Digital Painting Process

I am leaving for my plein air road trip tomorrow, for now just finished a digital painting study and I want to share some of my thought process with you.

Here is the final image, I spent about 2-3 hours painting this.

This is the reference I used for my painting, The composition lighting and many other elements have been changed, but you can see where I drew my inspiration. 

It's important for me to not copy the reference exactly, I like to spend some time studying my reference while I am sketching but once I get into the painting process I want to put the reference away so I am free to make my own decisions.

I made two color comps which are not exactly what the final painting looks like. I always feel more comfortable when I plan through an image before actually starting the final painting. Even if it's just a mental plan, that helps me make more confident decisions and I can still improvise at any time.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about the values in this painting. From the beginning of the process I am thinking about what kind of value structure I want in my image: what direction is my light coming from? How strong is the lighting? Is it an overcast or sunny day? etc...

Basically I ask myself a lot of questions, partly because it helps me feel more familiar with the scene and partly because it opens up my curiosity and allows me to have more fun while I paint! 

If I was not having fun while painting this, there is no way I would have continued, this is my personal work and the goal is to have fun and relax.

ANYWAYS, I'm going to a live podcast taping of TAZ, this evening and I hit the road tomorrow late morning so I will talk to you then!

Love,

Nick