Christmas Concept Art (With Lighting Effects)

Christmas Concept Art

Tis the season for Christmas Concept Art. The assignment I gave myself was to design a Christmas scene with a focus on textures and lighting effects also ensuring that I divided the foreground, middle, and backgrounds appropriately. This piece was created with Clip Studio Paint and is almost 43 layers…Yikes! That’s a lot for me.

What did I do first?

The first thing I did was browse through internet to find some references of Christmas scenes, winter backgrounds, and some cool colored environments….brr. After getting a general idea for what I wanted to create, I sketched out my different sections using a selection tool this time. I used to just pencil the whole design out using a G-Pen or brush tool but the selection tool saved me a lot of time. I also used reduced the opacity each time that I went further into the background.

Next Steps

I built the entire scene using only a grayscale and focused entirely on where the lights and darks needed to be along with any other atmospheric dispersion. Spending the most time on this part really helped me identify any composition errors, tangents (where an element touches something else create depth confusion), and balance.

Coloring

During the coloring phase, I used a lot of different layer settings. I used Hue, Color, and Overlay layers the most. I found that I could quickly play around with different color schemes without having to erase a lot. Gradient maps also saved me a ton of time combined with the air brush selection tool combo.

Finishing Touches

I used additional gradient maps to darken specific areas and glow layers to add some special effects. Mote time was spent than normal zooming around the design and adding thoughtful detail. I actually saved my progress, walked away for a day, and then returned to it to make a lot of corrections that I was missing during my initial phases. Lots of last minute tweaks.

To get the effect that you see in this design, I used a dark blue exclusion layer over the whole piece. This really added a nice level of nighttime darkness which I erased back out where light would naturally fall. Once I did all that and was happy, I exported the version with the exclusion layer as a .jpg and then reimported it into Clip Studio Paint. After extending my canvas, I dropped the other version next to the first one I did so you can see the differences side by side.

Special Thanks.

I have been studying a lot of techniques offered by Trent Kamingua. His courses have helped me to identify a lot of the flaws that I have missed in my own work and really helps you understand the basics. Simplicity is where it starts. Too complex, and you drown in your own process. I am no way an instant professional now that I’ve practiced these skills. It’s something you have to do every day.

Courses which helped me the most are.

Landscape Painting Workshop Lessons 1-10 (gumroad.com)

This one really showed me how to simplify environments…and when he says don’t just jump to the colorization video, he means it. I did that. You really have to practice how to read a reference.

Diablo 3 Environment Concept Art Workshop “Overgrown Dungeon” (gumroad.com)

This was just really cool. I loved playing the Diablo games and never knew he was one of the artists…wow. Anyway, another good set of techniques to help understand how elements are supposed to work together.

Hearthstone Illustration Workshop (gumroad.com)

I enjoyed the thumbnailing process in this course. This is useful in building some ideas to get started.

Mountain Lair of the Wizard King

Lair

Lair of the Wizard King

stony

The Lair of the Wizard King sits far into the mountains. As the Wizard King plans his next move from the safety of his sanctum, he is protected from almost every direction. The tower is built into the side of a mountain and was once owned by the local dwarves that lived in the region. Once they regroup, they will take back their home and remove the wizard from his stolen home. The story continues later so stay tuned for more.

If you enjoyed this, please check out these other posts.

Wizard Mountain

Wizard Spire

Pilgrim in the Woods

Pilgrim in the Woods visiting a Thanksgiving Dinner near you.

pilgrim

 

Pilgrim in the woods is visiting a Thanksgiving dinner near you. Halloween is over but are all the spooks really gone? The ghosts aren’t screeching and the werewolves aren’t yelping but the woods is not empty of danger.

The Pilgrim

How is it this pilgrim is here and what does he want? It’s been many long years since the Puritans first came to America and shared the first Thanksgiving. Was someone left behind or is this would be wanderer plagued with unfinished business? Time will tell when the truth is finally uncovered. I could write horror stories all year round. My goal this year is to come up with a horror idea that ties in with every major holiday. I don’t know if I will ever write a full story or not but ideas are where more ideas come from. Let me know if you have any special requests out there.

About this Design

I hope you are all enjoying my latest design. Please let me know what you think by commenting on this post or dropping a note through a form.

