"Anima Sola" for Enchanted Visions Project

I got  this one done well ahead of the deadline for a change! *w00t*  I'm happy that it was finished.  And as difficult as it was to get myself going at the beginning, I rather like the way this one turned out.  Although I'll admit that it's one of those pieces that I can't seem to stare at it for too long before feeling inexplicably uneasy.  There's something about the eyes when I look at them at full size...  Just disturbing...

Here's a walk-through, or step by step WIP shots that I saved along the way.

This is the prepped file before I get ready to color in Corel Painter.  Basically it's a scan of my pencil rough, adjusted for brightness and contrast, then cleaned (removing the dust specks that get picked up by the scanner one speck at a time), then given tint by adjusting the red green blue balance of the file.  I like to start with the light brown "paper".

After I open my prepped file in Corel Painter, I create a layer for the initial 'watercolor wash'.  All this was just splattered on all on a single layer in dark brown and red, just to kind of map out the colors.  On a separate layer, I painted the facial detail of the mascara smears (uhh, whatever those dripping black is...).  The tool used for this stage is 'diffuse water', 'salt', and 'new simple water'.

Adding more colors on another yet another layer.  Poppy details and introducing a bit of yellow to the whole thing to imply the "fire" element of the traditional "Anima Sola" imagery.  I add another layer for highlights at the very top of the layer stack.  All of my highlights were added with the tool "sharp chalk" set somewhat grainy.

Working my way around the central figure by adding more color.  Everything is really loose and rough, all quickly worked.  This style of my illustration is completely different from the "neat and tidy" approach I use in many of my pieces.  I want things to be quite sketchy when I work in this style.

The final stage involved a bit of texture adding to the upper left and lower right.  I find rusty paint or old plaster wall type textures found at CGTextures.com quite useful in my illustrations.   They have both paid and free membership and it is a wonderful resource for illustrators, game developers, etc.

Here's a closeup of her face.  The eyes are quite haunting.  The fact she has a neutral expression, to me, is far more disturbing than if she had a pained expression (That would indicate she is still feeling something at least.), but here she looks beyond all... and maybe not in the good way. ^^;

And here's a closer look at the texture at the lower right.  It's actually a photo of a wall with rust stains.  I love the effect it gives the whole image.

A look at the upper left.  Subtle texture.  Once again, of rusty wall photo being incorporated.  Because rust and peeling walls generally convey the impression of decay and age, I find them useful in my images that deals with dark moods.

Poppies, strangely enough, seem to be a recurring theme in my work without my actively thinking to add them in my images.  I've drawn them in happy fantasy scenes with butterflies and a fairy, and they've appeared now twice in darker themed pieces.  I am sure I will see more poppies in the future.  I love their dramatic color combinations and form as well as their associated meanings across many cultures.


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