So I am back working on the starfish, already making some errors and learning some tricks. I have made some progress but that isn’t the reason for this post. I wanted to talk to you about how hard it can sometimes be to work on detailed paintings and the fear that can shut you down as bad as any writers block. This project in particular has significance with respect to the hard shell pieces on the fleshy starfish skin. I have worked on a similar combination of textures and detail once before, only finishing it through sheer stubbornness.
This is my piece “Barnacles and Butterflies” that I did several years ago. This is the only piece I have done in magic marker and for very good reason. This took several years, off and on, to complete because of the difficulty created by the need to individually detail each shell bit on every barnacle, as well as, the incorrect-ability of any errors made during the process. I would work for a while until my doubts and fears ate away at my ability to continue. The further I got the more I would push myself to get it finished, which led to more worries about short cutting the work or pushing so hard that I made an irreparable mistake. With this much detail, the chances of me starting over again where non-existent. To top it off, I was already doubting the painting because the shell parts were really a creamy pearl color that the markers could not produce. However, I loved the idea so much I had to complete it.
All of this was stuck in my head as I contemplated the starfish. However, c’mon, it is just so cool. I think that is part of the reason I took a break. Although doing this image on the computer has taken away most of my fears and doubts, there is still the sheer repetitiveness of recreating all the shell bits. I wanted to share this with you. I know some people look at artist’s work and think how easy it seems for them to accomplish. Heck, I even look at some peoples videos on their process with envy at the ease, but keep this post in mind when next you look at some highly detail artwork. The artist may have sweated blood over each and every decision. In truth, that is why the Nautilus and Sea Urchin works are currently stalled.
Well folks, the ride may have been a little rough but for all intents and purposes, this project is done. I will always see something I could have done better but for the most part, I am happy with the results. If anyone is interested in having this on a shirt, let me know in the comments and I will see what I can do to make that happen. For prints, please go to my deviantart page listed on the left side of this blog.
Finally completed the drink to my liking and tied it into the overall painting with a tentacle wrapped around it. Please zoom in to take a look at all the detail I had so much fun placing. You can even see through the glass to the tentacle wrapped behind it, which is a fun and easy trick to do with layers. Essentially the glass was transparent enough that when I painted the tentacle on a layer beneath it, the tentacle shows through. It is like a real glass that way. Here is the actual glass painting I did on a separate canvas then cut and pasted into the main work.
We are getting near the rumway … ahem, I mean runway. I have been doing some more work on the cocktail and starting to finally like what I see. I have a test fitting with the pilot finally moved to where he should be and man I am glad this is digital. I found out I slipped up on the “Bone Pilot” title and had done some toning work on that layer. When I combined all the layers but that one, I had bits left behind when I moved that new layer. Fortunately I was able to separate those bits from the title and create a new layer that I connected to the pilot painting before merging. Everything is in its place. I also added the tag “Now serving cocktails” line in blue just to the lower left of the painting. A final piece of inspiration came to me tonight. I was planning on placing a cocktail umbrella in a tentacle like he was removing it for a drink. However, I have decided to make it look like he was flinging it aside in his haste to get drinking, maybe have some pieces of fruit and droplets flying through the air. Anyway, I think the gear are coming down, so I hope to see you soon at the airport.
Here is where I am heading with the painting. I plan to bring Bone Pilot down lower just to balance things out better and I will wrap a tentacle around the glass, which is not finished yet. I am also thinking of having a cocktail umbrella too, possibly in another tentacle. All in all, I am getting close to completion of this on.
Here is another Bone Pilot update staring your favorite squid mouthed skull. I took some time today to work out placing text and shaping it. Did not come out completely like I wanted (less curve in the words) but I am not totally displeased. Also, I wanted to see if I could paint on the letters to see if I could make them 3-d and maybe old like the skull. Not sure if I will stick with this color or not. The image is more detailed as well. Let me know what you guys think.
This is how tenacious some of these ideas are for me. The imagery of my 25 words or less post stuck in my mind so much that I had to attempt to begin bringing the story to life, what I saw, the motions, the power. This is very rough and my very first attempt that I can remember of trying to set up a comic page. As I said before, my idea is for a short one off comic basically visualizing the images that ran through my head as I worked on that singular sentence. This page is basic in layout and intentionally vertical because I want to iterate the idea of the being falling straight down, no horizontal motion. Future pages may have more unique layouts. How I am going to achieve the washes for the colors, I don’t know. This is all uncharted territory for me. I may even revive my patreon page to gain funding to bring this and other dreams to reality. I hope some of you are interested enough to join me on this journey. So many ideas and not enough time.