jeudi 14 janvier 2010

Between Shelley and Lovecraft

Two big myths I shouldn't even dare to illustrate, me, little insect I am. See, I am fond of traditional arts. To me, nothing can replace the feeling of paper and pencils. It's truly something you feel in your body, just like dancing, singing or doing any art. I wouldn't be able to draw directly on a computer, not having originals on paper... it's priceless to feel the thousand different ways the pencil have to touch the paper, the sounds they make together, the smell of paper. Oh and to ink with a brushpen is simply a great sensation that a graphic tablet will never be able to replace. The pressure of the hairs against the paper is something you need to control in real life, not virtually. Even Wacom can't perfectly imitate reality.

However, all this babbling to say : the emotions I get with traditional stuff are simply fantastic but these days I'm feeling really, really good with Photoshop. I feel comfortable, there's some kind of routine, some things just come by themselves naturally : preparing the mille-feuilles of layers, for example. But I also found some exciting new tricks in only a few days and this is terribly pleasant.

I explained the drawing itself in this post. At first I wanted to go for warm tones, yellow, orange, all the colors I prefer because I did this illustration to explore the oriental side of the myth. It could have been yet another genie in the desert. But it was too necessary to use blueish tones for Cthulhu, he's a water divinity ; and with Yog-Sothoth in the background, it had to take place in the outer space. I wasn't sure I would do something interesting with this blue-green colors, I hesitated, wanted to include purple, green and a bit of yellow and I found the right layers to do this so the result is much better than what I expected.
I also used a brighter effect on the background, that kind of halo surrounding Al Hazred and the tentacles ; I rarely use so contrasted effects but it suited the goth fantasy atmosphere.
In the last post I said I wanted to add esoteric symbols but the composition, in my opinion, didn't need to be more complicated. The tentacles and the arched body already have complementary and opposed directions, it would have been weird to create yet another flow with symbols. But I might make an alternate version one day, just to try...

Drawing previously explained in this post. Before starting to color this picture, I was thinking about it, mentally taking notes of what I should do, when I thought about something I had read a long time ago -years ago, actually-. When I was a kid my parents had a lot of books about Impressionism, their favorite painter was Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Of course, as a lot of artists, Renoir wasn't really appreciated when he was still alive and I once read a really mean critique of one of his contemporaries that said about his famous bathers something like "women at bath are not supposed to look like that, he marks them with spots of blue, green and purple, I feel like I'm looking at rotting flesh". I totally disagree with this critique, I love Renoir's paintings but it inspired me for this piece. The color of his skin was created by using a bunch of different subtle colors and also highly inspired by De Niro's skin in Kenneth Branagh's movie. The 'delicious' color of the flesh that spent too much time in water.
The roses weren't complicated, they simply came up just as I imagined. Baby pink, they are sweet, pretty, far away from the traditional bright red old-school roses. They would be perfect for a marriage illustration or something like that.
Surprisingly, I had a hard time with the background. I had made a very pretty combination of textures but it was too weird with the cartoony drawing style and it took me a while to find the good balance but I got it the way I wanted. End of story. Thanks Mrs Shelley ! :}

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