Saturday, August 10, 2013

Frank - A Fantasy Character Illustration

The following painting is for Bevan McGuiness a fantasy writer who has published several books including Scarred Man. The painting is based on a scene in his upcoming book depicting one of the main characters - a girl called Frank - seen from the view point of another character;


 " To distract him, he focused on Frank. She was floating across his ragged, dying lawn towards the front door like a beautiful black cloud. At the door, she looked around, her hair flowing out with the motion of her head like a black silk waterfall, catching the sunlight and glowing with luxuriant health. That perfect, wide smile lit up her face, crinkling the corners of her eyes, making the intricate pattern that extended out like red and black branches move as if in a light breeze. Billy was utterly entranced. 
How could anyone so perfect love a big lumbering oaf like me?  
It was about then Billy realized that his perception of Frank ‘floating’ across the lawn was not the hyperbole of a man in love. She had actually floated. Her feet were hovering just off the ground. He could clearly see the gap between the soles of her black Doc Martens and the wooden planks of his verandah. Billy shook his head, seeking to shift the thickness that was rapidly filling his mind, muffling sounds and blurring his vision. His balance shifted, sending him staggering sideways to land heavily on the side of the VW. He grasped at the car, trying not to fall, but only managed to inadvertently slam his injured right hand onto the steel. A cry of pain, quickly bitten off, escaped his lips, changing Frank’s expression from happily smiling to instant concern. She ran back across the lawn towards him, but Billy’s mind was so full, so muffled, that he could only barely make her out."

Usually artists prefer not to show their mistakes - it's hard enough to show pictures we made that we think are ok! This time I thought I'd post the photos that show my mistakes. One of the important lessons I learned while doing this painting is - even when you think you have ruined something don't give up!

Enjoy :)

At this point I showed the image to a couple of people and after a bit of feedback I decided her expression was just not quite right... I scrubbed her face away - and freaked out when I found that the paper just wasn't holding the paint...

After a couple of days of thinking and sketching another version on a bigger piece of paper, I came back to the original painting to see if I could re-paint the face...

And here she is - Frank - I changed the colour of the eye makeup from red and black to turquoise and dark blue to match the colouring of the overall image. I was really glad to be able to complete the painting and send it off to the author Bevan McGuiness. Check out his books and like him on facebook to keep up to date with the progress of his books, he is currently in negotiations with Harper Collins for getting the first 2 Frank books published. He also just told me recently that he just signed a contract for a mainstream novel based in WA. It’s to be published with Satalyte Press and should be out early next year. It’s called The Only Evil.

And for those with sharp eyes - yes there is a watermark in the paper, you can just make it out underneath her skirt, it says Fabriano Artist [Paper]. This can be removed in photoshop (thank God!).

Reference Credits;

Cara Smith
House and sky photos taken by me.
You can find the rest of the images I referenced here

If any of you have any questions you'd like to ask like techniques, commissions or collaborations you can contact me via facebook or leave me a comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. No SPAMMERS thanks :)