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Glasgow, United Kingdom
An illustrator and games artist living and working in Scotland. I have various hobbies: coding, travel, art and games; and I enjoy writing about them.

20 February 2014

Two Sisters

This is a commission for the mad talented film maker Meng Ong who is making an indie film based on the Legend of the White Snake, a Chinese fairy tale, which I urge you to read. It's actually pretty interesting.

So as usual I start with research. I looked at Chinese operas based on the story, I looked at film productions, and generally Chinese themed paintings. Great help was Pinterest. I searched for atmospheric images of Shanghai, chinese street fashion, shrines and monasteries, fairy tale illustration and so on. I spent a good 3 or 4 hours absorbing all these images like a sponge until I felt comfortable working with the subject matter.

Next came the thumbnails. Probably not enough and in retrospect, I realise now that exploring the image would have helped a lot.

These are the final four that were selected to be worked on a bit more. These are the ones I first showed to the client. The client wanted something to do with German Expressionism and sent me a Nosferatu poster as a reference. So I looked at Mike Mignola's stuff, since he does so much work with fairy tales, and tried to nail that high contrast look.

We decided on number four, but without the contrasting background. so I did a more detailed sketch, still going with that dark German Expressionist look Mike Mignola popularized in comics not so long ago.

Unfortunately here we had quite a drastic direction change. The client felt that this is too dark and moody for what he is making so we were going to move more towards Pixar look. I was completely out of my depth here because I've never drawn or was much interested in cartoons and had no idea how to achieve this look. But we worked with it and after some back and forth we finally achieved something we both agreed on.

Here is the final result.

I understand that this is very similar to How to Draw and Own picture out on the internet somewhere but the process is exactly the same as in above. Make a black and white painting, add layers and effects to colour it in.

Thanks for reading!