Creating a Monster

Most of the images we see are in their final state, but they don’t just happen that way-there’s a process. This post will give a basic look at the 4 main stages a piece will go through – each stage is also a potential stopping point in its own right.

1. Concept

Before sitting down, there’s a concept. This can be as simple and undescriptive as “an owl,” or it can also have a much more specific requirement to meet and the details might be a bit more cemented. For the following project, the job was for a Playstation controller to be merged with a monster (Halloween ya know). So at the time of this writing, Amnesia:Rebirth is slated to be released later in the month. I remember playing the first Amnesia game, Dark Descent, so I decided to use this.

So the image below is fairly normal, I like to write out some ideas…very much in a “write an idea on a bar napkin” style. I’ll use stick figures and such just to get a general concept down.

2. Drawing

Once the initial concept is down, I’ll get some general references so I know what I’m going for. If I’m working on a painting, I’ll do a very rough sketch – not even really a sketch, more just blocking out sections of a basic scale and form – if it’s a drawing, obviously a rough undersketch will be tightened because it’s going to be a drawing….but even that is more just marking sections as well because most of my drawing will be stippled dots in ink over the areas.

Really, at this point in a project, I’ll call it done depending on what I’m working on – like my bird series I’m doing, I think a nice black and white design looks nice, however, for this project, it’s going to need to go a bit further, so from here, we go digital.

3. Painting

I load a picture of my drawing as you see above into GIMP. GIMP is the graphical software I use – it’s more or less open source Photoshop. While I learned Photoshop starting out, I quickly and very early on decided GIMP could handle pretty much whatever I needed to do, so I am a huge fan…GIMP, Inkscape, Blender…these are without a doubt my 3 favorite programs. I digress….

So after I load it up, I do a base layer of painting and shading, add a bit of background. With my stippling, this stage we have a very comic book feel to the piece – looks good and would probably be just fine depending on the output…but for this one, since it’s for a game, we’re going to give it a little bit more…

4. A Little Polish

So in this final stage, I add more grime and give a bit more shading and color range, this helps to give a bit less of a flat feel – but with my stippling, we still get a grungy vibe I don’t want to lose – and I think it fits in perfectly with the horror theme…that’s part of why new horror films just don’t work – that graininess of Texas Chainsaw massacre, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Black Christmas…there’s one haunted house one I can never think of what it’s called and I only saw it once when I was like 9….but anyhoo…

Adding in some spittle, shine, glow, blur and for a final touch – the game logo, and voilà – all done:

So there they are, my 4 basic stages of a drawing/painting. I hope you enjoyed this quick read and if you’ve got a graphic design project or would like to buy a print, painting or drawing…well that would be fantastic and feel free to hit me at my Facebook page, Etsy, email, YouTube, and I just set up a Parler…not sure I’ll use that last one too much, but I’m there. Till next time!

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