I finally have a decent image of a painting I finished at the end of the year. In my rush to get it shipped to the client, I didn’t look closely enough at the photographs I took to notice the glare from the painting’s texture until after I had already sent it off. Luckily, the client was able to send me some photos (thanks Bonnie!) that I composited with mine to eliminate most of the glare.
The commission was to do a painting of one or more ships from the game Star Citizen. The client was giving it as a gift to her favorite star citizen. Though there was nothing special about the way it was painted (oil on panel), the challenge for me lie in drawing and painting mechanical components with which I was not familiar. I did manage to find some rough 3D models, and there were images on the game’s website, but I felt like there were a lot of details I was missing. The client and I agreed in the beginning that a little bit looser retro vibe would be nice, even though most of the images that I could find from the game tended to be more sharp computer-generated-realism. I looked at a lot of artwork from John Berkey and John Harris for inspiration. Both those artists tend to hint at details while actually being pretty vague about the nuances of their space ships. I really like this, but when I got started myself, I found I had a hard time abandoning what details I’d uncovered when I was supposed to be painting a specific and concretely designed ship.
Don’t worry, it still didn’t come out super detailed.
I also ran into the issue of all the game images showing this ship with a shinyish metallic finish. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be possible to do, but considering the time-frame, the budget and the scale of the painting, mocking up enough shiny reference to paint it believably in a relatively small space just wasn’t in the cards. So we stuck with the retro vibe and the ship got more of a Star Wars, or original Battlestar Galactica paint job.
Other than that, it was mostly the usual sketching, approving, drawing, approving, painting.
The thumbnail turned value comp above, and the final drawing below. Between the two we discussed and decided to add another planet in the back, an element that had been included in one of the other thumbnails.
Some steps in the painting process. I kind of like the empty planet.
Above is the final painting, but with glare from the surface texture visible, despite my best efforts to fix it. And below, the final image with reduced glare and proper values on the top half.