Painting Process: Robot And Spaceship

Here's another in my series of painting process blog posts, where I discuss the basic breakdown of how I do one of my robot paintings. As with all of the paintings in this series, this one was painted in Photoshop at 12"x18", 300dpi, in RGB. I use an Acer laptop with a Bamboo tablet.

I started with a photograph of the lovely Erin from a shoot we did out in the Sandilands Provincial Forest a couple of summers ago. This particular shoot was done with the idea of doing a lot of Car Wars-inspired pieces, utilizing her vehicle in the shots as well, but this particular shot ended up being something far more futuristic. I got the idea of giving her a small, wing-like jetpack rather than a full set of wings, so developed the robot pattern from there. In the original photograph, her car was in the background to the right, which is why she is off-set to the left, so I knew that I needed to play with that space a bit.

Having her standing on the wreck of some sort of space platform (presumably there are magnets in her feet or something), I filled the space to the right with a spaceship design. I like the idea of giving spaceships a large mast off of their top and an overly long keel below (I'm probably misusing that term, but I've never learned much about ships). I recall first seeing those sorts of designs used in Alien Legion, and I liked how they indicated that there was no way that ship could ever land on a planet.

Dropping in various flat colour layers on Erin. Note that, as in previous paintings, the colours used here have no relation to the final colour scheme I'll be using while painting. They simply indicate different layers for painting.

Spaceship and background colouring layers dropped in. Next step is the painting.

Starting with the space background, I created a very nebula-looking pattern. Over the years, I have created a wide variety of custom brushes in Photoshop, and that is where this painting job comes from. I don't use much in the way of filters and textures in Photoshop, preferring to do everything by more traditional painting methods.

Stars painted in and the basic painting pattern on the spaceship done. Space here is rather more colourful than it may seem in real life, but this may simply indicate that the viewer is able to see a larger portion of the light spectrum than we can. Or that I just wanted to play more with colour, whichever.

Lighting effects added to the spaceship. Those are probably engines on the ship, indicating that it is braking.

Foreground rubble painted, including the shadow pattern from the lighting in the original photograph.

Metal parts on Erin painted. The rifle she was carrying in the original photograph wasn't quite so bulky, so I ended up stretching out the shadow pattern from it on her and the background quite a bit more.

Rifle and hair painted. Looking at it now, this is one of my favourite weapon designs that I have ever done.

Erin's light sources are turned on, going with a red/orange glow to contrast with the cool light sources in the spaceship behind her.

Final metal polishing and lighting effects painted in.

This can be seen, and prints of it purchased, at this link.