Over the next three weeks I’m going to be posting some fun digital images that I’ve been playing around with. This week’s image is a digital painting I made of a spacecraft called “The Razor Crest” from Disney’s Mandalorian series. I like the shape of this one and the engine configuration reminds quite a lot of the “Serenity” from Joss Weedon’s Firefly series.
Here’s the way I painted it…
I began with some basic shapes and a horizon line.
Then I redrew the spacecraft more carefully and added some details.
Next I got rid of the basic sketch I started with and added some terrain. The space ship was drawn from a couple of printed references, but the terrain I made up from scratch.
Then I began to paint. My basic process is to fill in large areas of tone to give some depth to the main shape in my painting. Then I gradually divide this simple shape into more detailed shapes. First I put in some basic background tones.
Below I’ve begun work on the spacecraft, just giving it some basic form.
I didn’t put enough darker values into the basic form so I added them here (see below), particularly below the wings. Although I used a couple of reference images for the ship, I wanted my light to come from a different angle so I had to see the highlights and shadows in my mind’s eye.
Then I added some specular highlights to the engines and windows. (These are direct reflections of bright light on shiny surfaces.)
My next stage was to bring in some colour. I wanted to use a restricted colour palette, which is something the cinematographer, Greig Fraser, seems to do on the Mandalorian show itself. I went for orange/yellow/brown offset against hints of blue/purple in the metal of the Razor Crest and in the shadows. This is a fairly basic complementary colour scheme.
My final job with this painting was to pull it into Photoshop and adjust my levels.
I paint digitally on a Galaxy S4 tablet, but I often do this in bed. I like to listen to a good book while I’m drawing. It’s really relaxing and is great for diverting my mind away from any pain issues. However, if I am in bed during the evening my tablet automatically adjusts the screen to darken it and reduce any blue light. This is really helpful because it stops the light from the device keeping me awake for hours after I have finished. It does mean though, that my levels are usually way out. If I was working on a traditional painting this would be a big problem because the whole paniting would need reworking to correct the values in good light. With a digital painting though it’s not too much of an issue – I just have to make some adjustments at the end and Photoshop can easily handle that.
So here is my final digital painting.
I like the overall setting and the sweet comic feel it has, but if I redid it now I would add more detail to the middle section of the background. It could do with some rocks and gravel and general marks. I think I would also try to work in some reflections in the lighter sand the ship is standing on, since then it would read as wet ground which might give the background more interest for the viewer. The panel took about one and a half hours to complete.