This post actually returns to something I've posted about before - one of Dr. Sandifer's book covers. I wrote about the cover, but I also mentioned that while the cover was done, the full illustration was not. I've rectified that over the last week, so now I can close out this chapter with a write-up. See what I did there? Chapter? See, it's a post about a book? Oh, never mind. If you need to recap about the other half of the following painting you can read about it, and the book, here.
The first thing to do was to work out how I wanted it to look. I did this by going back to the original speedpaint and layout sketch, and then doing some more work on it. This part was in Photoshop rather than ArtRage. I also used this as a test bed for some of the lighting I wanted to do. I knew I wanted the woman lit mainly by diffuse light, except for some points where the light was breaking through the leaf cover, and he was half in and out of the shade. This was enough to proceed on, but since I was busy it was a few weeks before I sat down to work on it properly.
Step one was laying down the flat values on which the rest of the painting would be built. Not very exciting, so I've skipped that here and shown the second stage, which was filling out some of the detail on the tree. Here I've also filled in some of the coverage behind the woman. I intended to do a lot more work back there when I was done, but in the end I barely touched it, as I didn't want additional detail to draw away from the woman herself.
Next was painting the rocks, which turned out to be harder than I thought in this style ( I have trouble with Rock generally - I should do some studies). I got to a point where I was happy with it though, and started on the man. I should mention that the Man is mainly based on this image, by the always incredible mjranum-stock, but I didn't adhere to it as much as I usually might, using it more as inspiration than trying to replicate it exactly. I've based speedpaints on both the photographer's work, and on this exact model before, so don't be surprised if either of those links look familiar.
Not much to add here that wouldn't equate to 'Draw the rest of the owl', so we can skip on pretty quickly.
Unlike the man, I didn't have one solid reference for the woman. I had one woman that was half a pose reference, and another two for the rest (photographed from different angles, of wildly different body types, clothed and unclothed, with different lighting), and then another handful of images as reference for her robe, none of which were remotely close to the pose or lighting.
This was a little intimidating, but I thought I'd give it my best shot anyway. You'll note that her leg changed angles between this image and the next - I realised that her foot was at completely the wrong angle for her leg here, and it was easier to redo the leg than work out how to repaint her foot (I hate doing feet). The man also got mostly finished here - The predominant thing of note was that I shortened his neck from the layouts as it looked a bit odd in actual practice.
More owl (no actual owl, obviously, though in retrospect that would have been cool). Her head and hair were painted with no reference at all though, hopefully that's not completely obvious.
Originally I was going to be quite careful with the sun dappling, making each patch match the contour and shading of the surface the sun was hitting. After a couple of them I realised you couldn't really tell, so I just splodged on some brighter areas, and that more or less did the trick. I'm halfway through doing the bloke's head here so it does rather look like someone just threw scrambled egg at him. I also refined the end of the stump on the tree, right above the man's head. A subtle thing really, but it makes a difference.
After that, to reach the initial image in this post, I finished up the sun dappling, refined the rocks immediately in front of his feet, added strappy sandals to both of them and arm jewelry to her, added a new tree, and some branches to the right of the main tree trunk, refined her hair and the belts, painted his staff and signed it. That sounds like a lot, but really it went by quickly enough that I didn't save an in between image other than the tree appearing in the background.
The lighting is probably a little off, as for the sun to have them in the shade the way I've depicted you would either have the sun higher in the sky than the way the reflection appears on the rocket, or there would be greenery poking in along the top edge of the painting. That would change the composition a fair bit though, so I'll go with the questionable lighting for the overall effect (and I'll bet until I mentioned it you didn't notice, and now you have you can't unsee it - bugger).
Finally, here's 4 closeups of the final piece, that you can better understand how loosely the whole thing was painted. This is similar to the Rodeo Girl I did before Christmas, and obviously the previous part of this painting I'd done for the cover. It's quite a different look from the style I usually use, and actually takes longer even though it looks less refined, because I don't yet know exactly what the result will be when I make a stroke - I like it though, so it will probably join my list of things I do on occasion when the intended result best suits it.