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Griffins, Invisibility Cloaks and Art

By 16:55:00 , , , ,

 Are you getting sick of posts about The Songkeeper  Chronicles yet? I promise the next one won't be.... but the one after that probably will! But this one is mostly about how I drew this fan Art anyway.

The scene is from the same place as this quote, quite near the very beginning of the book. I just liked that quote so much, and I wanted to draw a griffin, so I did. (I mean seriously who does not want to draw a griffin, if you can't have a live one of your own then a cool drawing is better than nothing!)

“Hurry, aye, but hurry where?" Amos halted midstride and spread his arms wide to encapsulate the view. The Vituain desert surrounded them, vast in its nothingness.

~ Gillian Bronte Adams, Songkeeper

 I always start with a sketch, which is the trickiest part. I google pictures of people in the positions I want them in and even griffins, or if say I can't find a photo of a griffin. Apparently they are very hard to get a photograph of. A mixture of a lion and an eagle will also do. After lots of sketching and erasing, I scan the sketch into the computer and open Photoshop. This time I wanted a more watercolour or painted look so I picked a brush that looked a bit like a paint brush and most of the time I had the transparency of that brush around 20% but sometimes 9% for really light colours I only just wanted to see and another time 40% for the first layer on the rocks. Oh and 100% for the base of the background. 

The base of the background is also the base colour of the Griffin. Because even though he had a lot of layers of colour there were still some places he was transparent. I made so many layers and changed colours slightly, lots and the fact that the brush was transparent allowed the colours to mix and blend. 

As with any drawing the most important part is the shading. The colours being lighter where the sun would hit and gradually darker in places where there should be more shade. While 'painting' the colour I thought constantly about where the sun was coming from. And of course when drawing you have the power to determine where the sun comes from, so make good use of the power! Don't forget to add actual shadows too.... and lots and lots of layers, don't be afraid to experiment moving the layers around trying different ones on top.

Though if you use a sketch like I do you better keep that as the top layer and on 'Multiply', because if it were set on normal.... then you could only see the sketch.... but the cool thing about the different effects you can have layers appearing on is you can just make all that white disappear completely. 

The skyline was not working so I added a bit of a coming sand storm which happens later in the book. I used the same brush to do that part but a different brush to add the more textured part of the sand, again with multiple layers of colour at different transparencies. 

The rocks were also described in the book so I put a few of them in. And then along came Amos. Again a different drawing than the griffin... probably a good thing too because I drew him about three times before I was happy... before Jane was happy.

Now to the inadvisability cloak part.... I just happened to paint his cloak last and I had to save a picture of it because it looked like he was wearing an invisibility cloak! See it has turned the colour of the sand... If only you could pull things out of drawings and into real life.... 

But since Amos did not actually have an invisibility cloak in the story, at least not that he told anyone about, I had to paint it too. I thought I was done but Jane informed me that you could not see his dirk, so I fixed that by making a slight bulge under his cloak and a bit of darker brown. So just letting you know there is a dirk under there.

So here is the finished piece of art: Gundhrold and Amos hurrying across the desert.

“Hurry, aye, but hurry where?" 

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  1. Nice! Love the colors. I really enjoyed the progression and how you described your process. I'm fairly new to photoshop and digital drawing programs, so it interests me that it's your go-to!

    1. Well I have Photoshop for my photography editing so I figured I might as well use it for some other things too.

  2. He he, I love the invisibility cloak! :)