Yesterday I finished and turned in the final project for my digital painting class. Remember the seascape with glowing coral? Well, it made a right angle turn and turned into a dragon’s cave. No, really! The finished painting looks like this:
Now how, you might ask, did I get to the dragon’s cave from this original sketch?
Well, I was zipping happily along for a couple of days, using a sea-urchin shell as the dome, painting glowing coral, and some brightly colored sea anemones. Then I went to sleep Monday night, woke up on Tuesday, and realized I had painted the most horrifyingly kitschy scene imaginable – almost as bad as those cutesy “collectible figurines”.
Here’s what it looked like on Tuesday morning:
This clearly would not do. So I tossed out everything except the concept and placement of the dome. I decided to do a sea cave, so I grabbed a photo of some lava rock, made a Photoshop brush out of it, changed the color scheme a bit, and painted this rough sketch:
I was quite pleased with my Photoshop brush – it reminded me of a coral reef. I was trying to figure who might live inside the dome, and then I thought, “Pirates!” So I made it a treasure cave:
After looking at it a bit, though, I decided that the cave blended into the background too much. Also, the pearls looked very contrived. So I dug back through my lessons to find the handout on drawing crystals, and I created a crystal cave:
I showed this to Lieven, my critique partner, and he commented that the crystal looked rather opaque, and perhaps I should reduce the opacity a bit. So I turned down the opacity and made a few more tweaks to arrive at the finished version:
You can see that in the finished painting, the dome looks more translucent (though not as much as I would like).
Anyway, the last class was yesterday afternoon. I’m sad it’s over – not only did I learn tons, but the class really pushed me to step outside of my artistic boundaries and get over the “But I can’t draw!” mindset. And, of course, the drawing was lots of fun too, and I’m definitely planning to continue.
To celebrate the ending of the class, I’ve just bought myself a fantastic new digital painting tool. It’s a Wacom 22HD drawing tablet – it acts as both a monitor and a drawing tablet, so you can “draw” directly onto the surface of the tablet. They are unspeakably expensive if purchased new, but I lucked into a used one on Craigslist for literally pennies on the dollar (from a failing startup). It’s got a big scratch down the far right side, but I think it should still be usable. Assuming it’s working or repairable, I’ll have a really nice tablet to use for my digital designs. I’ll know for sure once a replacement power cable arrives.
Meanwhile, Mike left yesterday to attend a family reunion in Illinois. Of course, since he was going to be gone for a couple of days, he needed to pack. Which, in turn, gave our noble cats the opportunity to protect his luggage. Here’s Tigress, trying to decide whether to continue defending his luggage against all comers, or to go chase a moth. Sometimes life presents us with tough choices!
Wow, how brave to start over at the last minute but your dragon cave does look good. I really thought the actually sea urchin cave was pretty spectacular too. Maybe you can use just that in another painting.