by David Finley
Hey Scofflaws! Today, I'm going to show you a step by step look at one of my latest pieces, 'Trusty, the Venerable Archer'.
It all starts with the sketch. This is an unassuming character, who has an appearance that belies his incredible skill with the bow, so I wanted to make him, long, lanky, and slightly flighty. His big nose and mustache dominate his face, and give him a slightly humorous appearance.
I gave him fine leather shoes, accessories, and a hat. His coat is trimmed and finely sewn, and there is decoration on his belt buckle. He's not filthy rich Lord, but his skill as an archer has earned him a considerable amount of coin over the years.
Next, I prepared the image for colors. First, I layered a light green background behind him. It's always a good idea to lay some kind of color behind your character before you start coloring, because a white background will affect your eye's perception of color differently. I've also tented the shade lines on his nose a rose hue.
In the next stage, I put down flat versions of the colors down as a base and guide. The deep crimson adds a fine and striking flair to his appearance that suggests there might be slightly more to this silly looking old man if you take the time to look. The cool blue-grey leather contrasts the crimson nicely.
I also covered his cape with a scanned burlap texture, and his bow has a cut wood texture overlayed on it.
I then painted in a nice background for our archer to stand in so he wouldn't be floating in space. The composition is pretty simple with some rolling hills that form a compositional "x" right on our character. Our archer is the focus, so we want all the compositional lines pointing at him. The tower on the right, and the tree on the left form a visual parenthesis around the central figure.
I used a blue-gold-pink Rococo color scheme to give the character a romantic feel. The feel of the piece really took shape here.
Admittedly, I cheated with the tree. It's from a photo.
In the final stage, I added tones, highlights, and shadows to the figure.
It's important to note that human skin has a slightly translucent element to it so I painted blues and reds underneath his skin before adding flesh tones.
So, there you have it. I hope this inside look at my process helps some of you out there.
Happy drawing, Scofflaws!