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January 20th, 2013

Step by Step: the cover for Protector, by CJ Cherryh, from DAW Books, part II

Step Three: the Painting

Part I is here

I do my drawings on the computer, in Painter: it saves so much time, even if the finish is going to be done traditionally. In this case, the final will be a digital painting.

The drawing proceeds quickly, though you’ll see that I wasn’t happy with the spacecraft until almost the very end. When I’ve laid down a good tonal foundation, I take the drawing into Photoshop to colorize it as an underpainting. In the process movie below, watch as the spacecraft gets bent and distorted and wrenched until I’m finally happy with the perspective and the design (click on the image below to see the movie):

©Todd Lockwood

 

Since the kids were the Stars of the painting, I spent the most time preparing them, from the shooting of reference to the amount of time I spent making sure they fit their descriptions and represented the story (again, click the picture to see the movie):

©Todd Lockwood

 

No one changed as much over the course of the painting as this character. Incidentally, the next two images appear here at full resolution, akin to looking at a traditional painting with a magnifying glass:

©Todd Lockwood

 

Two armored human warriors accompanied the kids on their trip to the surface. I chose to leave their helmets off, in order to see that they were not Atevi, even though in the text their helmets were on. In the movie below (and in the first movie) you can see that the presence of the warriors changed over the course of the painting. At first, the one on the right was in full light, but I realized that they were stealing too much attention from the kids, whose tale this is, really. So I moved him into shadow. I could well have done that with both of them, but in the end chose to simply put enough of the second warrior’s figure into shadow to separate him from the massed shape of the children:

©Todd Lockwood

 

Finally, observe how much time I spent getting the perspective right on the spacecraft. In this modern age, I should learn how to build my architectural elements in one of several available 3D software applications. It would save me a lot of time. And yet none of them incorporate curvilinear perspective, which is essential to my way of viewing and presenting a realistic expression of the real world in a painting. So in the end I depend on my internal software to tell me when things are right. Or “right enough.”

 

©Todd Lockwood

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