I used 13 different layers to design this scene. I didn’t start with a pencil sketch. In fact, I clicked on the oil paint tool and went right to work painting out the scene. The scene background was painted with the oil paint flat brush tool. The digital oils provided a nice blending affect to build the background just like playing with Play dough. I alternated shades and used the blending tool as well to get the lighting effect I wanted.

Tips and Tricks

Below are some screenshots of layers that I used. The first one is a 33% opacity layer that I drew the trees on in the distance along with some shrubs. I used a very light brown within the pallet that I was working with. This effect created some of the white noise that comes with designing wooded areas. A G-Pent was all I needed to design the trees. A darker bleed tool brush was used for the shrubs. I like to keep things murky and then pull the details out.

Background

background

 

This next section is of just the trees themselves. See how they are on their own layer? I can manipulate the depth of the piece easier this way and control the highlights and shadows without creating digital mud. Using the selection tool helps to keep the overspray from going out of control. I still have a little. Through color discipline practice, it becomes easier to paint in this fashion. The airbrush highlight and shadow tools create nice textures on the tree. I selected where the light was coming from and then I just stayed consistent until I got the trees completed. Additional texture was created by using a darker pencil to enhance the bark.

Foreground Trees

 

As I go over each part of the tree, I can slowly pull out the natural texture of the tree along with other minor details such as the roots and growth defects in the tree that make it look more interesting.

I used the ink pen tool to design the Pilgrim and then I sketched out lightly what I wanted and then filled it in. I already knew that I was going to use a silhouette so I didn’t worry about every detail with the character.  Extra grass created the mired affect. The woodlands known to be wet.

The Pilgrim Design

 

I used the polygon line tool to detail the parts of his outfit that I felt viewers would need to see to understand he is a pilgrim. I used Google to find a some good ideas for what I wanted the pilgrim to look like. Again, not a lot of serious detail required. Using my G-Pen with white pigment, I colored in some wrinkles and added some buttons. If I did my job well enough, you can tell that it’s a pilgrim.

Some additional details I added were the sun beams shining through. The line tool is awesome to get this detail. I changed the opacity on the beams so they look more transparent and played around with the color. True yellow just wasn’t covering it.

I designed the bridge with just blocks of grey matter that I blended together. I used references for this too because I just couldn’t picture the bridge the way I wanted in my head alone.

Summary

That is all for tonight. If I left some things out that you may want to know more of, please ask. I am always happy to help everyone out.  Also check out my book. You can find it here. Amazon Prime holders can get it for free. It is available in hard copy and E-book format. The book has a lot of these types of tutorials designed to help you come up with design ideas.

 

The Concept Art Idea Book

Concept Art Idea Book

For a limited time only you can download for FREE some original artwork from my new book called The Concept Art Idea Book. You can get both Wizard Spire and Space Station in both Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint formats to use as a companion with my new book.

You can find my book here and on Amazon.

 

Vacation Day 3

First daytime rain we have had since vacation started…still very beautiful here. From my vantage point I was very easily able to capture the falling raindrops from the evesdrop. They were falling in sets of three and four at a time. You would have thought that they had rehearsed it.

The perspective angles here are quite amazing. All of the nooks and breaks of the building line structure provide quite the inspiration for city scapes with character.

A little hard to see here but the diagonal fall of the rain looks like a filter in Clip Studio Paint. The storm has picked up a bit but the falling drops could be recreated using the blood spatter tool with a transparent color of sorts against a darker sky. This is something I will have to try after we get back…alas no laptops came out on vacation.

Vacation Day 1

I am out on the beach today refocusing my creative energy and catching up on some long overdue blog reading and writing.

If you haven’t seen my blog yet, it’s here.

Please check it out. 

  • How does it look?
  • How easy is it to like and follow?
  • I think I have some plugin conflicts. Let me know what you think.
  • What woukd you like to we more of?

 Hope to see some comments and likes!

Swamp Tree Explained

[YouTube_WD id=5 item=3]

Good evening everyone,

I hope you all enjoy my latest video. I wanted to share my lastest piece with you. I call it Swamp Tree. I use Clip Studio Paint as my main drawing platform. It was inspired by some trees that grow near where we live. I thought that using its basic design and adding a little imagination to it might give it more of a haunted look to it. I enjoy using cross hatching techniques along with ink washes for the background which help to create the illusion of depth as you look out into the distance. The brush choices of Clip Studio Paint made it easy to detail the texture of the bark as well as some work on the grassy bushes.

I hope you enjoy and I look forward your comments.