to do this with traditional media.

Here you can see that a lot of the scaling has been added and that the white dragon and the blue dragon have been mostly finished at this point. I start with a flat color and paint in where I want the scales to be before going over them several more times with steadily lightening colors to add more of a 3-D appearance to the scales themselves. I finish them off by airbrushing with a brighter version of the color at about 15-20% opacity to unify them before adding my shading layer over top.

Here I've added more of a light source from behind the trees and put in the corresponding shadows on the dragonletts. I have also added in the dragonflys that they are supposed to be chasing. I used a layer on top of the detail work set to multiply at 40% opacity to put the shadows in. This allows me to get smooth shading without streaking. Do not use black for shading, I can not stress this enough. Deep purples, dark reds or blues/grees work best depending on the subject's color.

And the final version. I added some more of the subtle details into the sky, darkening the upper right hand corner and flipped the entire image. By flipping it, I can check for errors in lighting and composition as it provides a new perspective to look at it. You can do the same thing with traditional work by holding it up to a mirror.

And lastly we have some detail shots of the dragons themselves.