Painting Process - Cyberpunk Painting 001

I'm going to break down some of the steps in creating one of my recent works, 'Cyberpunk Painting 001'. This is a rough guide to the process, nothing as in-depth as a video work-in-progress (of which I am wanting to do more of in the future), but just showing a bit of the work involved.

I start with the basic illustration of the character. In this case, I had been thinking about working with some sort of energy-filled glass structure on the head and shoulders, as opposed to the all-metal and lights of the previous robot designs I had been working on, so that informed a lot of the initial design. I also knew I wanted to have wires coming down from behind the robot figure.

The various colours here don't represent the final colours in any way on the piece - instead, they mark off different pieces of the robot structure and that they are each on separate layers. Essentially, I create this form using colours that will in no way be similar to the final version to remind myself that I still haven't painted those parts of the figure.

Starting in on the background. I had a rough idea for a horror-style apocalyptic cityscape, and just started playing with light and shadow to see where it would lead me. The figure placement in the page, as well as the position of the hand in the upper-right of the page, indicated that the negative space in the lower-right of the page should be dealt with, hence the large light source there.

When in doubt - zombies! Or some sort of shambling group, anyway.

Starting in on painting the metal. I was thinking of a gold plating to the metal, but wasn't entirely sold on it yet. Since the background was mostly cool colours, however, I knew I wanted her to have a warm tone to her, so starting with gold worked best.

Much more of the figure being modelled, and already I'm starting to tweak her overall colour scheme.

All of the metal is modelled here. It always looks a bit matte at this stage, as most of the 'shine' on my metal painting comes during the final stages when I'm applying special effects layers (typically labelled 'fx 01', 'fx 02' and such). The contrast between her and the background already needs some tweaking, however, with regard to colour temperature.

I went with a green energy scheme in the glass containers - it separates well from both the rest of the figure and the background, while not screaming off the page. It could be interpreted as either glowing, moving energy, or a more liquid or jelly-like substance. Either works for me.

The final special effects and colour layers are applied. I cooled off the background even further, to increase the separation (removing all of the red tones back there) and darkened and desaturated the wiring behind her as well. The shine and polish to the figure, both the metal and the glass, were applied in those aforementioned special effects layers, both adding a metallic feel to the figure as well as tying the disparate metal layers together to make them look like one continuous piece.

And that's essentially it. Without getting into the specifics of brushes I used, or actually watching me paint (which took around ten to twelve hours, all told), this is basically how it was put together.

Prints of this work can be purchased at this link.