First off, here is the background story about this piece (just copy/pasted from what I originally wrote on FB).
This painting has been through some crazy stuff.
I started it back last November, right before/around when I was hired as a temp at Turbine. My new schedule had me working on it off and on for those first few months. Since then it has seen me in a full time position at Turbine, two moves... well, if you know me you'll know that the last 8 or 9 months have been insane. I think I could effectively say this piece might sum up 2012 in terms of time span and events.
For a while I was lucky to sneak in 30min at lunch, an hour after work- but overall not much more than an hour or two each month, with some random spurts of time. It's kind of disgusting for me how long this took, as someone who is used to finishing a piece in a few days to two weeks (although personal pieces can drag on sometimes since they often do get put on hold, but never this long!).
It was originally started as a MtG portfolio piece, but I also wanted to give off the feeling of power, particularly that of 'man' through nature.
Needless to say, I am at the point where I can't stand looking at this piece or having it sit in the back of my mind any longer, so I am calling it done and moving on! It was a good learning experience, and I think accomplished what it needs to for me right now.
Next up, I thought I would share some step-by-step of working through this piece.
I ended up doing a lot of thumbnails- more than I show on the sheet. I was working out a number of different ideas at the time, so I put them on one long sheet and let one flow into the other. I think what you are seeing here is what I ended up running by my critgroup to see what they thought.
I took some reference, and developed the sketch further. I ended up finding some really cool fish skeletons online, which really inspired the faces.
I actually took the black and white thumbnail and just copied it onto a fresh sheet, and traced over it. Sometimes I think a bit of the movement from the original sketch can get lost, and I wanted to try to make sure I kept the placement I'd liked from the thumbnail.
After that, it was a matter of roughing out the color with a multiply layer, and then just digging in and painting the piece.
A lot of pieces get moved or kind of develop themselves along the way for me, even though I do generally keep pretty strictly to the original composition. But bits like how the roots would actually twine together, how the ground plane was going to work, and how the magic was going to look were all things that sort of developed organically. So many elements were a new challenge in this piece, that I think it led to a lot of repainting- but the extra development time here in order to learn is something I will have stored away for a future painting. I did the magic last, although I did have an overlay and hard light layer with it roughed in which I toggled on and off. The reason was so I wouldn't feel hampered painting around it.
I think finishing this piece lifted a burden off my shoulders. I'm really looking forward to the next pieces down the pipeline- and maybe in another month or two I'll take the plunge and seek out some freelance work to add to my evening schedule, although that is still to be decided. =)